45 Bar Specials to Bring in Customers

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Competition in the bar industry is growing as the younger population begins to visit bars and go out at night. Many establishments are also becoming family-friendly and offering more exciting bar specials and activities. As well as your bar may be doing, it’s important to keep up with trends and continually look for improvement opportunities. Explore how you can promote your bar and boost your sales with these intriguing bar entertainment ideas. 

How to Make Your Bar Stand Out

In this day and age, when customers’ expectations are increasingly high, attention spans are low, and they have tons of other restaurants and bars to choose from, it is crucial to stand out among the rest by using effective marketing and promotional strategies. Customers tend to go for the bar that will create a memorable experience for them, whether it’s a food/drink special, a creative event, or a unique atmosphere. 

When addressing how you can attract more customers to your bar and have fewer slow nights, take into consideration how you can make the environment more unique and memorable. You want to have that wow factor that’s going to keep customers coming back for more.

Explore 45 innovative bar promotion ideas to attract customers and create a memorable experience, such as incorporating self-pour beer and beverage walls, providing gaming tablets for all ages, and hosting unique events like trivia nights and charity fundraisers. These strategies will help your bar stand out and increase sales while building a loyal customer base. 

01-How-to-Make-Your-Bar-Stand-Out

Technology

When making notable changes to your bar to distinguish your business from others, it is important to incorporate technology. Using tablets or a self-serve beverage system is a fantastic way to show your brand is up to date with modern technology. As bars and restaurants strive to become more modern, you will want to adapt your technology to keep up with consumer preferences.

1. Gaming Tablets

Having tablets available for children is a sure-fire way to make your establishment suitable for various age groups. Tablets will provide entertainment for customers’ children and make your business fun and friendly for all ages. Placing tablets on the tables where kids can play games as they wait for their meals helps your restaurant stand out.

PourMyBeer Tip: Make sure you wipe tablets down with restaurant-grade disinfectants between guests to stop the spread of germs.

2. Self-Pour Beer and Beverage Walls

Self-pour technology has become a revolutionary and unique way of serving drinks. Customers do not have to flag down the server if they want a beverage anymore. They can make a quick and easy trip to the beverage wall in a matter of minutes!

When customers first come in, they will be issued an RFID card upon checking their ID. They can run a tab by linking their credit card or pre-load a dollar amount. Once the RFID card is tapped to the card reader above the desired tap, the system recognizes the card and grants access. Your customer will then be able to start pouring to their heart’s desire!

In a family-friendly environment, such as Dave and Busters and Buffalo Wild Wings, self-pour provides adults with some fun of their own! Customers enjoy their newfound freedom to responsibly sample and refill at their leisure, which means more time for them to socialize!

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3. Photo Booths for Everyone to Enjoy

There is no better way to capture memories than by taking photos, which is why a photo booth is a perfect addition for everyone to enjoy. Photo booths enhance your customer experience and bring in additional profit. With fun filters and backgrounds people can use on their photos, this simple addition to your restaurant will make a lasting impression on diners and leave them with a souvenir reminding them of their new favorite spot. Families, couples and friends will all love it.

PourMyBeer Tip: Create a collage for any photo booth pictures left behind for customers to look at. 

4. QR Codes

If you experience days with large crowds and long lines, accommodate your customers by putting QR codes on every table, pillar, and easy-to-spot surface. QR codes are an efficient way to prevent customers from waiting their turn to order. Customers simply need to scan the code with their phone, allowing them to access the menu and order without the long wait.

This tech-savvy solution is cost-effective and a small addition to your bar that goes a long way. QR codes also benefit your staff because they can easily keep track of orders and avoid running from table to table to take orders.

5. Digital Point-of-Sale (POS) Integration

If you want to further cut down your customers’ waiting time, an automated POS system could help you increase customer satisfaction. These systems automate and complete transactions through digital self-ordering and delivery tracking and management. Additionally, POS integration will help you improve accuracy and business reporting. 

