Marketing Archives | Sparkler City

Summer at a Bar

Enjoying a Profitable Summer at your Bar

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With summer upon us, putting together a game plan to maximize your revenues is vital for your bar or nightclub to have a profitable season. Potential customers are eager to enjoy their summer, so if you offer them what they want you can make huge profits in just a few short months. On the flipside, if you don’t entice your customer base, they will be just as content to stay home and drink in their backyard with friends. The key is to offer them something at your bar or nightclub that they can’t get anywhere else in town, and there are a few simple ways to accomplish that.

Get Your Staff Ready

Before you even consider trying to pull in more customers over the summer, you need to make sure your staff is set and ready to go. That means making sure you have enough bartenders and servers hired to accommodate any demand that may arise, as well as making sure that bar staff is properly trained. If you can have a complete staff of pros who know exactly what they are supposed to, your guests will stay longer and keep coming back to your bar which will lead to massively higher profits.

Plan Summertime Events

Events are the lifeblood to any successful summer marketing program for a bar or nightclub, so this is where much of your attention needs to be devoted in the months leading up to summer. You’re going to want to book a great variety of bands and come up with themed party nights such as beach attire or even a toga party. Make sure you book the most popular local bands in your area as soon as possible because they will get snatched up quickly for summer show. If you create events that are entertaining and make your customers feel like it is an exclusive experience, you can expect to see large profits follow.

Marketing

No matter how great your summertime event strategy is, it will be all for not if you can’t market it properly. You need to do all of the standard methods such as social media, your website, and even radio ads if you’re in a large enough market, but never underestimate the power of in-house marketing. By putting table tents of your next event on every table and having large banners boasting upcoming parties or bands, you will directly market to your best demographic of all: people who already want to come to your bar or nightclub.

Summer can be the most profitable season for a bar or nightclub, but if can also lead to a completely empty venue if you don’t know how to attract customers. It all starts with having a well-trained and competent staff that is ready to work, and everything else stems from there. Once you have a great staff in place, you can focus on putting together summertime entertainment and marketing it so your bar or nightclub packs out each night. If you can conquer those three factors, you can easily have a very profitable summer at your venue.

Bar Patio

Preparing Your Bar for Summer

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Summer is obviously one of the nicest times of year to be outside, and that can be a terrible thing in the bar industry. Over the summer months, more people decide to skip the bar altogether and do outdoor activities instead. Things like going to the beach, having a backyard barbeque, or sitting around a campfire takes precedence over bellying up to the bar, and that can impact your bottom line negatively. So what can you do to bring people into your bar during the summer months? Fortunately, there are a few tactics that will still bring out the crowds if you know what you’re doing. Here are a few ideas to consider.

Open a Patio Section

One of the biggest reasons that people skip the bar during the summer is that they want to sit outside and enjoy the weather. That’s really hard to do when sitting inside a stuffy bar where the smell of beer and patrons hangs in the air, so you need to offer them an area outside to sit and enjoy their beverages. If you don’t have a patio yet, you need to figure out a way to setup part of your bar outside. You don’t necessarily need an actual bar and bartender outside, just a place where people can sit and enjoy the weather while buying items form your establishment. If you already have a patio, you should consider having a large banner printed up to hang out in front of your bar so everyone walking and driving by knows that you have outdoor seating available for customers.

Tropical Cocktails

Whether you live in Florida or in Minnesota, summers get hot and humid. When the weather feels tropical outside, people like to transport themselves to a tropical destination; if only in their minds. By creating a selection of tropical drinks for your customers to enjoy and advertising them properly, you will draw in a crowd of people looking to take a “vacation” for a few hours. Ice cold tropical drinks are irresistible in the hot summer months, and when you couple that with their difficulty to make at home you have a recipe for success.

Live Music

One thing that brings in customers regardless of what season it happens to be is entertainment, and live music is the king of that realm. Not only will you get most of your regular customers interested in coming to see the band, but usually the band will bring a small following to your bar as well to boost business. If you have the space and it is allowed by your local laws, you should try to have your music outdoors whenever possible. Not only will this combine the live music with an outdoor experience that customers crave, but it is also great marketing because people in the surrounding areas will hear the music and come to your bar to check it out.

Summer may be a slow time for the bar industry, but with proper planning and marketing you can still run a successful business. If you can key-in on what customers are interested in doing during the summer months, preparing your bar for success will be a much easier process.

