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Exclusive: Bar management 101: How to manage a bar

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Bar management 101: How to manage a bar

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If you manage a bar business, you know how important successful bar management is — and just how difficult it can be to dial it in. As a bar manager, you’re responsible for leading and managing staff, inventory, customer service, and more. And when you’re successful, the team and business are successful, too. 

In this guide, we’ll help you learn all you need to know about successful bar management. Keep reading to learn more about what to do to make this your best year, including bar, winery, and/or brewery scheduling options.



How to manage a bar

From retaining regular customers to improving bar profits and managing the point of sale system, knowing how to run a bar is a key point of management experience in the hospitality industry. What’s more, itcan provide a solid boost in bar profit margins.

Stay on top of employee happiness

Whether it’s your bartender or kitchen staff, employees are happy when they feel respected and acknowledged. 

By regularly keeping track of employee satisfaction and ensuring that you’re providing the flexibility and guidance your team needs to succeed you’ll keep them happy and working hard at your bar business.

A good way to do this is to conduct regular surveys. They help you keep a pulse on how everyone’s feeling and also give your employees a sense of empowerment.

You can also stay connected and keep your team in sync by using the Homebase app. Our built-in messenger makes it easy to send schedule updates, reminders, and delivery alerts. And, it lets you collect feedback from your employees after every shift. 

Ensure the satisfaction of regular customers

Though the industry has recovered to $799 billion, it’s still $65 billion short of its pre-pandemic levels, according to the National Restaurant Association. So, keeping your regular customers happy should be a key part of your bar business’ ongoing management strategy. 

Post social media specials and email coupons to keep them coming in and bringing their friends. And consider offering the occasional free drink — or even holding events or specials for regular customers — to make them feel recognized and appreciated.

Keep the bar owner from having to focus on the details

Bar owners handle a wide range of responsibilities. When a bar owner hires a bar manager, it’s to take some of that load off of their shoulders and allow them to focus on their business.

A successful bar manager understands the importance of that responsibility and takes strong steps to undertake as much of the bar management process as possible, without stepping on any toes in the process.

This can include making adjustments to the POS system, handling employee scheduling, and working through HR issues to keep everything moving smoothly.

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Grow your future career options

A position as a successful bar manager can open doors for the rest of your career. And, in the restaurant industry, taking additional coursework can help you hone your expertise and grow your career options down the road.

You might consider formal education at a university or even simple ad-hoc classes at your place of employment — such as courses provided by a distributor rep on the differences in the flavor and aroma of their new rum versus the other options available on the market.

Tips for managing a bar

How can you run a profitable bar to ensure that you’ll be able to keep your bar management position over the next several years?

There is a wide range of advice out there to help you deal with even the busiest times, but the following tips stand out as most helpful in addressing the most pressing concerns in the industry. And keeping them in mind will help you run your bar efficiently on a regular basis.

Train and cross-train your team properly

It takes knowledgeable staff to do everything that keeps your bar running smoothly — from working the POS system to keeping a liquor inventory for distributor reps, to folding napkins. And, taking the time to both train and cross-train your team helps ensure that you can keep your bar fully staffed at even the busiest times.

Make sure your wait staff knows how to upsell items you’re trying to turn over quickly, and that the backbar staff understands the importance of sanitation in health and food safety. This will keep your team operating efficiently and with a solid understanding of what every position needs to do to be successful.

Listen to your bartenders

From bar inventory management to improving bar sales through free drinks offers, your bartenders have a wide range of knowledge to share with you. Beyond mixology, spillage, and over-pouring a jigger, bartenders can also impart beneficial business insights.

Keep up with them using effective team communication and take their suggestions to heart. It pays to both implement suggestions that have a good chance at success and to recognize their contributions to the bar business as a whole.

Create an outstanding company culture

The best way to retain quality employees when you manage a bar is by creating a solid company culture. That starts with team management that takes into account everything from your employees’ lives and needs outside of work to incentives on difficult-to-schedule shifts to help keep everyone moving.