Bar and Taproom Games

Bar games always make any occasion more fun and exciting, especially when they bring a little friendly competition to your venue! Your customers may be out with friends, family, or colleagues and having games such as Jenga, darts, and pool available to keep them busy, giving them a reason to stay longer and set your establishment apart from others.

6. Popular Bar Games

Let’s start with the most popular bar games that get customers excited, from nostalgic games for millennials to drinking games that any alcohol-drinking visitor would enjoy:

  • Jenga: Wondering how to promote drinks in a fun way? Try using either a standard Jenga game or one specifically for drinking to make things more interesting. You can also get a giant Jenga game for extra fun.
  • Self-pour games: At your self-pour venue, encourage games, such as flavor identification, to promote your beverage wall and offer a unique selling point to your establishment. Ask customers to identify the beer and the flavor.
  • Darts: Darts is a classic bar game, and with a dartboard, you can hold mini-tournaments and create some fun competition amongst patrons. To make safety a priority, ensure you use magnetic darts at your establishment. 

7. Arcade Games

If you have the space for a few arcade games, incorporate some old-school options to attract new patrons. You can also bring in more revenue when guests have to pay per game. Here are some options: 

  • Skee ball: Skee ball makes a great addition to your bar. Everyone loves it! You don’t have to be good to pay due to its nature of being one of the first redemption games. It’ll add to the customer experience and keep them around longer, but it will also bring you an additional profit! 
  • Pinball: This game is one that many can enjoy, helping you bring various generations together. You can even choose different designs, whether they match your bar style or depict a cartoon or movie. 
  • Air hockey: Have your customers test their speed and dexterity after a few drinks with this exciting and energetic game.

8. Group Challenges

Another excellent way to attract more consumers is by promoting activities that encourage bonding and memorable experiences. Here are some team games that will spark laughter and friendly rivalries:

  • Cornhole: Every so often, maybe once per week, bring out the boards and bean bags to entertain guests with this casual game. You’ll attract a steady stream of regulars on those special evenings. 
  • Charades: Provide your visitors with charade cards and encourage them to play this timeless game. The laughter that ensues will surely persuade passersby to join in on the fun. 
  • Heads Up: In this popular online game, one player holds their phone against their forehead while their friends provide clues about the words on the screen. 

9. Table Games

If you have the space, get your customers up and moving by adding a few table games. These unique additions can create a sense of community and create a valuable hangout spot for those who live in the area. 

  • Shuffleboard: Shuffleboard, another classic! Players push pucks down a long wooden table and score points depending on where they land. By adding a shuffleboard, you’ll create more options for people to play, which will keep them in your establishment longer. 
  • Pool: By adding a pool table to your restaurant, brewery, or taproom, you can immediately enhance the environment and give your establishment a distinctive tone and personality. 
  • Pingpong: This fast-paced game tests players’ reflexes and makes for an especially fun activity after a few drinks. 

Events

Special events are the perfect opportunity to pack your bar and bring your regulars back in or even attract new customers. Think about who you are trying to target with each event. Many bars and restaurants have happy hour events or weekly event nights that bring in a crowd. Events make for an amazing evening with lots of fun for your customers and profit for you. Hosting these special events can bring customers back in more frequently, creating loyal customers.

10. Live Music

If you have a stage platform or the space to add one, you have an opportunity to incorporate live music into your establishment. This fantastic bar entertainment idea offers an excellent way to promote your bar and draw crowds from outside. Here are some ideas:

  • Performers: Having live music at your venue will help bring customers through your doors. Many people love having entertainment while they dine to make for a more relaxing and enjoyable experience. Once a week, you can hire a band or singer to perform a specific genre of music that people will love to listen to, especially in the evening. Make sure that the music goes along with the style of your restaurant or bar so you can better attract your target audience. 
  • Karaoke nights: Another way to bring in a crowd is through a scheduled karaoke night. Karaoke is a fan-favorite event that allows customers to hang out with their friends or family while acting as silly as they want. It’s also an effective stress reliever after a busy workday, a stressful schooldays, or a long period of boredom. Plus, karaoke is just as fun for those watching as it is for those participating. 