Guiding Customer Purchases

Guiding Your Customer’s Purchases Politely

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One of the best tools that your servers and bartenders have at their discretion is the power of persuasion. If your staff knows how to execute it right, they can guide your customers to making choices that they will enjoy more and will also yield you higher profits. However, if your staff is trained on how to do it politely, it can backfire and lead to a customer who feels under pressure from a pushy staff. Here are some techniques that can help you capitalize on persuasion while not turning off your customers.

Suggest Upgrades

The easiest way to add purchases to a sale is to offer higher quality items that are similar to their first choice. It can be a more expensive vintage of wine or a different drink altogether that you suspect they might really enjoy. This will make your customer’s experience much more enjoyable, and it will increase the size of their bill. Make sure to be helpful and friendly or you may come across as pushy. You need to know when your customer has fully made up their mind.

Handling Rejection

Much of the time, your customers will reject any type of suggestion because they already have their mind made up. However, sometimes they reject your suggestion because they simply aren’t interested in that particular up sale. If a customer criticizes your suggestion, that is a huge opening for you to offer something else based on the information they revealed. It’s a bit of an art form, but it pays off huge if you perfect it.

Add-Ons

Offering your guests add-ons is a great way to earn bigger purchases and improving the guest’s experience. For instance, if a customer orders a glass of Riesling, suggest a food item like brie cheese and crackers to accompany it. Wine and cheese go together wonderfully, and the additional sale will pad your bottom line as well.

Guide Their Eyes

If your customers are looking at a food or drink menu, you can easily draw their attention to certain areas that offer the largest margins. For instance, you could add a decorative border around your items with the highest profit margins and then point out something specific on that page. When their eyes look at the page, they will immediately be drawn to the items within the decorated area, and best of all your customers will think that they’ve come up with a decision all by themselves.

No matter how much you train and prepare your staff, there is always a learning curve to getting the skills of upselling correct. After all, it’s one part science, one part experience, and one part finesse, so it may take time to get right. But once you’ve mastered the tricks of the trade, guiding your customer’s purchases politely and discreetly will become second nature in your venue.

End of Summer Party

Hosting the Perfect “End of Summer” Party

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Whether you’re looking to throw a party at your nightclub on Labor Day weekend or you are planning something closer to the Autumnal Equinox, it can be a huge opportunity to capitalize one last time on the lucrative summer months. Not only do things start returning to normal as soon as fall hits, but having the ability to go out and party start to diminish for the year as well. This means a huge groundswell of support and a jam-packed venue it you play your cards right. Here’s how you go about hosting the perfect “end of summer” party at your bar or nightclub.

Know the Crowd

The first thing you need to do in order to be successful is to know your crowd. This should be easy if you’ve been in business for long enough, but few times will it be as important to pay attention to as when you’re hosting a major event or party. When you know who you’re catering to, you can choose each aspect of the party accordingly to draw in the largest crowd possible.

Provide Entertainment

Food and drinks alone won’t fill your bar or nightclub during a competitive season like this; you’re going to need entertainment. At a minimum, you’ll need to hire a locally recognized band or DJ to get people in the door and boost the energy of your party. Not only that, but you should consider having other activities such as dart competitions or trivia games to help make it a bigger deal.

Great Drink Specials

Offering drink specials not only brings in more guests, but it can increase the size of each check. Make sure you have a great beer and cocktail special on the menu, and also consider crafting a special cocktail just for the party (even if it’s just a twist on an existing classic).

Charge a Cover

If you want your end of summer party to be profitable, you definitely want to charge a cover. Your customers are looking for an experience, so if you provide something fantastic they will always be willing to pay for it. We aren’t talking about a huge cover here; just something between $5 and $10 will do. You can even give them a drink ticket or two to offset the cost of admission, and then it is equivalent to having a two drink minimum policy.

Advertise

Lastly, you’ll need to advertise your end of summer party in order to get people in the doors. This is where the entertainment, games, and drink specials become so important because that’s what will generate buzz on social media. With the proper party elements in place and the right exposure, you can expect to see a pretty great turnout.

Overall, giving your customers what they want is more important than what you charge at the door. You’ll need a good mix of fun, entertainment, and good values at your end of summer party in order to be successful, but once you start hitting on all cylinders you can repeat the party every year with increased turnout and enthusiasm from your customers.

Bar Promotions

Increasing Business Through Bar Promotions

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No matter how many barstools you fill each night, most bars and nightclubs can always use a little more business. Whether you only need to pack in more people on weeknights or you need more business across the board, bar promotions are your first stop on the road to more profits. However, with so many different ways to promote your bar or nightclub out there, it can be tough to know which promotions that you should focus your time and money. Here are a few classic ways to go about increasing business through bar promotions that have stood the test of time.

