50 Buzzworthy Bar and Restaurant Promotion Ideas to Improve Slow Nights

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Great bar and restaurant promotion ideas get people talking – and get guests in the door. These 50 buzzworthy bar and restaurant promotion ideas do both! They’re budget friendly, easy to launch, and designed to boost business on slow nights.

Partner for Profit

Don’t go it alone. Partner with another business or charity. They’ll promote the event to their customer base for value-added exposure.

  1. Charity Guest Bartenders
    This is one of the easiest weeknight bar and restaurant promotion ideas. Invite a charity to send a guest bartender or two – with all tips and 10% of sales going to that charity.
  2. Business Networking
    Invite tip clubs and business networking groups to hold midweek mixers and speed-networking events at your venue.
  3. Tap Takeover
    Craft beer gurus love trying new beers, so build your bar and restaurant promotion ideas around the arrival of new brews.

Get Competitive

These bar and restaurant promotion ideas tap into every guest’s need for a little friendly competition.

  1. Live Trivia Night
    Guests want to beat the midweek blues – and you’d like a boost in weeknight business. So, host a live trivia event! It’s insanely easy with Buzztime. Get everything you need to host live trivia yourself: from trivia questions to tablets for automatic scoring.
  2. Bar Olympics
    Cornhole. Beer pong. Flip cup. These backyard beer-drinking classic games make ideal bar and restaurant promotion ideas. When it’s cold outside, just bring the games indoors.
  3. Poker Tournament
    Guests go all in for poker tournaments, but they can be a hassle to organize. That is, unless it’s Buzztime Texas Hold ‘Em Poker! Just like live trivia, Buzztime makes it simple to run a poker tourney as tablets turn into digital card decks, and your TVs turn into poker tables.

Be a PR Magnet

Maximize the impact of these epic bar and restaurant promotion ideas by alerting local media: TV, radio, and online or print news.

  1. Celebrate a Milestone
    Located in the Northeast? Celebrate the first 70 degree day with 70 cent burgers or something PR-worthy.
  2. Break a Record
    Got an idea for a crazy record to break? Apply to the Guinness Book of World Records as one of your bar or restaurant promotion ideas. Even if you don’t succeed, you’ll get crowds – and media coverage – for the attempt.
  3. Bring in a Celeb
    Yes, you may have to pay them but yes, it’s worth it! Think of all the midweek bar and restaurant promotions you could build around a local celebrity at your place.
  4. Battle of the Bartenders
    Every month, challenge two bartenders to a mix off. Offer bar and restaurant promotions around the drinks they whip up. Let guests vote on their favorite.
  5. Be the “Home” Of
    What are you known for? Seriously spicy chicken wings? A different homemade dessert every day? Start promoting yourself as the “home” of something newsworthy.
  6. Big Eats
    Offer a massive portion of one of your menu items like 20 chicken tenders. Reward anyone who eats it all within a set time period with a free t-shirt.

Decade Theme Nights

Kick it old school with nostalgic bar and restaurant promotion ideas. Schedule your theme nights for Tuesdays and Thursdays when Buzztime’s nationally scheduled Glory Daze trivia runs.

  1. 90s Rap Night
    What do Tupac, LL Cool J, and the Beastie Boys have in common? They get everyone dancing. Throwback rap is popular with trendy millennials and Generation Xers.
  2. 80s Fever Night
    Invite guests to wear their 1980s apparel and enjoy drink and food specials based on 1980s prices.
  3. 70s Night
    Appeal to older patrons and cool hipsters with a 1970s night complete with Led Zeppelin and Beatles tunes.

A League of Your Own

The easiest way to bring guests back week after week? Launch a midweek league – and these bar and restaurant promotion ideas.

  1. Sponsor a Sports Team
    Sponsoring an adult kickball or softball team in a league is one of the simplest bar or restaurant promotion ideas. Invite the team to your place after games for special league-only offers.
  2. Dart League
    Get millennials into the game by hosting complimentary dart lessons once a month.
  3. Trivia League
    Trivia leagues are popular at bars across the country. Get in on the trend. Just give guests access to nationally scheduled trivia games – held 7 nights a week on the Buzztime network. There are 10 million registered Buzztime players, and many form weekly leagues at their favorite bar.

Stay Classy

School was never as cool as these education-based bar and restaurant promotion ideas.

  1. Just Dance
    Bring in a dance instructor to teach your guests some moves: from ballroom to salsa, square dancing to hip-hop.
  2. Plant and Pour
    Host a Plant Nite – a hot trend that’s sprouting up. Guests receive supplies and instruction to create potted plants and terrariums. There are thousands of instructors across North America ready to host Plant Nite at your place.
  3. Arts and Crafts
    Serve cool craft brews and bring in a local craft or paint instructor to lead a workshop.
  4. Believe in Magic
    Hire a magician to teach guests cool card tricks.