A team culture quiz or trivia makes it easy to figure out what page everyone is on. Additionally, implementing employee ideas while rewarding them with incentives gives each employee a personal stake in the bar company’s success.

Keep the bar clean

Nothing will turn a customer off faster than a dirty bar environment. It’s vital that your wait staff, backbar staff, and bartenders stay on top of this task throughout the course of their shifts. This ensures that the bar will remain clean and welcoming to all your prospective customers, while also keeping health inspectors happy with the business.

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Serve a creative signature cocktail menu 

To help build a name for your bar and build your brand, stand out with a mixology bartender who can develop outstanding signature cocktails that provide a creative edge to your usual menu.

Offer nightly drink specials and a happy hour menu

Though happy hour legality is a constantly shifting factor in many states, offering special menu items and drinks on your social media pages may be a great way to boost profit margins in the bar industry.

Simplify shift scheduling

Employee scheduling can be a difficult process at the best of times in the restaurant industry, especially when you need to have sufficient waitstaff during your busiest shifts. An all-in-one software like Homebase makes time clock management, scheduling, and more much easier.

Hire live musicians

By moving from the position of simply offering alcohol and bar food to providing entertainment, you’ll move from being a place to hang out to a go-to event location. Adding live music to your bar on a regular basis will help increase your profit margins.

Offer private events 

When you manage a bar, you can create lots of opportunities to get people in the door — and coming back for more. Rather than simply sticking to standard open hours, why not offer a range of special and private events? You can host NBA watch parties, corporate get-togethers,  or similar events. You could even prepare a special room for private parties.

Keep your bar fully stocked

There are few things worse than telling a customer you’re out of their favorite indulgence —especially when it’s a common brand. Regular bar inventory and contact with your distributor reps will help ensure that your bar remains fully stocked at all times.

Ensure timely payroll and easy HR

One of the best ways to retain high-quality backbar and front-of-house staff members is to ensure your payroll is managed on a regular, timely basis. This can be much easier when using new bar apps. For example, Homebase HR Pro gives you access to HR experts in real-time to answer questions about issues as they arise, including federal labor laws.

Hire passionate employees

Bar operations are always impacted by your employees — and you can benefit a great deal when you have bartenders who are excellent at mixology and wait staff who stand out at their jobs. An efficient hiring and onboarding process makes hiring the right people for your team much easier, and it can also decrease new employee costs while making accounting and payroll simple.

In need of a bar manager?

Bar owners often find themselves in need of bar staff, including bar management. Similar to the process undertaken in restaurant management, hiring the right bar manager for your bar business will make a big difference in your profit margins.

To find the right bar manager, consider reaching out beyond word of mouth. Look at social media, including LinkedIn, to bring in the right candidates. Once you’ve found the right one, the hiring process can then move forward, giving you someone to help stay on top of things.

Of course, it’s important to stay on top of the onboarding process, too. Though it can seem complicated, it’s easily handled when you have the right app available to get you through the entire process quickly and easily — and without missing any critical training or potential liability issues. Homebase’s free trial is a great way to get started.

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Want to become a bar manager?

If you’ve worked in the restaurant industry in the past, you may wonder what’s needed to stand out as a prospective bar manager. Here’s a quick look at steps to take to be a competitive option for a bar management position.

Get a bachelor’s degree

As with many career paths, bar management often requires a degree to prove your knowledge and expertise prior to starting work. Though you may be able to get by with equivalent experience, getting a bachelor’s degree in the hospitality industry will do a lot to boost your credentials in the process.

Pursue bar work as a specialty

Beyond a degree, you’ll want to show that you know your stuff when it comes to the bar industry, specifically. By undertaking some bar work, whether as wait staff, bartender, or backbar worker, you’ll be able to prove that you understand the differences between bar and restaurant industry particulars.

Start with an entry-level management position

In many situations, unless you have a higher level of restaurant industry management experience, you’ll need to start in an entry-level bar management position. Though this may mean quieter shifts and odd hours, a couple of years in this type of position will allow you to advance up the chain.

