10 Bar Promotions to Get People Into Your Bar
Bar Promotions are essential for most bars to stay open these days. They can make your bar go from empty to full but coming up with new bar promotion ideas is not always easy.
Although a tough economy may not affect the bar industry as much as other industries, it can still get tough to bring the people in. Bars, clubs and pubs all have to fight to keep people coming back night after night.
Before getting into some ideas for different bar promotions, lets examine the main reasons for holding these events in the first place (aside from the obvious ‘making more money’)
- Increase Customer Traffic – bring in new customers and keep current customers coming back.
- Get Customers to Come in Earlier and Stay Later – fill those empty afternoon or early evening hours. By entertaining customers with different bar promotions and bar contests, people will stay longer and spend more.
- Create Buzz- by putting on cool new bar events, people will talk, resulting in more customers on non-event nights.
- Match or Beat out the Competition – stay ahead of your competitors by doing something a little more fun / wild / crazy / cool than they’re doing.
- Reward Regulars – bar promotions give the bar a chance to give back to their regular customers.
- Celebrate Milestones – whether its new menu items, a new signature cocktail, the owner’s birthday, a remodelling or a 1 year anniversary, there are always good reasons to throw a party.
- Creates a Lively Atmosphere – without regular bar promotions, its not only your customers that are getting bored, its your staff as well.
Besides some of the events that we have listed on our Bar Event Page, here are some other ideas you can use to entertain the guests you have and to keep people coming back.
You can either find local celebrities (radio DJ, weather girl, model etc) or you can pick a guest bartender from your list of friends / associates or one of the regular customers. You may want to have a pre-night quick bartender training (or at least orientation) before they go live.
Guest Bartenders will bring in their friends to come and see them. And if you use a local celebrity, you should be able to get some press coverage with it. Careful to watch your guest bartenders – they may not know what’s ok to do and what’s not.
Many bars don’t allow dogs into their establishments. If you’re open during the day and especially if you have a patio, allowing dogs into your establishment can bring in a whole new crowd of people. Why not kick it off with a Dog Lovers gathering and use Facebook Ads to traffic people in your area with dogs?
Wines of the World Promotion
If your establishment serves a fair amount of wine, you may want to try a Wines of the World promotion. Make a punchcard that the customer can take with them (with your bar contact details on the back) and punch it each time they try a wine from your Wines of the World promo. You could offer 10 wines from 10 different countries, crossing as many grape varieties as possible – chardonnay, sauvignon blank, merlot, cabernet sauvignon etc.
This bar promotion could be run by the bottle or glass depending on how many wine drinkers frequent your bar. If they punch their way through 10 glasses or bottles, give them some bar or wine merchandise – a pair of wine glasses, a wine opener, a bottle opener etc.
Play them or not, video games have a huge following. Find out what the popular video game of choice is amongst your clientele and put on a tournament. This works especially well if you can put the game on a projector screen so that everyone in the bar can see. Have people sign-up before hand and make sure you check all the equipment before the big night / weekend. You can charge people an entry fee and give away cash prizes and / or bar merchandise.
If all you play is one type of music, try throwing a salsa party, hip-hop night, country & western night, or break-dancing party. Find someone in your area who’s involved in the type of music you want to promote. So if its salsa, find someone who owns a salsa school and run the event together. They get exposure and the ability to attract new customers and so do you.
Amateur Comedy Night
Bringing in big comedy acts can be expensive and sometimes don’t draw. Putting on amateur comedy nights however, pack the house. Find a local comedian to host the show and work together to find 5 – 10 amateur stand-up comedians to perform. You can charge people in advance and at the door and offer a cash prize to the winner. All the performers will bring in their friends and everyone is sympathetic to the fact that they’re not watching professionals.
Popular TV Show Night
If you have a projector screen or enough TVs, you can hold a Survivor or Entourage night every night of the week that the show is playing. Find out what show people are into in your area and start promoting a night specifically geared towards it.
Model or Fashion Show
People love to see a show. Approach a local modelling agency or clothing store (or both) and organize a fashion show of the clothing store’s products and the modelling agency’s models. This will give exposure to everyone involved and you’ll have the modelling agency and clothing store owner inviting many of the people they know as well. Involving local businesses makes your event a lot more press-worthy.
Business Community Gathering
Bar promotions are about the community. Show off what local businesses have to offer by hosting a Business Community Gathering (please think of a better name to call it than that). Ask around first with the local businesses (not the bars) to see if they would be interested in coming together and hosting a Business Community Gathering at your bar. Each person involved will have an area set up where they get to display their store’s products. Although you don’t want to invite other bars in on this, you do want to invite non-competing restaurants as well as preparing something from your own kitchen.
Stoplight Party or Singles Night
A Stoplight Party is an excellent bar promotion as singles events are a great way to bring in a crowd. The single girls will always bring a friend or two to watch out for them and the men will drink like maniacs because they’re nervous. More people and more drinking – what more could a bar want?
A stoplight party is when you segment your guests depending on their relationship status. Green is for go and it means that the person is single and looking. Yellow means “slow down”, I’m single but I’m not necessarily looking. Red means they’re taken. You can use leis (Hawaiian flower-type necklaces), different colored glowsticks, bracelets etc to show your guests status.
As customers come in the door, you’ll want to give them some type of ice-breaker. You could try a list of funny questions to be answered, matching jokes (women get the punchline, men get the beginning of the two-liner). You’ll also want to throw in some naughty games for guys and girls to play and give people a chance to mingle. To top it off, you can make some cool red, yellow and green jello shots or jello shot syringes and you’re good to go.
If you are still looking for even more bar promotions for your bar, check out our Bar Promotions / Bar Events hub.