Get in the Game

Show your team spirit and bring the fans with these bar and restaurant promotion ideas.

  1. Pre-Game Pep Rally
    You’re probably busy on gameday but what about the evening before? Invite fans to get hype with a pep rally. Got extra space outdoors? Fire up the grill to create a tailgate vibe.
  2. Fantasy League Headquarters
    Cater to fantasy football players with clever bar and restaurant promotion ideas that pitch your place as their “headquarters.” If you’ve got Buzztime, you’ll have Football Trivia that tackles the week’s hottest plays and stats.

Best Day Ever

For instant bar and restaurant promotion ideas, look to the calendar. But don’t focus on the obvious holidays. Get creative with lesser known days of the year. Here are 12 calendar-based restaurant promotion ideas:

  1. Mid-January: Resolution Ruiner Party
    Have fun with the fact that just 8 percent of people keep their New Year’s resolutions. Create restaurant promotion ideas and specials for your richest appetizers and best booze.
  2. February 2: Groundhog’s Day
    Add intrigue to this holiday by offering 2 for 1 drinks all night if the groundhog sees his shadow – or 2 for 1 appetizers if he doesn’t.
  3. March 14: Pi Day
    3.14 is “pi” in mathematics – get it? These nerdy restaurant promotion ideas can add up to big sales. Offer $3.14 appetizers or a $31.40 prix fixe menu. Or, include complimentary slices of homemade pie with every order. Also, apple pie shots anyone?
  4. April 1: April Fool’s Day Joke Competition
    Fool me once, fool me twice…ok, we can’t remember the saying either. Host a “joke off” event. Invite guests to tell their best joke and let the crowd vote for the ultimate joker.
  5. May 4: Star Wars Day
    “May the Fourth” be with you as you invite guests to come in costume to enjoy restaurant promotion ideas and drink special inspired by the hit movies.
  6. July 21: Hot Dog Day
    Cater to sports fans? Promote complimentary hot dogs – plus peanuts and cracker jacks. Call it a “Day at the Ball Park” and turn on the baseball games.
  7. August 26: National Dog Day
    You’ll fetch big crowds if you have space outdoors to host patrons – and their pooches. Put out water and offer complimentary dog treats. Just don’t let the doggies indoors as it likely isn’t allowed per your city’s health codes.
  8. September 19: Talk Like a Pirate Day
    Servers could don eyepatches and speak like pirates. Bartenders can offer 2-for-1 specials on all rum drinks. P.S. Located in Michigan? This is an official holiday.
  9. Early October: Oktoberfest
    Create a special menu featuring Oktoberfest brews and German bites like soft pretzels, schnitzel (fried pork), and more.
  10. November 24 (2017): Black Friday Escape
    The day after Thanksgiving means crazy shoppers are on the loose! Give them a reason to unwind afterwards at your place with crazy good restaurant promotion ideas and specials…like a Black Friday Free Fry Day. Offer free wings and fries from 5-7pm and you can almost guarantee you’ll see big happy hour crowds.
  11. Mid-December: Ugly Christmas Sweater Party
    This is one of the most fun bar and restaurant promotion ideas. Give $2 off any drink if the patron is donning a hideous sweater. Or, make it an event and send the top 3 ugliest sweater wearers home with prizes.

Set the Stage for Performing Arts

By stage, we just mean a little floor space in your venue to launch one of these performance-based bar and restaurant promotion ideas and events.

  1. Open Mic Night: DJs
    Everyone wants to be a DJ, so let them! Invite local DJs – both professional and amateur – to spin a half hour set. You’ll turn the tables on slow nights.
  2. Open Mic: Comedy
    Comedy clubs wish they could be like your bar or restaurant. You’ve already got the great food and drinks, you just need the mic and the comedians. Designate one night a week as Open Mic Comedy Night.
  3. Open Mic: Upgraded
    Basic open mic night is boring. As one of your go-to bar and restaurant promotion ideas, “gamify” Open Mic night by letting the audience vote on the best performer who is rewarded with a $25 gift certificate.
  4. Band Together
    Nothing turns up the volume on business better than a live band. Just be sure to schedule the band for after your dinner rush – no one likes yelling over dinner.
  5. Be Dramatic
    While live music is one of the most common restaurant promotion ideas, go beyond the mic and invite in the local theater. Pitch it to the theater as a promotional event: a few of their actors can perform one scene from an upcoming play. Let them sell tickets on site, too.
  6. Radio Remote
    Invite the local radio station in to broadcast remotely from your bar. Most stations require payment, but you can always offer trade instead. The on-air personalities could even host an open mic night.
  7. Art Gallery
    Spice up your décor by featuring a local artist’s work on your walls every quarter. As one of your bar and restaurant promotion ideas, host a VIP “gallery opening” on your slowest night.

