17 Bar Promotion Ideas to Bring in New Customers

17 Bar Promotion Ideas to Bring in New Customers
Bar Management - July 03, 2024 Written By: Krista Dinsmore

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Let's face it, in the ever-competitive world of bars, sometimes you have to get a little creative to stand out from the crowd.

Sure, you've got the coldest beer and the juiciest burgers in town, but how do you get new customers through your doors? Enter the glorious world of bar promotions – your secret weapon for attracting thirsty patrons and turning them into regulars.

Stay tuned for 17 killer bar promotion ideas that drive up your foot traffic and help you hit those all-important revenue targets. 

Why Bar Promotions Are Your Best Friend

Bar promotions are like a two-for-one deal – they're good for you and your customers! Here's a quick rundown of why promotions are a must-have in your barkeeping arsenal:

  • Attract New Customers: You can’t win them round if they’re not in your bar! Promotions are a fantastic way to lure new faces through your door and introduce them to your fantastic atmosphere, delicious drinks, and killer service.
  • Boost Sales: Let's be honest, everyone loves a good deal! Promotions can incentivize people to order more drinks, try new menu items, and ultimately boost your bottom line.
  • Create a Buzz: A well-crafted promotion can generate excitement and get people talking about your bar. Social media buzz, word-of-mouth recommendations – it's all good publicity that can lead to a packed house.
  • Build Customer Loyalty: Offering exclusive promotions and rewards incentives can keep your existing customers coming back for more. They'll feel valued and appreciated, which then fosters loyalty and repeat business.

17 Bar Promotion Ideas

1. Trivia Night

Test your patrons' knowledge with a themed trivia night, like ‘Decades Dance Party Trivia’ or sports trivia. Offer prizes for the winning team and watch the competitive juices flow (along with the drinks, of course).

2. Stand Up Comedy 

Laughter is the best medicine (and sometimes the best way to get people to order another round). Host an open mic night for local comedians or bring in a professional act specializing in the type of humour you know your patrons - and potential ones - will love.

3. The Classic Happy Hour

It's a classic for a reason! Offer discounted drinks and appetizers during a designated happy hour window to attract after-work crowds and kickstart your evening. Think outside the box with creative names like ‘The Post-Work Perk’ or ‘The Pre-Dinner Dip’.

4. Tasting Event

Whether it’s wine, beer, cocktails or your latest food offering, people love to try new things. A specific event where you offer patrons a tasting menu of exciting drinks or new food dishes can help drive traffic through your door. 

Having a well-stocked bar is crucial for running successful promotions. A consistent supply of customer favourites is key! Check out our Bar Inventory 101 Guide for tips on keeping your shelves (and taps) flowing with delicious options, as well as maximizing your inventory for higher profit margins.

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5. Game Night

Dust off those board games or invest in some classics like Jenga or giant Connect Four. A little friendly competition over Settlers of Catan or Mario Kart on the projector screen can create a fun atmosphere and keep people lingering longer.

6. Host Viewing Parties

Capitalize on pop culture trends by hosting viewing parties for popular shows, sporting events, or award ceremonies. Put out the call on social media to gauge interest, decorate your bar according to the theme (think Game of Thrones banners or sparkly decorations for the Oscars), and offer themed food and drink specials. Think ‘White Walker White Russians’ for a Game of Thrones viewing or ‘Red Carpet Cosmos’ for the Oscars. This is a great way to create a lively atmosphere, attract new customers who are fans of the event, and keep your regulars coming back for the next big televised showdown!

7. Live Music

Live music can add a whole new vibe to your bar. Hire local musicians or bands to play different genres throughout the week to cater to a variety of tastes. Think acoustic nights for a mellow mood or energetic live bands for a dance party atmosphere.

8. Themed Nights

Get creative with themed nights! Think 80s throwbacks with neon lights and leg warmers encouraged, neon nights with glow sticks and blacklight paint, or a luau-inspired evening with tropical cocktails and Hawaiian shirt giveaways. Themed nights can be a lot of fun and encourage people to dress up and embrace the spirit.

9. Birthday Bash for Your Bar

Is your bar celebrating an anniversary? Throw a birthday bash! Offer drink specials with names like ‘The Ol' Fashioned Favorite’ or ‘The New & Improved Mai Tai’, host a costume contest with a ‘Best Dressed Through the Decades’ theme, or have live music that reflects the era your bar opened. Anything to commemorate the occasion and get your customers involved in the celebration!

10. Social Media Scavenger Hunt

Get tech-savvy with a social media scavenger hunt! Hide clues around your bar, and on social media, leading participants to a hidden prize like a free round of drinks or a branded bar t-shirt. This is a fun way to generate social media buzz and get people interacting with your brand. Use a catchy hashtag to increase engagement with your bar and the event itself. 

11. Customer Appreciation Night

It’s not all about new customers. Show your regulars some love! Host a customer appreciation night with exclusive discounts on their favorite drinks, complimentary appetizers with unique names, or even a raffle with awesome prizes like tickets to a local concert or a gift basket filled with bar swag.

12. Charity Night

Partner with a local charity and host a fundraising night. Donate a portion of your proceeds or encourage customers to make additional donations with an option on their bill. It's a great way to give back to the community, attract customers who support the cause, and show your bar cares.

13. Mocktail Mania

Don't forget the designated drivers and non-drinkers! Create a menu of delicious and creative mocktails. These tasty concoctions will show everyone can enjoy a fun night out at your bar.

14. DIY Cocktail Classes

Become the mixology maestro! Host a DIY cocktail class where customers learn how to make their favorite drinks from your bartenders. It's a fun and interactive experience that can turn first-timers into regulars, and give them bragging rights at their next home party.

15. Partner Up!

Teaming up with a local restaurant or food truck to offer combo deals or special menu items is a fun way to build a buzz around both your brands. Think partnering with a pizzeria for a ‘Pizza & Pints’ night or a taco truck for ‘Taco Tuesdays’ with discounted pairings. This can attract new customers from both businesses and create a unique dining experience that keeps people coming back for more.

16. Loyalty is Rewarded

Implement a loyalty program to reward your regulars. This could involve offering points for every drink purchased, exclusive discounts on birthdays, or even priority access to special events like new menu item launches or beer tastings. A little reward goes a long way in building customer loyalty and making your bar their go-to spot for good times and great drinks!

17. Speed Dating 

Last but not least, consider hosting a speed dating event at your bar. You could partner with a local dating service or organize it yourself. This is a great way to attract new customers, especially young professionals looking for a fun night out. Offer drink specials for participants and provide a comfortable, upbeat atmosphere for potential love connections to blossom over cocktails. Who knows, your bar might just become known as the place where love stories begin!

For more tips on boosting the profitability of your bar, particularly when it comes to better managing your inventory and using that data to boost profit margins, reach out to the Sculpture Hospitality team today

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A Complete Buyer's Guide to Food & Beverage Inventory Management Systems

With around 25 to 35 percent of a restaurant’s operating budget dedicated to purchasing food (that’s not even taking into account beverage inventory costs for the bar), proper inventory management can significantly improve expected revenue.

To maximize profits you need to improve visibility and control over your restaurant or bar’s inventory. 

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