Advance your career

After you’ve had the opportunity to build a couple of years of experience at the entry level, you’ll be able to start expanding your career options — and you should, if you want to prove that you’re ready for more advanced work.

Continue your education

If you really love the bar industry and want to make it your career, you may consider taking additional coursework — possibly even earning a master’s degree in the hospitality industry. This should set you up for a great career long into the future as a successful bar manager.

How to manage a bar FAQs

Of course, even with this information available, you may still have a few questions about how to manage a bar in a fashion that will both boost profit margins and keep regular customers coming back for more. Here are a few more of the most common questions bar managers tend to have with regard to the industry.

Is managing a bar profitable?

Done right, bar management can be very profitable. . Like all industries, poor management leads to poor profit margins or even losses, while good management can provide good profit margins. At the same time, a successful bar manager with a strong nose for the business can turn exceptional profits, making both the manager and the bar owner very happy with the arrangement.

How can I schedule bartenders?

Bartender scheduling can seem like a complex process. One has night classes twice a week; another has to be home with their kids every other weekend, and a third sometimes needs to shift their schedule to help their home-bound parent with medical appointments and errands. But it can be very easy with the right app to help you quickly and easily schedule your bartenders while keeping their needs into account at the same time.

Is there bar management software?

Yes! Developed specifically for hourly work — and great for the hospitality industry —Homebase does a wonderful job of managing a wide range of options to keep your bar on track and operating profitably. This makes it easy for you to track your HR and scheduling needs, time clock and payroll, remote operations, health and safety, and a wide range of other bar management needs.

Does Homebase help with bar management?

From figuring out how to hire your first hourly employee to managing your bar schedule and payroll, Homebase’s suite of bar management tools makes it simple for you to handle all your bar management needs. Communications are simplified, hiring and onboarding are made easy, and HR tasks are handled in a matter of clicks.

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Bar management is far more complex than simply being a member of the waitstaff or a mixology bartender, and it requires special skills to be a successful bar manager. But when you pair your restaurant industry experience with Homebase’s extensive suite of bar management tools, you can easily handle your bar management job while boosting business for your employer and carving out a great career for yourself along the way.

Why not take a look at what Homebase has to offer your bar business?


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Exclusive: Juul can keep selling vaping products in the US for now – TalkOfNews.com

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Juul can keep selling vaping products in the US for now

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A federal appeals court froze the FDA’s ban on Juul products Friday after the company sought an emergency administrative stay. On Thursday, the U.S. regulator took sweeping action against the e-cigarette maker, effectively killing its access to the U.S. market.

The temporary stay will be in place essentially to buy time until the case can properly be heard by the court, though it “should not be construed in any way as a ruling on the merits,” according to the court documents.

The FDA took action against Juul after the company failed to provide adequate evidence that its products were safe enough alternatives to smoking. The regulatory agency said that Juul’s documentation left it with “significant questions.”

According to a report from the Wall Street Journal, Juul is considering filing for bankruptcy if it can’t get the FDA’s order reversed.

Following the FDA order, Juul’s chief regulatory officer Joe Murillo said that the company would pursue a stay and planned to appeal the regulator’s decision.

“In our applications, which we submitted over two years ago, we believe that we appropriately characterized the toxicological profile of JUUL products, including comparisons to combustible cigarettes and other vapor products, and believe this data, along with the totality of the evidence, meets the statutory standard of being ‘appropriate for the protection of the public health,’” Murillo said.

Juul rivals Reynolds American and NJOY Holdings will continue to sell their own vape products in the U.S. after previously receiving the FDA authorization that Juul itself failed to secure.

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Exclusive: Roe v. Wade's demise forces companies to grapple with health care plans, employee privacy and more – TalkOfNews.com

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Roe v. Wade's demise forces companies to grapple with health care plans, employee privacy and more

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Pro-choice activists are seen outside of the US Supreme Court in Washington, DC on June 15, 2022.

