One of the best restaurant operators I worked with emphasized the importance of building every day outside of the consistent Friday and Saturday night crowds, where most of our money was coming from. This was because the room was full on Fridays and Saturdays, and there was very little we could do to add to it.
So, where would we make the next jump?
He insisted we would achieve this by building every day from Sunday to Thursday. But what is an operator to do when there are no special holidays or sporting events that happen during those days? Here are four ideas for events you can use to create short term sales bursts that will make your month a whole lot more profitable.
1. Customer Appreciation Party
Every business can host an event on a quarterly, semi-annual or annual basis to show appreciation to the regular customers who patronize their establishment. To get people in the door, you’ll need to provide incentives that make it different than a regular night. Incentives may include free food, discounted drinks, or special entertainment.
To keep your costs low, follow the patented Kevin Tam strategy for throwing events: hit up your vendors for free stuff, and get them to pay for as much as they possibly can.
In exchange for this, you’ll provide them with brand name advertising on your promotional materials and give them a platform to promote their products to your guests. Now you have cheap booze and entertainment for your customer appreciation party.
2. Liquidation Sale
Every bar and restaurant has dead stock that is just sitting around collecting dust. Small bumps of revenue can be created by liquidating this stock to employees and guests.
Once a year, Willow Park liquidates a ton of stuff from their warehouse and people literally line up for the opportunity to buy cases of wine for $80; 24 packs of beer for $25; and 1140ml bottles of spirits for $20. This strategy can be applied to every business that has products that are not selling and taking up space. Dead stock must go!
3. “One-off” Events
Bar and restaurant operators can easily add 5 to 10 events each year by making a big deal out of things like employee birthdays, milestone celebrations, and even invite-only parties like the Jameson Bartender's Ball.
These events don’t need to make sense, as the fun and silliness of it all can add to the appeal of the event. Any occasion can be made to be a special occasion – it’s up to you to create and promote it!
Fundraising events for charitable causes or sports teams are a great way to add a busy night to an evening that might otherwise have nothing going on.
The great thing about fundraisers is that the people who throw these parties are basically promoters, and will work their butts off to get people in the door to benefit their cause. That’s less work on your shoulders.