A long weekend is a good way to capitalize on an extra day of partying and profits. However, even a three-day weekend such as Memorial Day won’t work unless owners and operators are successfully marketing a promotion that makes them stand out among myriad bars, clubs and restaurants also taking advantage of the holiday. Memorial Day weekend is rife with benefits for bar owners looking to attract those holiday travelers as well as a good reason to honor our veterans. The team at Patrick Henry Creative Promotions (PHCP), a Houston, Texas-based full-service beverage-marketing agency, offers five tips to hosting a Memorial Day promotion without a hitch.
1) Create a summer-long initiative. “Memorial Day, like Labor Day, are traditional American holidays that bookend the summer in a great way,” explains the team at PHCP. This presents a good opportunity to run a longer seasonal promotion, using Memorial Day as a kick off and wrapping things up on Labor Day weekend in September, the team advised. Most Americans have Memorial Day off, allowing one more night out during the weekend. “Find a way to make your outlet be the place to be. Feature live music, donate all proceeds from any cover or door charges to veteran or military charities and make every red, white or blue cocktail super premium for just $2 more,” PHCP explains.
2) Know your limits. Look at three-day weekends as opportunities for “incremental revenue. However, Memorial Day is a unique exception.” PHCP’s team reminds that Memorial Day is not only graduation weekend for many colleges and universities but also the unofficial kick-off to summer. Though these provide ample opportunities to attract larger crowds that doesn’t mean there’s always an inherent benefit. “Unless your outlet is in a ‘destination’ or located by a nearby university or college, it might not be in your best interest to invest too much time or money on this particular occasion.”
3) Honor the troops. Although a Memorial Day promotion is a smart business move, owners and operators shouldn’t forget what the day is really about. “Memorial Day is literally about remembering and honoring our nation’s veterans,” PHCP says. “Find a way to celebrate and honor them by offering active or veteran military personnel a complimentary entrée or meal.” PHCP suggests working with a local or national military charity and raising money to give back while honoring military men and women. “Allow guests to remember loved ones by signing a giant banner in honor of family members who served or donate to a cause in their name.”
4) Weight the costs and benefits. Not every holiday weekend will positively affect the same bottom-line goals. With any promotion, it’s smart to weigh the benefits against the drawbacks. “It doesn’t make sense for everyone,” says the PHCP team. Always look at the return-on-investment opportunities. If you see a spike or increase in sales, then the promotion is a good idea. “If you are not a weekend destination and don’t have an outside area that accommodates guests, consider hosting a longer-term summer promotion or (limited-time offer) with a patriotic charity tie in,” PHCP says.
5) Create value. “Go American!” PHCP says. “Celebrate the red, white and blue!" Remember red, white and blue colors pervade the holiday weekend, and they also can add to a variety of cocktails and garnishes, making drinks more enticing. PHCP suggests Strawberry Mojitos, a Blueberry Gin Smash, white sangria, etc. Don’t, PHCP warns, discount too much on your summer drinks. “Volume is driven by quality and experience; volume is found in many places besides a discounted product,” the team adds.