Mandel Ngan | AFP | Getty Images

The challenges posed by the end of Roe v. Wade are only just beginning for corporate America.

By overturning the abortion precedent Friday, the U.S. Supreme Court set off a series of fresh difficulties for companies that must now navigate a country divided between states that will permit the procedure and others that will outlaw it.

One of those issues for companies is deciding if — and how — to provide abortion access to millions of employees who live in states where the procedures are no longer legal.

“Every major organization has health coverage,” said Maurice Schweitzer, a professor for the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. “The question is going to be what’s covered? Is travel for an abortion out of state covered if you’re operating in a state that prohibits abortion?”

Some of the country’s large employers, including Apple, CVS Health, and Disney, reiterated that the companies cover travel to states that allow abortions. Others, such as Dick’s Sporting Goods, rushed to update their medical benefits. Several prominent business leaders went a step further, condemning the end of 50 years of federal abortion rights.

Still many others declined to comment or said they are still reviewing plans.

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The Supreme Court decision will have implications in the corporate world that stretch far beyond employers’ health benefits and influence where companies locate headquarters and offices, which lawmakers and political action committees they donate to and how they communicate with employees, customers and investors.

Over the years, certain companies have chosen to take a stand on polarizing issues, including the Black Lives Matter movement after the murder of George Floyd, a Black man, by a police officer and Florida’s HB 1557 law, dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill.

The Supreme Court decision will likely force companies’ hand and make it hard for business leaders to stay silent, Schweitzer said. With those decisions, he said, companies could risk a lawsuit, run afoul of politicians and draw backlash from customers or employees.

“This is going to be an additional challenge for executives,” he said.

For companies that decide to cover abortion care in other states, it will raise new questions including how to reimburse travel expenses and protect employee privacy.

Expanding employee benefits

Some companies such as Netflix, Microsoft and Google’s parent company Alphabet already have health care policies that include abortion and travel benefits, but others are catching up.

JPMorgan Chase told employees in a memo that it will expand its medical benefits to include travel coverage starting in July. Under Armour said it will add a travel benefit to its medical plans. Dick’s CEO, Lauren Hobart, shared on LinkedIn that employees, their spouses and dependents will get up to $4,000 in travel reimbursement if they live in an area that restricts access.

Warner Bros. Discovery also reached out to its employees after the ruling was announced Friday.

“We recognize that the issue of abortion can evoke a variety of emotions and responses which are different for each of us based on our experiences and beliefs,” Adria Alpert Romm, chief people and culture officer, wrote in a memo to employees obtained by CNBC. “We are here to support you.”

Romm said the company is expanding its health care benefits to include expenses for employees and their covered family who need to travel to access a range of medical procedures, including care for abortions, family planning and reproductive health.

Amazon and other companies added travel reimbursement earlier this year as state governments in the Sunbelt passed laws that shuttered abortion clinics or limited access in other ways.

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But how companies react over time will vary and could include removing abortion coverage from health plans, or offering indirect assistance such as paid time off or contributions to a health savings account that could be used for travel-related expenses to receive care in another state.

Nearly 30% of organizations said they would increase support within an employee assistance program for reproductive care in a post-Roe world, according to a survey of more than 1,000 human resources professionals for the Society for Human Resource Management. The survey was conducted from May 24 to June 7.

About a third cited paid time off as the top resource provided to support reproductive care, and 14% said they would include the topic of reproductive rights in their diversity, equity and inclusion programs.

Nearly a quarter of organizations said that offering a health savings account to cover travel for reproductive care in another state will enhance their ability to compete for talent. 

Businesses taking a stand

Even before the Supreme Court decision, companies were under pressure to step into the abortion debate — or at least articulate how abortion limits and bans could affect their businesses.

Companies have long used their economic power to influence political policy. In 2019, when Georgia legislators sought to ban almost all abortions, Hollywood used the threat of production boycotts in the state to make clear its opinions about politics.

