It’s no secret that the catering trade is different to conventional retail. While a clothing store can build its promotions around changes to the seasons and ever-altering fashions, pubs and bars need to remain evergreen.
What’s more, pubs and bars rely heavily upon loyalty. Passing footfall is fine, but it cannot be relied upon to sustain a business. A catering business needs to create a welcoming atmosphere that inspires loyalty from regular patrons. This is key to maintain profitability in an ever-more competitive landscape.
The right décor and great food are non-negotiables. Even then, however, your business can only go so far. The alcohol has evolved in recent years. These locations are no longer a sanctuary for patrons.
In the age of social media, younger generations see their every move – and potential misstep – documented online. This means that Millennials and Zoomers are drinking less than their parents, and the generations prior. As a result, alcohol sales alone are rarely sustainable as a business model.
As always, however, you can spin this potential negative into an opportunity. By understanding the needs of your target audience, a conventional nightspot can bustle with activity throughout trading hours. It’s all about finding the right promotions.
Ace Your Social Media Game
As discussed, social media plays a pivotal role in the lives of many younger customers. This means that you need to ensure that your online presence remains on-point.
This can be a balancing act. You need you ensure that your social media presence stands out, but it should also match the culture of your business. A witty social media presence gives your business the opportunity to go viral. Just avoid being sarcastic or cruel. This can deter customers, especially those looking for a welcoming environment.
Overall however, social media can be key to reaching new customers. Patrons unfamiliar with your business will see your promoted posts and potentially decide to check you out. From here, you can create a regular dialog with your customers. This will make them feel valued, as though they are part of a family.
Naturally, promotions will also catch the eye on social media. There are many services, including Snappmeal, that can create carefully timed social media campaigns that will boost footfall during quiet periods. With the aid of a professional social media team, you can also ensure that your content will reach the attention of ideal customers.
Arrange Set Happy Hours
No matter what line of business you are in, one thing remains certain. Customers always love a bargain. Happy Hours can be a failsafe way to boost footfall during conventionally quiet periods for your business.
Happy Hours serve many purposes. They can:
- Attract new customers that decide to try your business out on a whim.
- Encourage regular patrons to return at fixed times, often bringing friends family members with them.
- Aid you in shifting excess stock levels of food or alcohol.
The key is to set your Happy Hour at the best possible time. Don’t have Happy Hour at 9pm on a Friday. You will likely be busy then anyway. Aim for 5pm – 7pm on a Monday or Tuesday. This will attract tired office workers that decide to eat with you rather than cook at home.
Happy Hours can also come in many forms. Promotions that you could run include:
- 2-for-1 offers on meals or cocktails.
- Free or discounted side dishes when a certain amount is spent on drinks.
- Flat-rate discounts, such as 10% off anything ordered during Happy Hour.
Think of Happy Hour as the bait that draws in your customers. Once they arrive and start enjoying themselves, they are likelier to stick around. This means that you will enjoy new business during your conventional, full-price hours.
Host Pub Quizzes and Similar Occasions
As we have discussed, the younger generation no longer attend pubs and bars simply to drink. You need to encourage patrons with different approaches. Activities can be key to this. The humble pub quiz has grown increasingly popular over the years.
A pub quiz comes with a number of benefits.
- It’s easy to promote, both online and off. People will often search for this term.
- Pub quizzes invariably require a team to enter. This means that you’ll be attracting four or five patrons per team.
- These new customers will purchase drinks and food during the quiz – and potentially afterwards.
- If a team wins the quiz, they will likely return to the next time to defend their crown. A team that loses will want to test their mettle again. You are quietly and efficiently building brand loyalty.
- Word will spread that your pub quiz is a fun night out, with more and more people looking to attend.
Best of all, running a pub quiz is cheap. Questions and answers can be found all over the internet, at no cost. All you’ll need is a microphone and a quizmaster. Once you have that microphone, you can also branch out with your entertainment options.
Why not invest in a karaoke machine? Few people will be brave enough to get up and sing without buying a few drinks. This is also an activity that lends itself to large groups – and social media posts that could go viral.
Partner with Local Businesses
The pub and bar trade is competitive. You will need to find a way to give your business an edge. This can be achieved by partnering with local businesses.
Examples of this could include:
- Arranging exclusivity with a local microbrewery, appealing to craft beer fans.
- Team up with a local artist to display – and possibly sell – their work.
- Let out your pub or bar as a meeting space for the community.
- Post pop-up festivals and similar events during appropriate seasons.
If your business feels like a key part of the local community, it will be easier to attract regular patrons. While the role of pubs and bars have changed, they remain important. Just remember to advertise and promote these partnerships, ideally with well-time and curated campaigns. Snappmeal can help with this.
Host Artistic Events
Live events will always be exciting to younger patrons. The fear of missing out on a once-in-a-lifetime event will be too much for some customers to bear. Just ensure you have all appropriate licenses. MARA can help any restaurants in Finland to make sure they’re abiding by the local laws and legislation in their operations.
Live music is a good example. Everybody enjoys claiming, “I was there!” when a famous band plays a local pub before making it big. Your business could benefit from that free publicity!
Live music does not appeal to everybody, but you could try a variety of other options. Poetry readings, open mic nights and stand-up comedy will all attract a large following. These customers will likely return, seeing your business as a cultural hub.
Attracting new and repeat business to a pub or bar can be tricky. Snappmeal can make it so much easier, though. Allow us to manage your promotions and campaigns, and you’ll see a steady increase in footfall. Download our simple app today!