Innovative Promotions that Build Your Bottom Line
RMD Group partners Dave and Dan Ranzella and Michael Georopooulos are nightclub, bar and restaurant operators. That means unlike the vast majority of the marketing and advertising specialists, they actually have experience managing bars. That translates to real knowledge regarding promotions that work. When they discuss promotions they’re talking about actual promotions they’ve designed and implemented for their own bars, clubs and restaurants that can impact a venue’s bottom line.
“Once you’ve drilled down on all your costs, they are what they are. So the only way to really drive profitability is to drive sales and that’s what promotions are all about,” says Dan Ranzella.
Promotions are important in terms of differentiating a brand and venue from its competition, particularly in highly competitive areas. They are also critical for attracting new people to your bar and keep them coming back. Effective promotions also drive guests to spend both more time and more money in your venue. They also generate a buzz and get people to talk about your bar, particularly via social media.
“Go big and don’t be afraid to go big,” is Dave Ranzella’s advice.
He and his partners suggest being a venue of constant change. Don’t be afraid to run a successful promotion for several weeks. New marketing should accompany every new promotion, including new logos. Overhaul your entire venue using props, costumes for entertainers and themed uniforms for your staff. While any theme can be scaled up or down depending upon your venue’s size and budget, speak with your brand representatives to get money for props, decorations, uniforms and costumes. There’s no reason a prop can’t carry a logo for a specific brand, after all. Use your staff for theme installs, from barbacks to waitresses. This can motivate them to really hit your new promotion through social media and promote it for you. When it comes to the parties themselves, generate a huge buzz around the promotion’s launch and have it culminate in a big blowout final party. Any items from the promotion that can be used again should be stored until they’re needed.
While RMD Group gears their upselling towards champagne, such tactics can be scaled to fit beer, spirits or any other special items you offer your guests. Look at your venue’s overall theme and branding to come up with creative carriers for special items. A champagne carrier, for instance, can be built to resemble a disco ball or bird cage. If you’d like for your waitresses to bring item to guests in a truly special way, find or create chariots security and barbacks can carry. Have the waitress ride in the chariot, bringing a bottle of champagne, specialty spirit, etc. to the guest who has made the purchase.
Chariots can also be used for guests. All venues have their VIPs. You need to identify them and make them feel special when the spend money at your bar. For birthdays or other special events, carry a VIP to their table in a chariot. Buy a throne and have them sit or stand on it. Utilize confetti blasts for VIP guests. The blasts don’t need to be used only for special events; you should use them when a target dollar amount is spent by a VIP. A lightshow is also a great way to make guests feel special. Should they spend a specific amount of money, kill all the lights in the venue except for a spotlight on their table. Another great way to make a VIP feel special during a birthday or special event is bringing them a personalized cake. When an RMD Group venue VIP is being given special treatment during a specific promotion, they make flyers with that guest featured on them.
But how do you make money on your off-peak nights and build local loyalty? First of all, if you have a staff, you have promoters. So, start there: hire the best staff that you can, using effective recruiting tactics, hiring practices and training. Next, consider how you approach industry nights. You can partner up with a non-competitive venue, choose separate industry nights for promotions and promote for each other. In keeping with that strategy, you can bring in other venues’ bartenders – allowing them to wear their branded gear and promote their bar – to tend bar at your place. Contests, discounts and referral programs will also help you to survive off-peak nights. Finally, consider partnering with local businesses outside of the industry to promote yourself and them. Mutually beneficial promotions can be a truly powerful tool.
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