Bar Promotion Ideas for 2017
I’ve been in and around the bar business for quite a few years. I’ve worked as a janitor, bartender, bar back, cook, and manager. Over the years we have tried many different bar promotion ideas to try to increase our number of customers. Almost always, the best way to start is with “Happy Hour” specials. We have also participated in city wide bar crawling events and hosted our own events for specials holidays.
1. Putt Putt Pub Crawl
If your city doesn’t have an annual Putt Putt Pub Crawl then here is a great opportunity for you to go down in history as the bar that started it all! The basic idea is that there are 18 bars that participate, but if it’s your town’s first year then maybe 9 is better for the first run. Each bar is required to build a putt putt golf hole and determine its par score.
Teams are made up of 5 people. 1 is the designated driver and is required to wear a wristband showing his/her DD status. Bars will not serve alcohol to those wearing wrist bands. The entire team golfs the hole. The team’s recorded score is the score of the best golfer on that hole.
After everyone has golfed and the team’s score is awarded, the team then heads to the next bar to golf that hole. In our town we always end and meet up at the largest location and of course party over the fact that we just partied all day in the name of drinking and golfing. Cheers!
The Civitans in our town are the hosts and often start the morning with donuts and free swag. It’s a good time. If your town doesn’t have this yet, start it. If you do, get planning on next year’s design now and win the annual contest for best hole. People talk about this event all year. If you build your golf hole right, you’ll earn yourself some new full time customers.
2. Souper Bowl Sunday
“A $5 sandwich ruines a $20 drunk”. Any day. So feed your customers! The easiest food to prepare and serve is soup. It’s even as easy as opening a can (if you want to be lazy about it), pouring it into a crockpot and slicing up some french bread from the store. Charge $3-5 for lunch and if it’s football season, post on your social media accounts which teams will be playing and what soup you will be serving.
Souper Bowl Sunday is a great bar promotion idea for the winter. With the fall air in blowing around, now is the time to start introducing this custom to your customers. You’re welcome to use my poster design. We ran homemade chicken noodle soup this last Sunday and it sold out in 2 hours. Our customers really appreciated the warm soup on a cold day.
3. Special Birthdays
My mom is the manager at the bar where I cook now and she is a fanatic about Elvis. While granted, many are Elvis fans, she took it to a whole new level when we hosted a celebration of his life on the anniversary of his death. Check out this poster we made. All night long we had Elvis playing on the jukebox and folks were dancing and singing and having a good time. One customer showed wearing Elvis costume glasses with the fake sideburns attached. It was a night none of us will forget.
And that’s the key for a great bar promotion idea: take something everyone can relate to and throw a party celebrating it. A little wordplay in your posters always makes the planning that much more fun too!
Nothing like a cold Jailhouse on the Rocks to go with your hot Love Me Chicken Tenders.
4. Thirsty Thursday
NFL games on Thursday nights are a great place to start when you’re coming up with an idea for a Thursday night special. We host “Thirsty Thursdays” and have drink specials and finger foods. The finger foods are sold at a price just high enough to cover costs and make a little profit because all profits go to our charity of the month. When people know their purchases are at least going towards a charity, they are more inclined to buy if they were on the fence to start.
Sam’s Club is a great place to start if you’re looking to sell finger foods at your establishment. I’m assuming you know, but maybe I should mention the fact that you have to have a food handling license to sell food inside your bar. Depending on if you allow smoking in your bar, these licenses aren’t too hard to come by. And by the way, our bar does allow smoking and food. Check with your local laws.
5. Happy Hour
Our town recently had the state fair going on so rather than accept that we would probably lose customers to folks headed to the fair, we ran food specials of fair food. Offering homemade corn dogs, curly fries and bloomin onions, we actually were complimented by some that said our food was better than the fair’s!
Every Wednesday night from 7:00-9:30 we have beer and special drinks discounted and we run the kitchen full blast. My biggest sellers for food are always the finger steaks and jalapeno poppers.