Word of Mouth

By far the most valuable way to advertise your bar is by word of mouth. There is nothing that generates revenues faster than happy customers recruiting more patrons on your behalf and bringing them in to have a few cocktails. On top of being very effective in terms of promotions, word of mouth advertising is essentially free. This means that not only will you reap the benefits bringing in new business but also you won’t have to pay a nickel for the privilege.

However, getting people to advertise for you via word of mouth can be trickier than it seems. First, you need to understand that word of mouth has extended to include social media now, so you need to encourage people to connect with you on platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. Also, you need to give them things to chatter about such as new cocktail specials and live entertainment. By getting the recipe just right, you can give your loyal customers a great platform from which to speak and great things to say when people are listening.

Event Sponsorships

Another great way of finding promotions to get your name out there for a relatively low price is to sponsor local events. These events can range from church functions to charity auctions, but almost always you can get a huge banner that has your bar or nightclub’s name in huge letters for everyone to see. Not only will the people at the event get exposed to your logo over and over again, but they will also feel good about buying food and drinks at your establishment because you give back to the community.

Host Events

When you’re ready to start putting together some big time events to attract new customers, you’ll need to put together a great plan. By following these basic steps, your events are sure to be a success:

  • Prepare: Make sure you work out a budget and plan every detail of your event. If you want to stay profitable, you’ll need to stick to your budget no matter what.
  • Make a Schedule: Having a calendar put together of the things you need to get done for the promotions event will help you be ready when the big day finally arrives. Also, you’ll want to have a schedule put together so your guests know exactly what is happening and when.
  • High Energy: No matter what type of event you’re hosting, make sure it is high energy and fun. You are more likely to encourage future word of mouth advertising if you create an experience that is worth talking about.
  • Go Until Late: Nobody likes the party to get over too early, so make sure you keep the event running as late as possible. No matter if it’s a DJ, a live band, or another type of entertainment, people usually start clearing out the minute the show is over.
Advertising Mistakes and Solutions

3 Advertising Mistakes and Solutions

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We all know that spending money on advertising for your bar or nightclub is a necessary evil, but the last thing you want to do is throw that money in the toilet. If you really need to spend money on something to help your club bring in more customers, you obviously want to put that money into the tactics that will produce the best returns. Unfortunately, all too often I hear complaints from bar and nightclub owners about how much money they’ve wasted trying a certain type of advertising campaign. With all those complaints in mind, I present to you a guide of 3 advertising mistakes and solutions so you don’t fall prey to the errors of the past.

1 – Bragging About Your Company

Often times people will try to advertise for themselves instead of hiring a professional, and that can often lead to trouble. One common theme I see too often is companies bragging about how great their business is. The problem is that most people don’t care about your company; they care only about your products.

The solution is to advertise your products with a strong focus on how they can solve the problems of the potential buyer. Rather than boasting, try using real-word scenarios and science to prove that your product or service is the right one for them. For instance, instead of “Established in 1997”, you could put “Home of the $2 Burger” outside your bar.

2 – Wait for Business to Come to You

Another big problem that I see a lot is businesses letting leads go when they should be pursuing them vigorously. Any time that you can track the habits of your customers and offer them a real value in exchange for their business, you can easily gain a repeat customer. Too often I see bars and nightclubs wasting these opportunities or trying to mindlessly push coupons on disinterested patrons.

Instead, implement trackable platforms such as social media and online newsletter subscriptions. That way, you can engage your customers directly and also see what they are most interested in when they visit your social media page or open a newsletter. Also, don’t just send an endless barrage of marketing materials to your customers; send them useful articles or news and tack on a coupon to the bottom so you can subtly advertise to them and they will actually be grateful for it.

3 – Cheapskate Advertising

Of all the things that I see through an average day, this one ticks me off the most. There is nothing sadder than a business owner who desperately wants to bring in more business but won’t spend the proper amount of money to do it. Sure, a penny saved is a penny earned, but there’s a big difference between being thrifty and cheap; and when you’re advertising for your bar or nightclub you really need to know the difference.

What you need to come to grips with is that a certain amount of your advertising will not directly show you a return. For instance, not knowing how many people that are in your bar checked out the website before they came in doesn’t mean you should scrap the website. Like all things in life, the more expensive a form of advertising is the more effective it will likely be. There’s a reason that the best types of advertising are more expensive than the others, and it’s because they actually work and will earn you tons of cash by bringing in more customers to your bar or nightclub. Whatever you do, don’t avoid spending money on the types of advertising that will work best.

