So your bar is doing well. Business is booming on Friday and Saturday, and there’s a decent after work crowd on Thursday too. But wouldn’t it be great to be busy on the slower weeknights too? Great news: it’s easier than you think!
The key is to create engaging events that get customers off the couch and away from their Netflix bingefest. If you’re looking for opportunities to boost your bar sales during downtimes, here are nine fun and inventive ideas to try.
1. Trivia Night
The classic PubStumpers trivia game is a North American favorite for a reason: it’s addictive! Simply signup and you’ll get the PubStumpers kit which includes questions and answers for a twelve week season, game materials, and marketing tools. Or, you can create your own trivia based on a theme your patrons love, pop culture, history, or a mix. Teams sign up and compete each week at your venue, vying for the final prize. Pair the game with a menu and drink special and have your host include facts about your bar to teach your new customers a little trivia of your own.
2. Host Viewing Parties
Watching television at the bar doesn’t just have to be the big game. Think of all the popular shows that aren’t so easy to stream from the comfort of home. The pre-show Oscars, anything with a cult-like following (think the uber-popular Game of Thrones), season or series finales, and throwback movies like Back to the Future or Pretty in Pink. Theme your drink specials with the feature show or movie, and encourage patrons to dress up and really get into the spirit of things.
3. Board Game Night
Board game bars are popping up all over the country. It seems people love a rousing round of snakes and ladders with their buddies (and a beer or two). Provide games or host a Bring Your Own Board night. Make sure that the teams are enjoying your menu offerings with shareable plates and deals on draught pitchers.
4. Friendly Speed Dating
Speed dating doesn’t have to be an awkward two minutes staring at a stranger’s ugly tie. Instead of the normal speed dating, host a Get to Know Your Neighbours night instead. No forced romance necessary. This fun event has the announcer ask a lighthearted question such as, “If you could have dinner with one celebrity who would it be?”. Then each person has to answer in sixty seconds to their temporary partner. Once the bell dings, it’s time to move on to a new partner and the next question is asked. It’s a guaranteed way to have patrons stick around afterwards for another drink while they learn more about their new friends and hear more about dining with Dolly Parton.
5. Group Meetup
Is there a popular social network in your locale that meets weekly? Offer to host them at your bar and offer a special group rate or drink specials for the event. It could be the local dog-lovers club, a popular sports team, or a career-networking group. Find them on meetup.com or by asking your regulars if they are part of a group that needs a regular home. You never know – you could be host to a slew of new customers!
6. Host a Paint Night
What do you get when you cross brushes, canvas, and paint with customers in a bar? A room full of artists and bar tabs! Paintnite pairs artists with your bar, and locals can find you and pay for their tickets via the website. The group is given canvas and paint and taken through the steps to create a scenic landscape by a local Paintnite artist. All you need to do is top up drinks and shake up cocktails.
7. Musical Open Mic Night
Open up your bar – and your ears – for all of the budding musicians in your area. A stage or cleared away area and a decent sound system and you’re all set. Hopeful stars sign up and wait for their time to shine while family, friends, and fans fill up on food and drink. If you like, take it a step further and make it a six week competition. Each week there is an audience vote and elimination leading up to the last week when all finalists perform to compete for the final prize. The more participants want to win, the more people they’ll bring in to vote for them. Votes for performers, more guests and checks for your bar.
8. Stand Up Comedy
Everyone loves a good laugh, so why not provide the space for all of the jokers in town? All you need is a mic stand in the corner and a signup sheet. Get the word out around town and watch people pack in to get their giggle on. Craft up your own funny cocktails and joke-themed eats to go with the comedic theme.
9. Dance From the Past
A senior’s sock hop, Sadie Hawkin’s dance, or retro prom night can do wonders for business and boost morale for dancers that don’t dance as often as they’d like. Pick a theme, ask guests to dress to match it, and make sure everyone brings a date. A DJ playing throwback hits and an old school menu to match will make your party a success.
It’s not hard to boost business during your slow times. Give your regulars and new customers creative and fun events they’d hate to miss out on and you’ll find your bar busy and bustling all week long.
About the Author
Andrea is a Content Marketing Specialist and Editor at TouchBistro where she writes about restaurant and dining trends, restaurant management, and food culture. A self-affirmed food geek, Andrea devours cookbooks and food blogs. She also knows how to make a killer kale salad.More Content by Andrea Victory