The location of my study is Might as Well Bar and Grill, Chapel Hill NC. The research question for the study is what types of people visit Might as Well and what is their primary reason for visiting? Prior to my studies, I had visited the restaurant a couple of times since my arrival to Chapel Hill. The environment in Might as Well interested me, as I had never been to a local bar and grill, only big chains. I expected to feel as if I was in a large chain restaurant. After visiting, I found out the environment feels a lot more personal and made me feel more comfortable with others because I felt we had similar interests and things in common. Being a local bar in a college town, it gives a different feel to the environment at Might as Well. I expected to learn that people came to Might as Well for the food because I thought the food was excellent. After research and observations, the conclusions differ from my original thoughts.
To better understand my research question there is some preliminary information that must be known. There are several reasons one might visit a bar in America. The variety and type of food at a bar is an influential factor in attracting customers. Typically, there is a category of “bar food” that all bars serve which is typical American culture foods such as burgers, pizza, wings, nachos, etc. “Yet where academic research has focused away from the local pub, or a family-friendly theme pub relying more and more on its food trade” (Pratten, 2003a, b). Entertainment is a very influential factor that makes bars unique. Entertainment is a unique aspect of bars including trivia, live bands, sporting events, and interactive games. Location plays a key role in the success of bars. Bars that are conveniently located in central parts of town have higher success rates because of the foot traffic they receive. How long a bar is open plays a factor by making the bar more available to those out late at night. Bars that are open late night will typically have consumers that stay very late and continuously order drinks, making the bar more profitable. One must also understand the different types of people who visit bars. There are people who are heavy drinkers and go only to drink. There are people who go for the environment and may have a drink or two. There are also people who will go and only eat without drinking anything. Lastly, there are people who go to watch sporting events with other fans at the bar. Most of these types of people were observed and covered in my study.
Observational Data and Analysis
I preformed two separate observations during this study. The first was done on a Wednesday from 7-7:30pm. The bar was fairly empty that night, with about ten people present. I observed people who were wearing casual clothing and fellowshipping informally. The crowd ranged from around eighteen years old to twenty-seven years old based on my inferences. I observed a more secluded environment that night; people were spread out between three tables and, they were all having their own private conversations. COVID-19 restrictions were followed properly regarding social distancing. After interviews with Ben Watson, a twenty-one year old student, and Spencer Sloan, a twenty-seven year old graduate student, they provided me with information that directly applies to my research question. Watson conveyed that “I was close by and needed something to eat pretty quickly”. This contributes to the factor of location that Might as Well possesses. He went on to say, “I am a big fan of the wings here and get them almost every time”. His primary reason for coming to Might as Well that night was for the food, although location played a factor. Sloan’s answers provided a different reasoning. When asked why he came to Might as Well, commonly referred to as MAW, Sloan says “I came to have some drinks with my friends”. His group of friends ordered food, although, instead of leaving after the food was finished, Sloan says, “I’ll stay here and drink until the game is over”. Later in the interview, Sloan stated that his primary reason for visiting MAW was “to drink beer with friends and watch the game”. After analysis of his interview, factors of alcohol and sporting events attracted him to Might as Well that night.
My second observation was performed on a Monday from 9-9:30pm. The bar was packed with football fans that night for the highly anticipated Ravens Vs. Chiefs game. The crowd was mostly males that night. The environment was completely different that night with a bar full of fans cheering on their teams for the game. People were loud, energetic and enthusiastic. There were a lot of people wearing football jerseys, allowing me to deduce they were football fans. I would describe the environment as a sports bar environment. During my interview with William Mickle, a twenty-one year old student, he provided information to contribute to my understanding of my research question. Mickle says “I wanted to watch the game with a lot of guys at MAW because its convenient and easy”. Mickle was drinking that night along with his table although he says, “I think beer at bars is overpriced, but I still drink with the boys for a drink”. Mickle’s primary reason for visiting MAW was to watch the game in the environment of the bar with his friends. This supports the factors of entertainment and then environment that Might as Well possesses as drawing customers to the bar.
After observation and research, I can determine an answer for my research question. However, there isn’t a single right answer to the question because a lot of people give different answers. I could obtain a more definite answer if I observed Might as Well for a longer period of time. I can conclude that the primary reason people visit Might as Well is not to drink like one may think at a bar, but for the food and sporting events. The majority of people at Might as Well are sports fans and the anticipation of a game affects the amount of people MAW attracts. Might as Well embraces this desired sports bar perception that is attracting most consumers.
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