In recent blogs, we’ve gone over some tips and techniques sports bars and restaurants can use to increase customer traffic and acquire as many new customers as possible. Emphasizing the importance of things like social media, leveraging different sports seasons, creating email lists and coming up with rewards programs have all been discussed as ways to increase customer engagement. Today we will go over a list of types of promotions and rewards your business can use to help with all of the areas previously mentioned and how you can make people aware of these great offers and deals.
Limited time offers, or LTO’s are a great way to draw in customers. There are many ways you can go about doing something like this. The most common is offering LTO’s on food or drinks on the menu. Something simple like buying an appetizer and getting a free drink would be a good example. But it doesn’t only have to be related to a menu item. Many places will come up with clever LTO’s like deals on t-shirts, hats or sweatshirts. Others will use contests where you can enter a drawing for a prize with the purchase of a piece of merchandise or a menu item. You can get creative with it and try to come up with new LTO’s that aren’t as common, or you can keep it simple by using your menu as the focal point of your LTO.
This one should be a no-brainer as the owner of a sports bar. If you advertise yourself as a sports bar you want to make sure you are able to show all the games that people want to watch when they come in. Sure, any local team will almost always be the most popular game on a given day, but people still want to be able to watch more than a handful of games. Purchasing packages like NFL Ticket, MLB TV and others allows you to flip on a certain game if one or more of your customers have interest. Also keep in mind the idea of purchasing one off events like big boxing or UFC fights. People love to watch these but often have to spend $50+ if they want to watch it at home. If you have a place where people can come in and watch any game they want, it will just give them more of a reason to stay longer.
Trivia is one of the most popular bar games throughout the whole country. Many businesses will use it during a week day to draw in more customers at times when they typically won’t be as busy. Surely you can do trivia night any day you want, but it makes sense to do it on nights where there might not be a big sports game going on. A big way to work on your customer acquisition is to find ways to bring in people at your slowest times. If you are more of an old school bar that offers other bar games like darts or pool, you can use these as a customer acquisition tool as well. Host weekly tournaments where people can come in and play for prizes and you might start seeing much bigger crowds during days when you are typically slower. Trivia and other bar games have been one of the most common ways to draw in customers for a long time, but there’s a reason why… It works.
As a sports bar or restaurant, not everything you do has to be sports related. While a majority of your customers might be coming in for the big game and the fun sports atmosphere, surely you will have customers come in that are just there for a night out. Music, like trivia, is also one of the more popular ‘promotions’ bars and restaurants use. Everybody likes music right? Even if it’s not your customers favorite genre or band, it’s still a way to engage with your customers and provide some entertainment that they wouldn’t get at home. The broader the audience you can appeal to, the more likely you will see returning customers and new customers looking for a fun atmosphere to come hangout for a night.
Reward programs can provide a huge benefit to your company. You see big chains like Chipotle, Chick Fil A and McDonald’s use them, but how could it help a smaller bar or restaurant? Well to start, there are over 3 billion loyalty memberships in the US. Now that includes other industries outside of the food industry, but it still shows just how massive these programs can be for any business. If customers are able to visit your restaurant and earn points every time, that presents a much higher opportunity of them coming back in the future. Who doesn’t like discounts and free stuff? More and more businesses are starting to realize the importance these can have on having success. The other benefit of having reward programs is it often requires customers to sign up with a phone number or email. Once you have this information you can then promote other things you have going like live bands, trivia or other promotions we have already mentioned. Keep this in mind as you are trying to think of new ways to innovate your business.
All of these promotions can be beneficial to your business, but you surely aren’t limited to these options. There are plenty of other types of promotions and rewards you can offer to drive traffic. One thing that can and should remain steady throughout all of these is the use of social media to advertise whatever it is you are offering. Social media is still the best way to ensure the biggest reach when talking to your customer base, and it figures to only continue to increase in the future.