Still, in the wake of the pandemic, studios have been slower to react to new laws that traditionally they might have opposed. Production shutdowns are no longer a luxury the Hollywood can afford, especially as it seeks to keep up with demand for new content.

Disney is coming off a recent battle over a hot-button cultural issue. The company publicly opposed Florida’s so-called “Don’t Say Gay” bill, after its employees demanded the company take action. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis Florida’s Republican-led legislature revoked the company’s special district in the state, which is home to Walt Disney World and other resorts, in a move it said was not retaliatory.

In a memo to employees Friday, Disney said it “remains committed to removing barriers and providing comprehensive access to quality and affordable care for all” employees. Disney, which already has pre-existing travel benefits that allow its employees who are unable to access care in their current location to seek out medical care for cancer treatments, transplants, rare disease treatment and family planning, which includes pregnancy-related decisions.

As individual states decide whether to maintain abortion rights or block them, legislatures may be faced with backlash from companies and influential business leaders. This could include boycotts, a loss of political donations or inform decisions about where to place headquarters, distribution centers or new facilities.

“Overturning Roe v Wade is a devastating decision by the U.S. Supreme Court,” billionaire and business mogul Richard Branson wrote in a statement. “This will not reduce abortions, it will just make them unsafe. Reproductive rights are human rights. We must all stand up for choice.”

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Branson was among the companies and business leaders who slammed Supreme Court’s decision.

“This ruling puts women’s health in jeopardy, denies them their human rights, and threatens to dismantle the progress we’ve made toward gender equality in the workplaces since Roe,” said Jeremy Stoppelman, co-founder and CEO of Yelp. “Business leaders must step up to support the health and safety of their employees by speaking out against the wave of abortion bans that will be triggered as a result of this decision, and call on Congress to codify Roe into law.”

Investors in publicly held companies could have a major influence on how responses to the new ruling are crafted.

At a Walmart shareholders meeting earlier this month, an investor called on the country’s largest private employer to publish a report on the potential risks and costs to the company of state policies that restrict reproductive health care, and any plans the company has to mitigate those risks. The proposal, which is nonbinding, was opposed by the retailer and did not receive support from the majority of shareholders.

Similar proposals could come up at other companies’ shareholder meetings in the near future. Analysts could also probe executives during upcoming earnings calls.

Walmart is based in Arkansas, a state that already has a law on the books to trigger a ban. The company declined to comment on Friday when asked if it will cover travel expenses to states that allow abortions. It already pays for travel to hospitals and medical centers for other kinds of medical procedures, such as spine surgery and certain heart procedures.

Wharton’s Schweitzer said employees and customers increasingly expect more from companies and want to join or spend money with those that mirror their values.

The corporate world has led the way in some cases, with companies turning Juneteeth into a company holiday before it became a federal one. Some companies, such as Unilever-owned Ben & Jerry’s and CEOs, such as Levi Strauss & Co.’s Chip Bergh have become known for speaking out.

“There’s been a growing trend for executives to become more involved, more engaged in social and political issues,” he said. “This is going to increase that trend where we’re going to see many executives speak out, many executives lead on this issue, and it’s going to normalize the idea that executives are part of the political process.”

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Exclusive: Leading With Transparency in Times of Uncertainty – TalkOfNews.com

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Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

While not a new concept, the importance of transparency in the workplace took on more urgency during the pandemic as our daily lives, including our work environment, were upended. Worldwide, both within the workplace and outside of it, uncertainty became the norm rather than the exception across many influential sectors: geopolitical, natural and business. And there are no signs of things calming down anytime soon.

In a volatile climate, organizational transparency becomes more essential to your business success. As your employees cope — or attempt to cope — with constant upheaval and uncertainty, helping to foster stability toward mental health is of prime importance. Any reassurances you can offer your teams will go a long way in stabilizing their anxiety levels, at least regarding the workplace since external factors are most likely beyond your control.

