How to Make Money by Hosting Trivia Night At Your Brewery or Bar

Sarah Buckholtz
Post by Sarah Buckholtz
August 5, 2022
How to Make Money by Hosting Trivia Night At Your Brewery or Bar

If you own a bar or brewery, you know that profit margins are razor thin. With that in mind, attracting folks into your space every night becomes very important. While you may not need a plan for increasing foot traffic on your busy days of the week (probably Friday and Saturday), strategizing for those slow weeknights is crucial.

So here’s a question for you: What is one tried and true event to get butts in seats during the week? Answer: trivia night.

King Trivia, a trivia company in operation since 2004, reports that during their trivia nights 98% of tables are filled on average at each venue.

Now, these are just one company’s statistics, but if you haven’t already it seems valuable to at least test out a trivia night at your venue to see if it increases foot traffic and your weeknight profits. But what exactly goes into running a profitable trivia night?

You need to consider everything from buying the right equipment to potentially hiring a host and marketing. Let’s consider all the economics behind hosting a trivia night to see how you can maximize your event.

Photo by Sean Benesh on Unsplash

Why Host A Trivia Night at Your Bar or Brewery?

A trivia night host reading questions in a bar
Photo hq_chicago via Instagram

First and foremost, trivia nights have the potential to boost your bottom line.

These events can attract more people into your establishment, giving them a specific reason to visit your bar or brewery, especially on a slower night like Tuesday or Wednesday.

People have loved trivia for ages because it challenges them to recall easy and difficult facts (for example, without cheating, how many U.S. states begin with the letter “M”?).

What’s important to you is that trivia is a team sport, meaning people will flock to your establishment in groups.

... players trend to 55% female, 24 to 39 years old, with household incomes in excess of $100k, [who] are weekly drinkers (of course) and spend regularly on entertainment.

While all your patrons are having fun, you’re building up bigger bar tabs. Because more people in the seats equals more opportunities to drink and eat.

Geeks Who Drink, a popular purveyor of pub quizzes, advertises on its website that their “players trend to 55% female, 24 to 39 years old, with household incomes in excess of $100k, [who] are weekly drinkers (of course) and spend regularly on entertainment.”

Not to mention, since trivia is typically a recurring weekly event, these nights are a great way to engage with customers both new and regular.

For King Trivia, the company reports that 85% of the people at their events play on a weekly basis.

Lastly, because pub trivia usually lasts for at least two hours, you’re guaranteed to keep a large group of people inside your bar or brewery for a longer amount of time. This makes it easy for participants to keep ordering pints and pizzas for brain power. (If your business doesn’t have an on-site kitchen—no sweat! Hiring a food truck is easy.)

If you offer the winning team a few free drinks, it’s guaranteed they’ll keep partying for a bit longer. But, even people who don’t win will most likely stick around afterward for an extra beer or two.

Trivia sets your bar apart from those around you, offering a group of people the chance to come have fun and drink and eat at your place.

Think of it this way: On a Wednesday night, if you’re choosing between going to a place that’s offering a trivia night and one that has nothing going on, which one would you choose?
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Four-Step Guide to Hosting a Profitable Trivia Night

Let’s help you get your actual game plan in place.

Follow these four simple steps to ensure your trivia night makes the most dollars and sense!

Select the Trivia Theme

Overhead shot of table of friends during trivia night at a bar
Photo from theloftuts via Instagram

Not sure where to start when it comes to planning a trivia night? Picking a specific theme will help all the other pieces fall into place. You can take two routes here: 1.) Choose a very specific theme like Harry Potter or Star Wars, or 2.) Select more general questions.

A specific theme can be a lot of fun, but when it comes to choosing certain questions, consider volume. More general trivia questions tend to attract a higher turnout. With the goal to get as many people through the door as possible, the broader—the better.

Of course, with a fun-themed night you might create a more appealing event that stands out in a crowd.

Consider mixing up your trivia nights with some themed and some general ones.

Need inspiration for general trivia questions? Check out this list, which includes 101 of the top trivia questions of 2022.

Host Yourself or Hire a Host?

