There’s a definite mindset and pathway for presenting successful promotions. It involves several aspects:
1. Defining your Goal
This is critical! What are your objectives? Do you want to increase sales on a night of the week that business is not what you would like it to be? Do you want, in general, to increase traffic for daytime, happy hour or night times? This is the first step that is needed for a successful promotion to begin evolving.
The bar business has always been challenging and competitive. In my 20 years as an owner/operator of bars, restaurants and nightclubs and my 20 years as promotional consultant, I have always looked for ways to increase traffic at a minimal cost for both my clients and myself.
Promotional events create more revenue not only for the business itself, but make all of your employees feel they can earn more. They will be more productive knowing that there’s something in it for them. Be sure they are aware that increasing your business increases their income as well, and is part of the ultimate goal of the promotion.
2. Getting Organized
Having a plan is crucial. I always tell my clients to sit down with management to get started planning an event, whether a theme night, introducing a new format, sporting event or a fun and crazy way to get your customers involved. After all, they do go out to have a good time! Your mindset should be, “What is going to create a fun-filled day or night for my customers, so that they’ll tell their friends to come out and party down?”
Put your plan down on paper, think it out and keep a record of what went on so that next time you have a blueprint of the event. The benefits of a promotion are many. It will give your employees something to talk about to your customers and a successful promotion will keep your venue’s name on everyone’s lips, both clients and workers alike. Word of mouth is the key to a successful promotion and top of mind awareness is the key to successful branding!
Let us just look at what day or days of the week we need to promote. I say you need a promotion for every day of the week, including theme nights, ladies nights, industry nights and karaoke just to mention a few. Besides the beverage specials and/or food specials, give customers a reason to come in as often as they can. Target a day or days of the week that you “need to kick it.” If Wednesday, Friday and Saturday are busy nights, well, I would start with Thursday that way you create “critical momentum” — four strong money days in a row. It diminishes your competition’s chance to move in on your action. Then you would go for Monday and then Tuesday and, eventually, own the entire week. This is just an example. Your days may be different, but you get my drift.
Make sure all areas of the promotion — and your establishment — are covered. Nothing makes me more upset than going to a business because of a great promotional concept only to find out that they are totally unprepared — not enough help, ran out of product, music not in sync with the event, the business is not clean inside and out, restrooms are a disaster and so on. All this preparation and no follow through? It doesn't make sense. Just like a sports team going to playoffs, the onus falls on the coach to have the team ready for action and pumped to deliver.
Getting the Results
Your promotional partners are key players in insuring your program yields results. Choose your partners wisely and look for those that offer something of real and unique value to your customer. Look for vendor partners that can assist you by ensuring that your promotions create the impact that you need. Our company, Vacation Adventures, for example, is a wholesale broker of vacation packages that include air and hotel to more than 15 desirable destinations, but you have to look beyond what the guest “gets” and consider what you “get.” We provide the prize for your promotion and assist you with POS: table tents, buttons, flyers and free promotional ideas. Make sure your partners deliver for the guest and for you.
If you can keep your beverage and food prices up and offer a great prize at a very low cost, it becomes a win-win for you and your customers.
Vito Finizio is Promotional Consultant to Vacation Adventures International, and can be reached at [email protected]