In-House Marketing

How In-House Marketing Boosts Sales

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Most people who run their own business are familiar with the concept of traditional marketing such as television, radio, and internet advertising. These are all important facets to bringing in new customers and reminding old ones that you still exist, but what do you do to make those customers by more drinks while they are in your bar or nightclub? How do you turn a $10 sale from a customer into a $20 sale? The answer is called in-house marketing, and there are many ways you can use this technique to boost sales throughout your establishment.

If you have a great bar staff that has invented some unique cocktails and infusions that are ready to be displayed to the world, in-house marketing is the best possible way to accomplish that feat. Since these types of drinks are completely exclusive to your bar or nightclub, the only way your customers will even know they exist is if you put that information right in front of their faces. This can quickly make them interested in at least sampling something new and will earn you more profits in the process. Here are a few ways you can do in-house marketing that will actually increase your sales each night.

Table Tents

Table tents are a classic way to advertise specials in a bar or nightclub atmosphere because you literally place them on every single table. While your guests are waiting, they will pick up the table tent and read whatever is on it. If you promote your uniquely crafted beverages, you are sure to see an uptick in sales before the night is over. The downside is that table tents can look a little tacky in upscale nightclubs, so this option doesn’t always work.

Menu Highlights

Another great way to showcase your cocktails and infusions is to give them prime real estate in your drinks menu. The way your menu layout is designed is crucial to selling what you want because you can set it up to draw the eye to certain menu items. Consider placing the drinks you want to push in bolder text or in a box with a decorative border so the human eye automatically shifts to look at the most obvious text on the page.

Word of Mouth

Obviously, some people aren’t going to pick up a table tent or look at a drink menu because they already know what they want; or at least they think they do! Training your bartenders and servers to upsell your highest profit drinks is a great way to earn more money, better engage the customers, and offer them flavors they’ve never tried before. If a customer is ordering a vodka tonic, upsell them your infused vodka or infused tonic to try a little taste of something new. Even if you only get an extra quarter per sale that can really add up by the end of a night.

DJ Announcement

Consider having your DJ or band make an announcement over the PA systems about your latest creations or bar specials. It isn’t uncommon for them to say things like “don’t forget to tip your servers and bartenders”, so having them do a quick shout out to a specific drink can help tremendously. It doesn’t need to be a long statement or blatant advertisement; just something like “have your tried this new drink? It is delicious!” will do the job perfectly and not seem too obvious.

Organized Bar

Why Bar Organization Matters

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Like everywhere else in life, keeping your bar organized is a very important part of running a successful bar or nightclub. No good can come from having a cluttered and unorganized bar that both appears and functions like it’s in a state of disarray, and that will quickly translate into a loss of sales if left untreated for a substantial period of time. Fortunately, keeping your bar organized isn’t really that difficult if you apply yourself; but finding motivation can be another thing all together. Here are four reasons why bar organization matters and how it can actually increase your profits if you do it properly.

General Appearance

Point blank, a messy work environment promotes messy work. There is nothing that drives down sales more than an unappealing environment because your customers will simply go somewhere else. Though disorganized bottles that look strewn about may not drive away customers alone, your bartenders will be more inclined to leave empty bottle and full trash bags lying around if the rest of the bar looks terrible. High expectations breeds high quality work, and that’s exactly what it takes to get ahead in the nightlife industry.

Work Speed

In addition to working cleaner, your employees will work much faster if things are properly organized behind the bar. Ideally, a bartender shouldn’t have to do much more than pivot in order to make a standard cocktail with a few exceptions if the customer requests something out of the ordinary. Not only will organizing your bar area to be efficient make the drink come out faster, the drinks will usually have a noticeable quality improvement and the bar will look fantastic as a side effect.

Inventory Control

Financially speaking, the ability to properly control your inventory is the most obvious reason to keep your bar as organized as possible. If you just put things wherever without a conscious plan of attack, you can easily misplace things or overlook them when it comes time to place an order. For instance, if you don’t put a certain brand of vodka back in the exact same place after every pour, you may order it without needing to or forget to order it because you weren’t even sure that the bottle had been discarded. Keeping all of your bottles organized by assigning them s specific location makes inventory a breeze and ensures that every bartender can find the bottle they are looking for without any hassles.

Product Placement

One of the most neglected marketing strategies in the bar and nightclub industry is product placement, and keeping thing organized is vital to achieving this goal to the fullest. Studies show that customers are more likely to buy the type of liquor that their eyes are drawn to first regardless if it is a discount brand or a premium spirit. The best thing you can do is place your premium spirits in the most visible areas behind your bar and keep the cheaper brands down along the bar rail out of sight. Many bar owners even use special lighting to highlight their premium brands to ramp up the effect even more. That way, people are more inclined to buy the premium liquors while you are still able to serve the cheaper versions upon request.