11. Open Mic Night

Open mic nights allow customers to perform their favorite forms of entertainment, such as comedy and poetry. Open mic is a way for patrons to openly share their art in an inclusive and welcoming environment, which will make them want to come back time after time. Plus, everyone loves dinner and a show!

12. Trivia Night

Trivia is always a good time, and making a night out of it allows for some friendly competition in your establishment. Friends and family will get into groups to try and answer as much trivia as they can, all while sharing laughs and making some good memories. Offer prizes for the top three winning groups. A good prize is giving out gift cards to your restaurant because these will draw customers back.

PourMyBeer Tip: Post about your trivia night on your social media channels to get the buzz out. 

13. Holiday Events

There’s no better way to celebrate the holidays than with friends and family gathered together under one roof, chatting over some good drinks. You can host holiday events throughout the year to bring together customers, whether it’s for Halloween, Christmas, New Year, or Easter brunch. 

14. Charity Fundraisers

When you host charity events at your establishment, you get to present your brand to others and show you are a business that cares! It is a great way to get your name out while also doing some good for your community, which is the most rewarding part.

15. Viewing Parties

Viewing parties get large numbers of people into your establishment. Think of the top trending shows that air new episodes weekly, like “The Bachelor.” By hosting a viewing party on Monday nights for Bachelor Nation, you’ll get a steady number of customers coming in each week. Theme your food/drink specials with the featured show, and encourage patrons to dress up and get into the spirit of things.

16. Paint Nights

Everyone loves a good paint night, especially when friends and booze are involved. Customers don’t have to be good at painting to attend a paint night. They just have to show up and do their best. Make sure to provide all the items needed for a paint night: canvases, paint, paintbrushes, and beer! Paint nights are an awesome way to bring in additional profit. Charge customers a fee at the beginning of the night to ensure all the supplies they will be using are covered. 

17. Speed Dating

One of the most iconic ways to attract more customers involves speed dating events. These give visitors a break from blind dates and mindlessly swiping right. Set up your tables in a way that allows guests to rotate from seat to seat at least one day per month, and provide them with sample questions and drinks. 

18. Food Tasting

Constantly wow your visitors with new and unique dishes that you have yet to add to your menu. Allow your cooks to experiment with new flavors and ingredients every now and then to get customers excited for one-time-only dishes. You can also gain insight into possible new dishes you could add to the menu. 

Special Touches

To bring in AND retain customers at your restaurant or bar, you should think about how you can go the extra mile to make your business stand out from the crowd. You will want to do all you can to make your customers fall in love with your establishment. You need unexpected touches to make your guests feel welcome and make your restaurant or bar memorable.

19. Fresh Flowers

Using fresh flowers will give your environment a lively and brightened aesthetic that will tie the room together and add a touch of personality. Use flowers that go along with your color scheme and style, as you wouldn’t want to put red roses in a sports bar.

20. Hooks to Hold Bags

Figuring out where to put one’s bag at a restaurant can sometimes be a struggle. It doesn’t go on the table, it’s uncomfortable and annoying to keep on your lap or behind your back, and it may not necessarily be safe under your chair. For these reasons, hooks on tables and bars for bags will be useful for many customers, especially since no one wants to put their expensive handbag on the floor.

21. Interesting and Clever Bar Menu

As a business owner, you must distinguish your brand, and in doing so, you should opt for interesting-looking dishes and pottery, such as unique plates, bowls and glasses. This way, your plates of food will stand out, and the meal will look pretty, so people are more likely to take pictures and post them on social media. Free advertising right there! You can find what you are looking for at many home furnishing and wholesale restaurant stores.

22. Designated Driver Program

With a designated driver program, you can show your community that you care for their well-being and appreciate their business. Many bars offer free Uber or Lyft when patrons have no way of making it home, as they want to make sure customers are not picking up the keys when they have had too much to drink. Along with this program, some bars also offer free Uber or Lyft rides to help women who may be in an uncomfortable situation, like a date gone wrong.