Targeted Bar and Restaurant Promotion Ideas

Want to reach a specific audience? We’ve got you covered.

  1. Singles
    Launch restaurant promotion ideas designed to bring singles together. Host a stoplight party. Guests wear green if they’re single, yellow if it’s complicated, and red if they’re taken. You’ll be seeing lots of green…
  2. Couples
    Host a perfect pairing night for couples. Ask your liquor distributor if they can send a wine rep to do a tasting. You’ll likely see lots of double dates – and extra sales.
  3. Nearby Office Employees
    Ask a local company if you can drop off coupons for complimentary appetizers Monday through Thursday.
  4. Families
    One of the easiest restaurant promotion ideas for parents is to offer entertainment for their kids – like the Buzztime digital arcade.
  5. Busy Moms
    Mom’s spa night out is one of the best restaurant promotion ideas to bring in weeknight crowds. Hire a masseuse to give chair massages.
  6. Millennials
    Show that you’re in the know with Buzztime’s Trendalicious Trivia every Thursday night!
  7. Specific Professions
    Think nurses, law enforcement, teachers…honor their hard work with midweek bar and restaurant promotion ideas like drink specials and complimentary apps.
  8. Seniors
    Baby boomers don’t like to admit they’re “seniors” but the right restaurant promotion ideas can entice them to fess up anyways. Try offering 7% off 7 days a week from 5 to 7pm.

We hope these 50 bar and restaurant promotion ideas inspire you to take your events to the next level. Now go forth and be buzzworthy – check out this shareable infographic of some of our favorite promotions below!

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Nov 6, 2017


  1. Nightclub11 on May 30, 2015 at 4:57 am


    Thanks for sharing this articles and great field in night night.

  2. Nightclub11 on June 11, 2015 at 5:19 am

    Hey ! guys nice blog and awesome.Thanks for sharing this articles and great line in the night club.
    The biggest two rooms in the night club. The best place is the night club gate in the new York.

  3. Cliff on May 17, 2017 at 2:04 pm

    This are some amazing ideas thanks A 100

  4. lelieth on June 13, 2017 at 9:05 am

    thanks for the amazing ideas

  5. Cass on August 20, 2017 at 2:14 pm

    Is it legal to have customers as guest bartenders? If so are there any stipulations I should be aware of?

    • Alitia on March 1, 2019 at 2:00 pm

      Generally, the requirement is “supervised by a licensed bartender.” in my state, that means in full view, or 20 feet away, something like that. you have to have 1 licensed bartender on premise. Guest bartenders are usually supervised or limited in some way (think about your cash box.) Generally, it is not a problem, but a quick call to the city board (or who approves licenses) will clear it up.

      • Nik on December 11, 2019 at 6:08 am

        Wrong. A licensed bartender is not required at all times.

        • Robert Lacey on January 7, 2020 at 11:05 am

          Servsafe certificate needed in CA and NY

  6. Arturo on September 30, 2017 at 4:19 pm

    Thank yօu for helping out, ԝonderful information.

  7. Primah on November 7, 2017 at 4:07 am

    Its really very nice man . thank u

  8. Andre on November 10, 2018 at 1:16 am

    From a pub owner… fail*

    • wfoody on November 13, 2018 at 12:56 pm

      Hi Andre, what did we fail at?

    • Turbo on December 24, 2018 at 7:54 pm

      Totally agree from a pub standpoint

      • wfoody on December 26, 2018 at 1:47 pm

        We would love to expand the article to provide help for everyone. Where do you think we can improve?

  9. Club on January 16, 2019 at 2:03 am

    Some great ideas, thank you!

  10. Oliver Escobar on January 25, 2019 at 6:28 pm

    nice, this helped me out thinking of new ideas. thanks

  11. Sugandha on February 19, 2019 at 12:18 am

    Really nice. Loved it

  12. Michelle Thomason on May 4, 2019 at 11:21 am

    I’m looking for ideas to boost our American legion attendance.

  13. DAVID REGAN on August 13, 2019 at 4:42 pm

    Any ideas of how to bring people in to a hotel coaching holiday bar

  14. Freedah nayebare on August 15, 2019 at 12:21 pm

    Nice ideas. Thank you…

  15. Jet tan on September 9, 2019 at 3:17 am

    Very nice ideas! Thanks a lot

  16. Maria Bustamante on January 6, 2020 at 10:17 am

    Looking for a new ideas to promote our new restaurant pub. Any alternative entertainment maybe

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