Ask yourself: If your management team is not leading with transparency, what is your response to the uncertainty? Are you then leading with opaqueness? What does that mean for our employees?

Related: Six Strategies To Navigate Through Uncertainty

Transparency vs. opaqueness

Transparency facilitates a more open, less hierarchical approach to management and a culture that tilts toward learning and innovation. It assumes that data and information will be of value to people. A culture of transparency helps to decentralize information, and with the right information, we’ve witnessed individuals become leaders.

The more employees connect to your company’s overall business objectives, the more room is given for inspiration to arrive. Transparency allows for ownership and alignment, enabling the business to unlock growth. In addition, it encourages individuals to take ownership of problems and mistakes, solutions and their departments. It discourages finger-pointing. It is evidence of mutual respect between the organization and its employees.

In this environment, employees stay connected to what is happening within the organization and don’t have to spend valuable time questioning the company’s direction or plans. If a problem develops, the focus stays on solving the problem versus spiraling into a perceived cover-up and becoming part of the subsequent rumor mill churn.

Organizations led by transparency foster a culture that acknowledges we don’t have all the answers and are learning together as the business grows.

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Related: Five Actions Leaders Should Take In Times Of Uncertainty

On the flip side, opaqueness assumes hierarchy. The lack of transparency permeates the organization, causing silos and territorial fiefdoms. Opaqueness facilitates a culture that guards information and knowledge and instructs people what to do instead of providing opportunities to lead. There’s no ownership by employees. There’s the leadership team and everyone else.

Here are some tactics your organization can leverage to foster a culture of transparency.

  • Document your vision, strategy and goals. Openly state these north stars, even sharing them externally, instead of having people guess or make them up for you. This level of visibility will ensure the alignment of your go-to-market strategy with your vision, mission and goals.
  • Share internally how the business is meeting its goals. Measure how the business is performing monthly or quarterly against a transparent plan that you’ve put in place. Share OKR (objectives and key results) reporting of how the company is performing. Use this information to foster a culture of learning. At PandaDoc, we understand that some of these OKRs will fail, but we let everyone know it’s okay as long as we learn from our mistakes.
  • Regularly schedule all-hands meetings. Implement these meetings at the company and at departmental levels. Schedule “ask me anything” meets with leaders so employees can voice their questions or concerns. PandaDoc’s all-hands have a cadence to them. We publish a calendar of what we’re going to discuss; for example, a monthly or quarterly business review, an OKR review, show and tell and what’s happening in various departments. We also structure time to talk about things happening in the world that impact us.
  • Schedule sprint reviews. Have departments share their accomplishments within a designated time — for example, over the past month. Record and post these on your company website so everyone in the company has the opportunity to view them. At PandaDoc, we invite our entire company to join our weekly product and engineering sprint reviews.
  • Create a culture where your employees feel safe. Not every employee feels confident enough to ask leadership-related questions during an all-hands meeting. Provide structured ways to encourage the questions. Let your employees know that they can have one of their co-workers ask the question on their behalf. It’s a simple way of letting your employees know that you have their back, and it provides a way for all employees to have their concerns addressed.
  • Take note of what other companies are doing. Software developer GitHub, for example, is implementing some innovative ways to promote transparency. Two that come to mind: They publicly expose their employee onboarding and offer a two-week CEO shadowing opportunity for employees.
  • Understand that you don’t have to share everything in real-time. You might not want to share a new development in real time; some may require a well-thought-out plan. But you do want to get in front of the rumor mill before your employees start to have that nagging feeling that something is wrong. And definitely, before the information is available on the internet. Share as quickly as possible what’s happening, and what the plan is so your employees can decide their next steps. Sharing this information helps cultivate mutual respect.

As you think about leading with transparency, it’s critical to note that your business is already transparent, even if you don’t want it to be. There’s no point in hiding negative information. It’s going to come out. And you don’t want the information shared on Twitter before you’ve shared it with your employees. A better business practice is to embrace and lead with transparency to foster a more positive working environment for everyone.

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