If you’re looking for a trivia night to boost your bottom line, answering this question is top of mind. When it comes to the talent running the event, you have two options that range from free to paid.

Host/Write the Questions Yourself

Save on some cash by running the event yourself. This is a great option if you have a charismatic, confident person on staff who’d like the opportunity to run the show.

Having your own employee host gives them a chance to connect with regular and new customers, too. They’ll be responsible for not only hosting, but also creating the trivia questions.

You can certainly come up with questions on your own or find free ones from sites like Trivia Bliss or elsewhere on the internet, of course.

If you do choose this option, you’ll need to budget time for writing questions, offering prizes, and marketing, but you won’t need to shell out straight-up cash to a third party.

Hire a Professional Trivia Host

A professional trivia night company or trivia bar system such as Geeks Who Drink or King Trivia will handle all the hardware or software, hosting, and logistics. Often all that’s required of your business is to provide the event space, prizes, and marketing.

This choice may eat into your profit, but could help ensure a smooth and easy event, ensuring people return week after week to attend a well-organized, fun trivia night.

Each company is a little different, so you’ll want to do your research before committing to one over the other.

For example, Geeks Who Drinks reports themselves to be the largest producer of live-hosted trivia nights in the United States and Canada, reaching 3.2 million players per year and having served over 4,000 customers. Their experience could be key to running a smooth event.

But professional trivia hosts can cost anywhere from $150 to $500 per event, so make sure you get quotes from a few different companies and take this into account when planning your trivia night.

If you can run an effective trivia night without having to pay someone else, that might be your best option.

Pro Tip: If you do want to hire a host, check out a few other trivia nights at bars or breweries in your area to see which trivia companies they’re using. You could even attend one to get a feel for the host’s energy and rate.
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Advertise Your Event

A trivia night won’t be worth anything to you if the masses don’t come to participate. Get the word out.

According to the latest data from Pew Research, 71% of people now get at least some of their news input from social media platforms. Take advantage of those eyes by advertising your trivia night across all your social media channels.

Group of friends attending trivia night at a bar
Photo from theloftuts via Instagram

By giving your guests something to look forward to, get excited about, and share with their friends, you’ll quickly build up anticipation leading up to your event.

Pick a Prize

Who doesn’t love a prize? The most successful trivia in bars always involves awesome prizes.

Offering an attractive prize will ensure folks keep coming back to your trivia night, making it profitable week after week.

Here are some prize ideas for your next bar trivia event:

  • Create a Traveling Trophy
    We know this one might sound a bit cheesy, but take a look at it from this perspective: If your business is active on social media, the winner can post and tag your business in a photo with the trophy. This “trophy” could be a necklace, a cup, an actual trophy. Dealer’s choice!
  • Prize Wheel
    Let fate take the wheel. Winners can take a spin on a prize wheel to win any number of cool things. Prizes could be a free appetizer, BOGO beer, 15% off your meal, swag… The possibilities are as large or small as you can imagine.
  • Participation Prizes
    Keep’em coming back for more by offering coupons or beer chips to all participants. Whatever reward you chose should be juicy enough to build loyalty and keep players curious about the prize for next time.

The Final Question

Are you ready to make the most out of your trivia night?

It may take a few rounds to get the rhythm of the game, but following these considerations will help you create an effective event that will attract new and loyal customers to your bar or brewery.

Consider all the economics behind hosting a trivia night, and when applied correctly, you’re sure to build a lucrative event!

Hungry for even more promotion ideas from trivia to taproom yoga? We have 16 fresh takes on increasing foot traffic to your bar in 2022.

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Sarah Buckholtz
Post by Sarah Buckholtz
August 5, 2022
Sarah Buckholtz is a Content Writer and Editor for Untappd, Oznr, and Hop Culture. For more than a decade she has interviewed everyone from artisan makers to Grammy nominated musicians to Jefferson Award winning preservationists. She is a former blog writer and marketing manager for American Pickers creator and host, Mike Wolfe, covering stories about heritage tourism and preservation coast-to-coast. Sarah grew up on the shores of Lake Erie in Pennsylvania and is currently drinking a Jackalope Thunder Ann in Nashville, Tennessee.