While the New Year holiday is a perfect time for resolutions, it’s also a time to reflect on the previous year. Bar and nightclub owners are no exception to this as they evaluate what promotions worked, what ones didn’t and what they can do to improve on their marketing and promotions strategies for the year ahead.
“The bar business is tough, and there’s always new competition entering the market,” explains Frank Schultz, owner/CEO of Tavern Hospitality Group. For 2014, Schutlz knows that to keep guests loyal and interested, it goes beyond continuing what works but adding new elements. So, what other resolutions are bar and nightclub owners hoping to implement?
1. Push the envelope. Offering guests “something that they may not be able to receive elsewhere,” is always on top of Schultz’s resolution list. “For instance, you could probably call me a techno-geek — I love cutting-edge technology. I hope to create some new features to incorporate at all our locations as well as improve upon those that we already have,” he says.
2. More surprises. Fluxx nightclub in San Diego is known for its fluctuating themes that change every quarter. Next year, “we have some exciting things already in the works for 2014, and we hope to continue to surprise our guests with the size and detail of our changing themes,” says Dave Renzella, partner and co-founder of Fluxx parent company RMD Group.
3. Elevate successful programs. “Our goal is to continue to bring a sought-after party scene to downtown San Diego for our regulars and visitors,” explains Mike Georgopoulos, co-founder of RMD Group, says of San Diego nightclub Side Bar. That means focusing on Side Bar’s successful Industry Night on Wednesdays. “We want to remain an industry favorite in 2014 and beyond,” he adds. In addition, Georgopoulos said Side Bar spent 2013 elevating its bar program by offering craft cocktails. “We plan to continue this in 2014 with some new creations and unique bottle service ideas,” he says.
4. Connecting with the community. The Grid Owners Jeff Krogh and Steve Tavoso reopened the upstairs of the restaurant to provide an intimate, relaxed space for its loyal neighborhood clientele. “In the coming year, we hope to continue to focus on the quality of the food, make service more stellar than it has ever been and create events that lend themselves to local business and the interests of our customers,” Krogh says.
5. Serve more than one audience. Attic, a nightclub in Chicago, redesigned its upstairs club “in hopes of giving Chicago a space for multiple entertainment options,” says Kyle Badgley, owner of American Junkie and Attic. “In the coming year, we will continue to focus on the highest quality food, make our service exceptional, and create corporate and special events that lend themselves well to local business and the interests of our customers.”
6. Utilize talent. Addiction Nightclub had an amazing year in 2013, explains Adrian Jennison, director of nightlife at The Modern Honolulu. After celebrating its second anniversary, Addiction continues to get better with age, he says. Looking ahead, Jennison plans on bringing in more DJs from all over the world as well as looking into “unique concepts” to keep things innovative.
7. Come around to social media. Mike Jannusch said 2014 is the year that he steps up the social media strategy at Sedgwick's. For example, he hired a public-relations company to help create more of a presence and tracking information on Facebook and Twitter. “It’s one of our goals to build that base up to getting more views and tracking that information and following up on it,” he says. Although Jannusch is using social media, he wants to use it more efficiently in order to see "if the effort we’re putting in is actually doing something,” he adds.
8. Be sustainable. Leigh Maida, owner of four bars in the Philadelphia area wants to spend more time helping the environment. Her plan for 2014 involves composting more, growing more food in the backyard gardens and working with a food-share program to “get leftovers into hungry hands that can use them,” she says.