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July 2, 2018 15 Creative Bar Promotions (That Increase Midweek Business)

bar promotion ideas

No guest will refuse a 2-for-1 pitcher deal or $2 off a well drink. But those bar promotions aren’t enough to pull in midweek crowds. Mix it up. Get creative – and a little crazy – with bar promotion ideas that get people talking…and walking into your place.

Give the Millennials What They Want

For maximum ROI, market your bar promotions to millennials. Those born between 1982 and 2000 reserve 23.8% of their spending budget for restaurants and bars, more than any other age group.

1) “Salt Bae” Bartender Battle

Your bar deserves its own salt bae: a server or bartender who performs a trick so good, it’s gotta be shared on social media…ASAP.

Challenge your bartenders to perfect a signature move like a cocktail shaking dance. Then, host a weeknight event where bartenders debut their move. The crowd votes on their favorite (and shares all the action on social media). As one of your bar promotions, the winning bartender selects a drink to be half off for the night.

2) Get Things Poppin’

For out-of-the-box bar promotions, take a cue from the retail world where pop up shops are the “it” event. Luxury retailers like Tiffany’s set up a temporary, mini store in a location with high foot traffic and visibility.

Team up with an in-demand local retailer. Invite them to hold a pop-up shop event at your bar. They’ll promote the event to their loyal followers, so you’ll see new faces at your bar.

One bar in Chicago has a dedicated space for pop-up events that draw massive crowds. The bar has brought in fake sand for a beach party and even actors for a mini haunted house.

3) Toast to Big Bar Sales

Millennials and brunch go together like avocado and toast.

But don’t limit brunch to Sunday. Incorporate breakfast and brunch items – like their beloved avocado toast – into your weekday lunch menu and bar promotions. Studies show that more Americans are skipping breakfast, but 30% of them are purchasing breakfast food later in the day.

4) Champagne and Sparklers

What happens when a millennial’s birthday falls on a Tuesday? They’re not waiting until Saturday to celebrate.

Create birthday bar promotions and packages complete with the “notice me” trend of serving champagne with a sparkler. It’s a moment made for Instagram and Snapchat (the millennial crowd’s social media platforms of choice).

Want more ideas to attract millennials – and every age group? Check out 66 Bar Promotions to Drive Sales on Slow Nights.

5) Late Night Happy Hour

Be a hero to young professionals putting in overtime. Host a bonus round of happy hour bar promotions from 9 p.m. to midnight.

A survey by the National Restaurant Association and Technomic revealed that a third of millennials would visit a bar or restaurant more often if the venue served late night food. The survey also found that millennials are thirsty for late night drink specials, too. (But that’s kind of obvious, isn’t it?)

Go Big with Bar Promotions to Draw Big Groups

The more the merrier. Make large groups feel welcome and you’ll become their go-to spot for celebrations and events.

6) Live Trivia Showdown

Nothing cures the midweek blues like live trivia. From college bars to neighborhood pubs, everyone is getting in on this brainy trend.

Beef O’Brady’s of Apollo Beach, Florida, starting hosting Buzztime Trivia LIVE on Wednesdays as one of their bar promotions. After a few weeks, food and drink sales increased by 25% – thanks to a 40% lift in customer traffic.

Offer creative bar promotions that tie into trivia night. Try $2 off any drink if the customer correctly answers a trivia question asked by the bartender.

7) A Bar Crawl Brings Crowds Running

Wouldn’t it be nice if you were the only bar on the block? (If so, lucky you.)

Embrace the competition and create a midweek bar crawl. Since you came up with the idea, the crawl starts at your place for dinner. Sweeten the deal with bar promotions focused on food for big groups.

8) Let’s Go Clubbing

…a different kind of club. We’re talking book clubs, mommy groups, stock clubs, you name it. These groups often meet in someone’s home on weeknights. But the right bar promotions can bring ‘em to your bar.

Show them you want their business. Is a group of 25 regular book club patrons worth your bartender serving a cocktail inspired by their book of the month? You decide.

9) Meetup at Your Place

Meet Meetup.com. It’s your new goldmine. Meetup.com is a social network for groups forming casual “meetups” based on shared interests. Chances are, there are hundreds of meetups in your area. You can launch your own meetup, or invite groups to hold their gettogethers at your bar.