23. After Dinner Treat: A Complimentary Dessert

A piece of Belgian chocolate — or ideally, something small made in-house — can go a long way to make you stand out with your reviews. Having a good dessert variety is another great revenue stream, as customers won’t feel the need to go elsewhere for an after-dinner treat. 

Offering a complimentary dessert can go a long way if you know that your guest is celebrating a special event. Surprise them with a free dessert. It can make them feel special, as they should!

PourMyBeer Tip: If applicable to your business, use a different color mug for regular versus decaf coffee to make it easier for your staff when running refills.

24. Coasters

Coasters can help market your business and present your brand to customers. You can include the name and all your business’s information, even the story of how your business came to be. A unique coaster can stand out — some people even like collecting them!

25. Sunglasses

If you have an outside patio, you may want to offer inexpensive sunglasses — branded, of course! If your guests end up leaving with the glasses on, they got a little present, and you got your branding advertised all over town.

26. Souvenirs

If your business offers merchandise such as T-shirts, glass pints, keychains, or stickers, it will be a lot more memorable for those paying a visit. People love collecting T-shirts from their favorite spots to remember their trips and to show support for their favorite businesses. With souvenirs and branded merchandise, your business will stay at the top of their minds.

PourMyBeer Tip: Give your cute merch more visibility by having your staff show it off by wearing it. Also, have posters about it in the bathrooms and other appropriate areas. Sometimes, table tents promoting the merch are a great idea, too!

27. Candles

Candles on the table will give your establishment a cozy and comforting vibe, whether you choose to go with electric or wax tea lights. They will enhance the atmosphere of your space, especially if you are focusing on making it romantic or intimate. 

28. Complimentary Water

Another way to show your customers that you care is by offering complimentary bottled water or water tanks with cups for customers to refill. However, this is more practical if your business is a bar where customers will be drinking. It’s a good way to ensure that your customers aren’t overdoing it and staying hydrated, especially during those hot summer months.

29. Buckets of Ice for Sodas and Beers

If you are serving a group of people and they are opting for bottled beers rather than draft, you can make their visit more pleasant by providing a bucket with ice for them so they can keep their drinks cold throughout their dining experience. 

30. Staff Names and Their Stories on the Menus

If you have employees who have worked with you for years, highlight them and make them feel special. Many customers like to know who is serving them, and it can make for a pleasant interaction between them and their server. 

31. Displays for Upcoming Specials and Promotions

By having cards or a special board promoting upcoming events and food or drink specials at your establishment, you can influence their decision to come back soon. They can see what you have in store for your business and decide which days they may want to come to visit. Whether there’s a special for Taco Tuesday or Wine Wednesday, customers can plan their week accordingly. 

32. Mug Club

If you sell beer on draft, whether it is from self-serve or traditional taps, promoting a “Mug Club” is a great way to make the beer-loving customers come back for more. All they have to do is pay a fee, and then members can get discounts for their favorite beers, enjoy exclusive member-only offers and more. You have the freedom to add your creativity and make this club what you want it to be. 

33. Calculator With the Check

Offering a calculator with the customer’s check makes it simpler for them to split bills and calculate tips. It is just a little token of your appreciation for their business and will make things easier for them. 

34. Special Names for Menu Items

One way to encourage your customers to visit your establishment more often is by offering personalized menu items named after the regulars. This is a creative way to tie your guests to your restaurant. It can also be beneficial to name either your establishment or specific menu items after a college or high school that is in your community. This will certainly popularize that menu item.

PourMyBeer Tip: If you have sports teams or clubs that hang out at your establishment, name a style of pizza or cocktail after them. This will show them how much you appreciate their business.

