Information is Power – Part IIIAugust 6, 2009 By: Bryan Bass
Over the last few weeks we have released important statistics from Nightclub & Bar’s recent national nightclub and bar consumer survey because we know that as patrons continue to count their nickels and dimes, it becomes that much more important for operators to have a finger on their customers’ pulses. In the last two reports on the results of the survey, which was conducted online by Next-Level Marketing, we looked at consumers’ spending trends and how much they are going out. With this installment, we’ll examine consumer feedback on what kind of promotions they find most informative and attractive.
With numbers suggesting the drink menu still is extremely important and nightclub guests open to trying new drinks and brands, let’s take a closer look at how customers are interacting with those specialty drink menus. First off, 90 percent of nightclub respondents said they read drink menus and another 55 percent want those menus easily accessible rather than being delivered by a staff member, even if it is accompanied by a more accurate description of the house specials or promotions. Fifty-seven percent prefer the menu to be stand-alone.
Because we know they are looking at the menus, what is most important and what are they looking for? Eighty-one percent of both total on-premise guests and nightclub patrons answered fairly obviously: They want to see the price. Additionally, 68 percent want a description and 50 percent are even looking for a picture. That was somewhat surprising, especially considering only 40 percent want to see the brand names in the description and another 19 percent would be fine with just the brands’ logos. As for what beverages customers expect to see on the menu, they would prefer five-10 wines, five-15 beer selections and 10-15 cocktails.
It should be no surprise that 88 percent of nightclub respondents (85 percent total) agreed a cocktail made from premium brands tastes better than those made with house brands, 81 percent (78 percent total on-premise) prefer branded wines versus house wines and 72 percent (73 percent total on-premise) choose premium, crafted beers versus mass-produced domestics. Additionally, those respondents don’t mind paying extra for the upgrade. Those same nightclub respondents also said they would pay an average of $2.78 extra for the cocktail bump, $2.21 for the wine bump and $1.42 for the beer bump. More than one-third of nightclub consumers (38 percent) said if their server recommended the upgrade, they probably would try it versus only 3 percent who said they would “be upset about the suggestion.” So get your people on the floor and selling!
The last section we will cover refers to promotions and what has been successful in getting people through the door. There shouldn’t be many surprises here because operators already know people love getting free drinks or big time bang for their buck. But here it is spelled out: 87 percent would turn out for half-priced drinks, 84 percent are looking for buy one, get one specials, 82 percent would support venues that offer everyday low prices and 74 percent are looking for larger drinks for the same price. Further, 72 percent are fans of the buy one, get the second at half price-type promotions, 67 percent use customer loyalty programs, 37 percent are looking for bottle service promotions and 34 percent are totally fine with smaller-sized drinks, as long as they are paying less for them.
In our next column, we will take a more in-depth look at the spirits category itself to see what products are selling and what flavor profiles are deader than a dodo. Just remember, if you’re not reading this, your competitor probably is!