Get Crafty with Your Bar Promotions

Unless you’re living under a rock (sipping on a domestic), craft beer and microbrewery mania is foaming over. Capitalize on the hysteria with crafty bar promotions.

10) Partner Up to the Bar

Team up with other businesses and tap into a new customer base with these bar promotions and event ideas:

  • How fly are your bar promotions? A fly fishing shop in Lansing, Michigan hosts a Brews & Bugs meetup. One of their instructors leads the group in a fly tying workshop while everyone sips on craft brews.
  • Another bar in Tulsa, Oklahoma hosts a homebrewers workshop. A local homebrewer supplier leads a talk while, you guessed it, everyone enjoys a few rounds at the bar.
  • Microbrews and craft beer aren’t just for college bros. A female brewer launched a Women of Craft Beer organization in Syracuse, New York.

11) Microbrewery Tap Event

In the craft beer culture, nothing is more exciting than the release of a new microbrew. Turn the tapping of a keg into a weeknight event with a “Tap Takeover” and bar promotions to match.

The end of a keg could also be the start of your bar promotions. Many microbrews are unfiltered with a shorter shelf life. To capture every last drop of profit, one bar in Jacksonville, Florida gives patrons half off pitchers of pricey microbrews nearing expiration.

While larger craft breweries like Sierra Nevada and Sam Adams regularly release seasonal beers, see if you can find a trendy, local microbrewery to partner with on a tap event. Invite the brew master to collaborate with your chef on menu pairings.

The craft brew crowd is seriously social, using apps like Untappd.com to share great beers they’ve tried – and which bars carry them. Yet another reason to focus your bar promotions on craft beer.

Timing is Everything: Create Bar Promotions Based on the Calendar

12) Seasonal Milestones

Let’s talk weather. This basic conversation starter makes for seriously creative bar promotions and events.

  • First Day of Spring, March 20th: Celebrate spring’s arrival with a new drink menu. Include refreshing sippers like frosé (frozen rosé wine) and summer shandies (lemonade and beer).
  • Ray of Sunshine: If you’re in the Midwest or Northeast, that first 70-degree day brings the town outside. Draw them to your place with 70 cent pitchers all day long. Got outdoor seating? This bar promotion is a great way to show it off.
  • Falling for Fall: Americans love autumn more than any other season. As the leaves change, create bar promotions around these 17 fall cocktails.

13) Offbeat Holidays for the Win

There are dozens of crazy holidays for every day of the year. When you’re out of bar promotions and ideas for a weeknight event, get inspired with this calendar of offbeat holidays. Here are a few favorites:

  • National Pizza Day, February 9th: Serve up complimentary slices of pizza and beer-focused bar promotions.
  • New Beer’s Eve, April 6th: Talk about a reason to celebrate…America’s 13-year ban on alcohol partially ended on April 7th when beer with a 3.2% ABV or less became legal again. On the eve of April 6th, thirsty patrons awaited the stroke of midnight to get their drink on.
  • Prohibition Ends, December 5th: On this day in 1933, Prohibition officially ended, making even the strong stuff legal again.
  • National Dog Day, August 26th: This would be a great day to launch #14 on our list of bar promotions…

For 12 more creative bar promotions centered on offbeat holidays, plus 54 ideas to attract patrons on slow nights, check out this free whitepaper.

Charitable Bar Promotions: Show Some Love

Show patrons you care about making the community a better place.

14) Lend a Helping Paw

Invite a local pet rescue to host a fundraising afternoon with a few furry friends. Station dogs on the sidewalk, along with signs for great bar promotions inside.

Serve creative cocktails like a Bow Wow Whiskey Sour or a Meow-tini, with some proceeds going to your local animal shelter. Check out Petfinder for shelters near you.

15) Raise the Roof

Sign up your staff – and invite guests – to build a Habitat for Humanity home. Host a meetup with a round of free appetizers for the hard-working volunteers. They’ll stay for your other great bar promotions. You’ll build visibility for your bar while getting behind a worthwhile cause.

Or, get involved in a walk-a-thon or charity race. Provide free t-shirts featuring your logo to all participants. Again, host that wrap up party at your place!

Weekdays can be rough in the bar biz – and for guests. Whether it’s an escape from a case of the Mondays, or a happy hour after a long work day, launching one of these midweek bar promotions shows patrons you’ve got their back – while giving your bottom line some love. Download the full list below!