2015 Bar and Nightclub Trends

Bar and Nightclub Trends for 2015

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Though we still have a little time yet this year, there are some clear and decided trends emerging that will shape the course of the bar and nightclub industry in 2015. In past years, we have witnessed the utilization of social media platforms to advertise and generate buzz about our venues, as well as a rise in the popularity of beer and wine dinners. While those trends have now become staple parts of the bar and nightclub industry, there are still many things that are just over the horizon. Looking forward to 2015, here is some bar and nightclub trends that you need to pay attention to in order to stay ahead of the pack and emerge as the hottest venues for 2015 in your area.

Think Outside the Box

Life was pretty easy when you could order pre-mixed cocktails in a bottle and run-of-the-mill frozen margarita mixes, but today’s patrons have a much more discerning taste and expect much more. With mixology trending in full-swing and a bounty of new flavors hitting the shelves, you need to think outside the box with complex cocktails that push the boundaries of what were once considered classic drinks.

Spice Things Up

Patrons will simply not tolerate simple syrups and standard bitters in their cocktails anymore. With people searching for new and exciting flavors at every bar and nightclub this side of the Mississippi River, you need to have unique and original flavors infused into your mixers to make your cocktails much more interesting and exciting. Additionally, this is an opportunity to make your cocktails taste different than anyone else’s because they literally will be different.

Ramp Up Social Media

This may seem obvious, but social media is only getting more active right now. There are more sites offering conversation tools and more access to networks on mobile devices than ever before, so communication among your patrons will only get more common in the near future. Your best bet is to embrace all new social media as it surfaces to ensure you don’t miss the next big thing. Eventually, people will be so connected that they yearn for genuine human interaction rather than synthetic friendships and conversations; but until then you need to stay with social media trends.

Modernize Your Classic Cocktails

Though you don’t want to change the foundation of the most popular and time-tested cocktails in your arsenal, there is nothing wrong with adding a modern edge to them to attract the younger clientele that will soon be dominating your tables and barstools. Offering classic Manhattan cocktails with bacon and maple-infused spirits can be a zesty change-up, or you can use new technologies such as liquid nitrogen or gloss ice to chill your cocktails in a modern and refined way. No matter how you dress up your classics, it can be a great way to rebrand a traditional drink and market it to a new generation of bar and nightclub patrons.

Bar Design

Mistakes New Nightclub Owners Should Avoid

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If you are new to the bar and nightclub scene, there are many thing that you might not know. While this is true in any business, knowing the bar and nightclub scene inside and out is vital to having a thriving business. There is tons of competition in this arena, and the big sharks are out there just waiting to eat you up if you don’t know what you’re doing. Fortunately, there are some tips to help new bar and nightclub owners avoid mistakes that could cost them a small fortune or their entire business, and we have outlined 4 of them below.

Poorly Designed Bar

Nothing can ruin your bar or nightclub faster than having a poorly designed bar. In fact, many new owners discover all too quickly that their bar design is very inefficient even though they just shelled out thousands to a local contractor. You want the design of your bar to look really good to the eyes but also allow your staff to work quickly and efficiently. To achieve this, you should contact a design consultant that has some experience with nightclubs to help you design it appropriately. It may cost a little more up front to hire a designer consultant, but it will be much cheaper than having to tear out the bar and rebuild it later ore worse; lose your business altogether from lack of business.

Carrying Too Many Products

It may seem like a good idea to carry every type of liquor under the sun, but you are actually creating a massive burden for yourself if you do. Of course, there are several liquor and beer brands that are essentially required for you to have a reputable bar or nightclub, but that doesn’t mean you need to have 30 brands of single malt scotch on your shelves. Make sure you carry all the major brands of the most popular liquors and beers and try to keep the specialty drinks to a minimum.

Poor Staff Management

Managing your staff properly can mean the difference between huge profits and a total collapse of your business. If you are too rough on your staff and demand too much, you can end up stressing them out to the point that they do poor work or quit altogether. On the other hand, if you’re too lenient on your staff, they will walk all over you and possibly even steal right from the till. You need to strike a good balance of leadership and oversight to ensure you team isn’t overworked or taking advantage of the business.

Lousy Marketing Skills

Marketing your bar or nightclub is very important f you want to bring in new clientele. There are only so many patrons and usually a very large selection of bars and nightclubs from which they can choose, so making yours stand out as the best is important if you hope to get your share of the market. Make sure you identify your primary competition and are paying attention to how they market their location. This will give you some insight into how you should market your bar since they’ve probably done all the trial and error for you. After all, all is fair in love and business.

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