For centuries, bars and taverns have been a gathering place where folks from all walks of life can gather and bond over a pint any time of the day. And today, you can add taprooms to that list of gathering spaces. There are many times you can count on your bar or taproom being a little busier, like on payday or during happy hour. But what about the days when business tends to be a little slow? How can you continue to drive traffic to your establishment during those off-peak hours of the week?
To cultivate customers, you must give them a reason to stop by any day, whether it’s a Tuesday afternoon or a Friday night.
If you’re a bar owner struggling to find creative ways to drive customers in the door, keep reading.
Promoting your bar doesn’t have to be complicated. Keep it simple by following these fresh takes on increasing foot traffic to your bar in 2022.
What We’ll Cover in This Piece:
Bar owners and their employees are community builders. Hosting events lets patrons see that you’re neighborly and care about providing them with a unique and comfortable environment to hang out.
With events, you make your bar an experience. You give your guests something to look forward to, get excited about, and share with their friends. All while increasing your foot traffic and boosting your bottom line.
Ready to start planning your next promotion or event? We’ve got you covered with sixteen fresh ideas below.
Who doesn’t love a bit of competition while they’re drinking? Host a game night with a twist. Post on social media that anyone who brings a board game to your bar gets $5 pours for their entire table until the last game of Scrabble or Risk has been played. Let the games begin!
Sometimes the words just don’t come so easily. That's when it’s time to enlist some help from your community! This one is geared more towards brewery owners specifically. Brew a pilot batch of a potential new release and put it on draft for one night, allowing your patrons to submit their name for the no-name brew.
Consider it an impromptu mini test launch disguised as a beer naming contest. This gives your staff an opportunity to talk to customers about the story behind the beer, flavor profile, and style.
But more importantly, you’ll cultivate your own community by letting them make an important decision. The winner gets bragging rights and a free pour of the beer they just helped name.
Untappd is the world’s largest community of beer enthusiasts with over nine million registered users. The Untappd app invites people to socially share the beers they’re currently enjoying by checking them in.
Within the app, users can unlock Local Badges just for visiting your business, bar, or taproom. They’re used almost like a rewards club or loyalty program. When your customer checks-in and tags your venue as a place they’re drinking, they can unlock certain rewards.
For example, they can drink five beers and earn a free t-shirt or over time consume 100 beers and earn a free flight.
Get in touch with us to create a Local Badge in order to incentivize your customers to become loyal fans, unlocking rewards like merch, free flights, and more.
Plus, the best feature of local badges is that the app will send reminders to drinkers when they’re, say, two beers away from unlocking the next level, encouraging people to stay and purchase more products. It’s a win-win for everyone.
No onsite kitchen—no problem! Invite some food trucks to park outside your bar for the evening. Not only are food trucks a great way to support local chefs, but they also generate more revenue. Filling up on tacos or pizza means your customers will feel more comfortable coming back for that extra pilsner or IPA.
Make every pour count. Choose a good cause you’d like to support and then designate a beer for that organization. Donate sales of that selected brew at the end of the week or month. This is a great way to rally your community around a cause. Plus, a benefit beer could attract the attention of the local press.
Who doesn’t love a trip back in time? Give your customers a reason to let loose with a theme night of your choosing. (You could also poll your customers online asking them what theme night they’d like to see.)
Take it back to the millennium or ‘70s with some era-appropriate style. Don’t forget your hashtags for the night! Create some competition by awarding the best costume a drink on the house.
These days, it feels like there is a holiday to celebrate 365 days a year. A proper Google search will help your staff plan ahead for drink specials and contests. Think about marketable unofficial holidays like Star Wars Day (May 4th) or National Sunglasses Day (June 27). You could come up with fun food or drink specials, show a themed movie, or even just decorate your space based on the holiday.
Invite your customers to experience your brewery in a new way by offering weekly yoga classes in your production space. Sell tickets good for one class as well as a complimentary cold pint afterwards. Let your customers get their work out, see a space they might not have access to during your normal hours, and enjoy a beer with their friends.
Got a new beer on tap or cocktail creation? Invite your customers for a tasting and provide them with an exclusive VIP-type experience. Tastings are an excellent opportunity to test out concepts and recipes before they are ready for the public.
Looking for an easy way to craft unique, membership-only experiences? Check out Oznr, a brand in the Next Glass family that helps breweries create membership programs, mug clubs, bottle societies, and more.
Fans curious about cocktails? Or intrigued by IPAs? Create unique 101 classes with the help of your mixologists or brewers. Give each spirit its own class or forget cocktails all together and focus on beer types and how they are created. Everyone loves to learn something new—why not quench your thirst in the process?
Similar to food trucks, partner with a local restaurant to create a drink and dish pairing. Celebrate the perfect match with a beer and food pairing night. Sell tickets for a five-course meal or just small bites.
Is there a beer festival already happening in your area? Contact the organizers and offer to be the place for the official (or “unofficial”) after party, allowing anyone who shows their credentials to join. You’ll be guaranteed to attract a large number of craft beer fans looking for something to do after the event.
A word of caution here before you commit: Understand the certain challenges that might come along with hosting the after party. Most likely, you’ll be inviting in folks who have already been drinking for a significant amount of time.
Just make sure you and your staff are prepared to handle any of those hurdles before offering to host the after party.
As a business owner in your community, chances are that you have an ear to the ground on local events, festivals, and more. Get involved by offering to host events, fundraisers, or concerts.
For example, could your bar or taproom host a neighborhood party for Pride? How about a pup and pint night? Supporting your community will help your establishment become an inclusive, inviting, and safe spot.
Create a Collaboration Beer
Collaboration is one of the best parts of the beer industry. If you’re a bar, team up with a local brewery to create a beer just for your establishment. Or if you’re a brewery consider teaming up with someone else from either near or far.
Brewing a collab beer and hosting a release party will give fans a special reason to visit, especially if that beer will only be available for a limited time.
Additionally, by partnering with someone else, you’ll have the chance to make their fans your own, potentially increasing your own customer base.
Looking to showcase your range of beer, whiskey, or wine styles? Flight offerings are an easy talking point for your staff and customers to be able to make suggestions, share a new flavor you’re thinking about releasing, etc.
Pro Tip: Incorporate small bites alongside your flight. Pairings are a great way to complement the spirit’s profile.
The ultimate faceoff! Have two of your bartenders face off in a cocktail creation battle for the night. Whichever drink is ordered the most wins.
Does your bar have an on-site kitchen? Create a Chef vs. Chef competition challenging two of your chefs to create two unique bites for the menu that day. Both of these options are a great way to highlight menu items as well as showcase the talent of your staff. Then, use the events feature on Untappd for Business to promote your competition to the world's largest beer community.
What can you do with Untappd for Business?
Build your first beer, food, or cocktail menu in a few clicks. Then print or share digitally. Start your free 30-day trial today.