Posted by Patrick Maness
For many restaurant owners and managers, winter can turn into a continual process of brainstorming ideas about how to get patrons through the doors.
Sporting events are always a trusty ally in this effort, but far too often, managers become over-reliant on them. Besides, if you show the latest UFC fight or basketball game, you’re only one of many venues in town with this same attraction.
The solution is to get creative. This is especially true on those slow nights when it seems like you have to send half your staff home early. If you need a little something to jolt your thought process, here are five restaurant and bar promotion ideas to help your establishment stand out and get noticed.
Paint night. All around the country, people are flocking to bars and restaurants for an opportunity to eat, drink and paint. The concept is this: For around $30 to $40, participants get a canvas, a paint pallet and an instructor to guide them through the steps of painting a certain picture. Hosting such an event is a way to introduce people to your establishment and increase sales during the evening.
Specific drink night. Tequila Tuesdays, whiskey Wednesdays or Moscow Mule Mondays, whatever you call it, consider stocking your bar with a range of one specific type of liquor — say 80 varieties of whiskey — make a list and create an incentive — perhaps a $50 or $100 gift card — for people to come in and try to check all of them all off their list. The point is not to have people get wild, but to create a continual customer base who shows up ready to try all the varieties of bourbon or vodka you offer.
Open mic night. Open mics are great because when people come to show off their skills, they bring their friends and invite coworkers and family as well. The secret is to host a fun and entertaining evening people want to attend. Encourage a range of talents including puppet shows, juggling, stand-up comedy and more, and you can create a popular variety show.
Trivia. There are various ways of hosting a trivia night. You can have someone emcee the event or use an automated program. Whatever you do, pair the event with drink specials and a discounted menu and you’ll have a winning combination.
Board game night. It’s funny how at a certain age you stop playing board games. But around your mid-20s, all those childish things, from kickball to monopoly, become cool again. With this in mind, consider hosting a game night each week. Spice the event up by having ongoing tournaments or races where people compete to complete puzzles.