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Profitable Promotions

Sizzling Summer Promotions

June 24, 2014 By: Kristen Santoro


With the summer solstice this past weekend, now is the perfect time for bar owners to reevaluate their offerings and refresh their promotions.

Your promotions should revolve around your enticing patio, knowledgeable bartenders and well-trained staff.

Summer Patio Promotion
Patio at Senor Frog's Las Vegas

“Consumers tell us that bartenders and server suggestions are the highest motivator to try something new,” says Mark Vidano, Vice President of Premier Accounts for MarkeTeam, Inc., “and their suggestions are probably the most under-utilized selling or promotional tool.”

That being said, you need to have something that the bartenders and servers can get “in front of” your guests, something that entices them to change their habits.

The second most powerful tool that a concept has is drink photography. “People eat and drink with their eyes,” explains Vidano. “A great looking drink and nice garnish can go a long way in increasing sales.”  He suggests having a server take a couple of drinks out on a tray if you don’t want to use table tents. It’s almost guaranteed that someone will ask what the drink was and order it on the spot.

Don't forget that you can also “launch” a drink to your fans through Facebook, Twitter and loyalty emails. “Have an “opening day” where the drink is on special during Happy Hour, continued Vidano. “Now you're promoting two things, Happy Hour and a new drink.”

Guests, especially loyal guests, like to feel special. If you're pushing out promotions to people that like you, then give them a reason to share or come in for an extra visit. “Maybe on the launch night of Taco Tuesday your fans get free tacos,” suggests Vidano. “While free food costs you money, it's a lot less than running a radio spot and you have an opportunity to make some of your costs back on beverage.” 

Want some more easy to implement summer promotions that can kick start the season? Here are three examples to get your wheels rolling:

Margarita Mondays – Ongoing summer promotions that happen on Mondays gives you an opportunity to ‘“carry the crowd’ into Monday Night Football,” says Vidano. If you start the promotion in June you can carry it right into August when NFL pre-season starts.

Margaritas also still dominate the cocktail category, so it's easy for people to “get” and is appealing to a wide audience. Make sure to incorporate new flavors of Margaritas or a different presentation like pitchers of Margaritas. 

Summer Happy Hour – Taking Happy Hour to a New Degree! “During the summer, price some of your Happy Hour specials around how hot it is outside,” explains Vidano.  “Price certain drinks according to the temperature outside” (i.e. 101 degrees outside, select drinks are only $1.01. If it's 98 degrees the drinks are only 98¢). Too steep? How about ‘Taking Happy Hour to a New Degree x2’ (i.e. twice the price of the temperature).

Patio Party – Its summer and people want to be outside. “Make it more of a party by adding some colored lights, set up the grill and a Margarita/beer station, crank up the music and capture some late night sales,” says Vidano. If your kitchen normally closes at 11pm then start the BBQ up at around 10pm and keep it going until close. 


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