35. Growler Program

Your guests are ready to go home, but they are not done — they want the fun to continue! With a well-executed growler program, you can bring in additional revenue from customers looking to take the party home. Get creative with this idea. Create an intriguing name, vamp up your advertising, get customized growlers, and be sure to ask every guest before they leave if they would like to take home a delicious beer they drank tonight in a growler. This unique differentiator will be sure to get guests running back through the door, whether that is to dine in or stop by, grab some takeout and get a growler to go.

36. Post-Workout Spot

The world is becoming more focused on physical fitness and mental health, and what better way to get customers into your establishment than to focus on these new trends? You can position your establishment as a yoga/fitness establishment, especially if you are near a fitness center. Have cubbies for customers to park their yoga mats or gym bags. Enforce that your establishment is a casual environment where guests can come dressed in their gym clothes after their workout. Offer healthy, high-protein, post-gym options to ensure your guests will love this new post-workout hangout location. Also, consider having menus to meet certain dietary needs, such as vegan, paleo or vegetarian. This will ensure there is something for everyone!

37. Loyalty Program

Running a loyalty program is a great way to keep customers coming back and gain new customers while increasing overall profits and sales. First and foremost, you’ll need to come up with a good name for the program. Then, you’ll need to figure out what kind of rewards you want to offer and what actions from customers you want to reward. You’ll want to make sure these rewards are valuable to customers. A couple of options are free merch with your logo on it or free food/drink of their choice the next time they come in. 

38. Soundproofing and Audio Improvements

If your bar gets so loud that you get complaints from nearby establishments, try soundproofing your venue. You can install soundproofing panels on the ceiling and walls and even incorporate some rugs to reduce echoing issues. 

39. Dance Floor

Liven up your establishment by encouraging visitors to groove on the dance floor. You can create an upbeat atmosphere and let customers show off their dancing skills. You can also create a dance theme for different nights and add some matching music. Examples include salsa nights and ballroom dancing lessons. 

Family-Friendly Improvements

With there being more than 1.9 billion kids in the world, it may be a good idea to consider implementing a family-friendly mentality in your establishment. To position your establishment as family-friendly, there are some small tweaks you can apply to your business environment. You can also make your restaurant more pet-friendly for people who want to bring their fur babies!

40. Children's Seating Options

Suitable seating options are essential if you want to position your bar as family-friendly. You can provide highchairs on wheels for children so that they are easy to move. This allows parents to move their children around the table if they need to push them closer to the table or closer to them for any reason. Booster seats are also a valuable addition for older toddlers who are too big for highchairs yet too small to sit comfortably at the table with regular seats. 

41. Area for New Mothers

There can also be a separate area for nursing in a backroom or a family restroom. This can be a fantastic thing for mothers so that they don’t have to feel uncomfortable or leave the establishment to nurse. A changing table in the restroom can also be a lifesaver for mothers who need to change their children’s diapers. You may also leave a sign to let parents know the table meets safety standards and is sturdy. 

42. Kids Menu and Silverware

As a family-friendly restaurant, you can also offer kid-sized and styled glassware as well as silverware to make eating more fun for smaller children. Many restaurants offer kids menus with a smaller portioned meal and an included drink and dessert. The drink will sometimes come in a reusable plastic cup with a fun straw. Kids can bring home this souvenir, and it will keep your restaurant in mind!

43. Kid-Friendly Souvenirs

Another souvenir idea for children to take home works if you have a gift shop or branded merchandise. Offer some fun stuffed animals with your logo, or create a stuffed animal based on your mascot. The stuffed animal will remind your child of your place and make them want to go back. Lastly, free balloons always make for some kid-friendly fun. Make sure to have your logo put on them, and when the child leaves your establishment, people outside will see your restaurant name. More inexpensive advertising!

44. Area for Kids to Play

Creating a safe environment for kids to play freely is a great idea if you are thinking about presenting your establishment as family-friendly. It puts parents at ease, allowing them to enjoy themselves without having to worry, and it puts your mind at ease as well. You won’t have to worry about kids running around and disrupting other guests’ experiences. 

