Certain days throughout the year just have a celebratory nature about them, and on these days bars and restaurants can cash in big by catering to the revelers with parties and specials. The obvious ones like New Year’s Eve, Cinco de Mayo and St. Patrick’s Day are commonly recognized, but what about all the other days in between? How can you encourage patronage to come to your bar when there isn’t an occasion to celebrate? Here's an idea; create a reason. Small, less-known holidays have been slowly growing in popularity lately. These holidays are often highly specific and rather silly in nature, but at the same time, they could provide the ideal inspiration for great theme parties, menu additions or specialty drinks. Some examples of less-known holidays are Talk Like a Pirate Day (Sep 19th) and Batman Day (Apr 1st). There are also food days such as Cheese Doodle Day (Mar 5th) and Chocolate Cupcake Day (Oct 18th). But the ones that may be most beneficial and profitable for bars are the alcohol related holidays. National Drink Wine Day (Feb 18th), World Cocktail Day (May 29th), and Drink Beer Day (Sep 28th) are just begging to have drink specials associated with them!
Here are are several ideas for ways you can promote attendance at your establishment in celebration of these days.
- Come up with unique drink specials. While two dollar drafts are a great weekly deal, these holidays call for something a little more imaginative. For Drink Beer Day you could have a promotional mug that gives the customer a set amount off the price of beers. For National Drink Wine Day try hosting a wine tasting so your customers can sample your offering and then order a full glass of their favorite at a discounted price. Craft beer and wine also lend themselves easily to food pairings and flight service. If you do a special flight service, remember that people like to have some information about the beers and wines they are sampling. A simple tasting menu with the flavor profile, type of wine or beer and the place of origin is a great way to present this information. Make sure your employees are also well versed on the samples being served because your establishment will make a good impression if the wait staff can answer questions about the selections. If the wine tastings or flight service is successful at attracting customers, you may find it could be an ideal addition to your weekly specials.
- World Cocktail Day is just begging for new drink recipes. Start promoting your new drinks in advance by sharing three options with your customers and asking them to vote on which one they would most like to try on the special reveal day. Or host a contest where customers can participate by giving suggestions for new drinks to be added to your menu. Then reward the customer with the winner selection with some type of reveal day prize. Your employees could also be a great resource for new drink recipes. Start a contest by giving customers samples of the employee's concoctions and having them vote for their favorite. Then award the employee who created the most liked new cocktail. Regardless of the promotion, having customers try out new recipes can increase the number of drinks they order and encourage them to order more expensive and profitable drinks in the future. Another idea for World Cocktail Day is to capitalize on the wildly popular local ingredient trend and offer a special cocktail menu just for that night featuring a variety of fresh, local ingredients.
- Another trend that many bars are exploring is offering open bar packages. If this is something you were thinking of incorporating at your bar, a night in celebration of alcohol might just be the time to try it out. In the most basic application, open bar works as follows: you set a specific time (two-three hours during the night) where customers can buy into an “open” bar option, they pay a set price and then don’t pay for drinks during that time period. There are many variables that can be involved as well, like limiting the selections to rail liquor or tap beer to reduce costs. Or serving only specialty drinks from the open bar to further promote and continue the special theme for that day. Regardless of the nature of your open bar, you will need to make sure the patrons that have “bought in” can be easily and clearly identified. Using wristbands or hand stamps can help your employees make sure the event runs smoothly.
- While the suggestions above may help you brainstorm ideas for your next event the most important thing to ensure success is to plan ahead. While these special holidays are gaining popularity they still aren't commonly known. So if you are going to capitalize on one of them it will be up to you to create the buzz and make it an event. A little bit of relatively inexpensive promotion can go a long way and this is can be accomplished rather easily with social media and digital marketing. Make a Facebook event or tweet about it ahead of time. If you text coupons to your customers already, send them some information via that channel. Also, word of mouth will help with your promotion. Have your employees alert regulars to the upcoming event and use it as a lure to draw new customers back.
There are 365 days in the year and almost all of them have something you can celebrate. Other alcohol related days include Tequila Day, Bloody Mary Day, Gin Day, and my personal favorite Repeal Day (Dec 5), a celebration of the 18th Amendment being repealed and alcohol becoming legal again. Repeal Day can be a lot of fun to celebrate. Many places will have period themed parties where employees and guests alike wear clothing from the 1930s. So don your swankest flapper or gangster outfits and pour your customers bourbon!
For a more complete list of all of the various days that can be celebrated you can visit http://www.daysoftheyear.com/ .
For more information on Repeal Day please visit http://www.repealday.org/ .