An area for kids could mean installing a playground outside if you have the space or a kid’s corner inside with board games and toys. Kids will love that they have their own area to hang out in and make new friends.

45. Dog-Friendly

Just about half of the population has dogs, so what better way to increase foot traffic than to make your establishment dog-friendly? If you are located near a dog park, this one’s for you. Consumers love to get out, but having the stress of your poor dog sitting at home alone will shorten their time out on the town.

Give owners the option to enjoy the night out without the concern of having to go home to take the dog out and feed them. This will increase the time customers spend at your establishment, which will result in higher sales. Create a dog-friendly menu and offer treats and bowls of water so the pup can enjoy themselves just as much as their owner. Who wouldn’t want to be surrounded by cute little fluff balls all night? 

Promoting Your Bar Specials

Take steps to spread information about deals at your bar or restaurant to potential customers so that they can take advantage of them. Consider some of the tips below to help you promote your bar specials. 

Social Media Campaigns

Promoting your bar through social media sites like Facebook and Instagram is immensely popular and offers direct pathways to your customers. You should routinely post pictures and videos, respond to comments, and engage with followers to create meaningful lines of communication. You can share daily specials, repost customer photos or introduce your staff via live streams. Many social media platforms allow specific targeting, allowing you to reach the specific demographic you want to appeal to. 

Online Contests and Giveaways

While using social media, you should consider running an online contest or giveaway. These events can expand your reach and attract more customers to your brand. You can use contests to entice users to like, comment, tag friends and share posts to win a prize, which could be gift cards, T-shirts or free dinner and drinks.

Online Advertising and Marketing

Optimizing your online presence with an advertising strategy will make finding your restaurant or bar easier for customers. Many restaurants will launch a website and start a blog to climb the search engine results pages and display their expertise. Once you know your goals and target audience, however, you can choose from a handful of other strategies, including pay-per-click advertising, Google Ads, email newsletters, and search engine optimization. 

Online Ordering and Delivery Services

Customers often favor restaurants that offer online ordering and delivery services. These features allow them to remain in the comfort of their homes while they enjoy meals that they could previously only get in a sit-down setting. 

These additions are also good for your business. They redirect the time spent taking orders by phone to creating high-quality dishes and tending to customers within your establishment. Offer discounts for those who order online and promote these services any way you can, such as on signs, receipts, your website, and coupons.

Mobile Loyalty and Rewards Apps

The plastic cards traditionally used for rewards programs can be cumbersome and easy to lose. Instead, replace them with mobile rewards apps to simplify the customer’s experience. Creating a mobile app for your restaurant or bar will allow you to reach customers around the clock. This method also lets you provide personalized messaging and news, special offers, coupons, and promotions.

Digital Signage and Menus

Digital screens offer more utility than you may think. With a smart TV, USB, and some attractive images, menu designs, and videos, you can transform your customer’s experience within your bar. Including digital signage will grab your guests’ attention and communicate crucial information regarding your meals, discounts, events, and so much more. 

Partnerships

Do you know any nearby businesses whose goals and services complement yours? Maybe you can form partnerships with them! For example, say your establishment is on the same street as a popular specialty bakery. You could form a partnership with them and sell an exclusive cookie in your bar. The bakery, then, can offer an exclusive canned beer from your bar that pairs perfectly with their famous pies. You’ll both reap benefits and increase your reach!

Liven Up Your Establishment With PourMyBeer

These bar specials offer excellent ways to bring in new customers and help maximize profitability and customer satisfaction. Our favorite suggestion is the self-pour beverage wall because it offers much more convenience than having to flag down a server or wait at the counter. What was your favorite bar entertainment idea? 

If you want to implement a self-serve beverage system, PourMyBeer has you covered. Our self-pour technology has helped businesses see a 50% increase in sales and has decreased labor costs by 20%. Whether your guests need cold brew coffee, beer, cocktails, or sparkling drinks, our technology can help. To promote your drinks in an engaging way, request a quote today and transform your beverage system. 

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