Winters can be tough on the bar and restaurant business, especially in the much chillier parts of the country.
Parking’s even more of a mess than usual, people have to get all bundled up, and it’s already pitch black out at 5pm—all good reasons to cuddle under a blanket and binge watch the newest Netflix show.
However, everyone doesn’t necessarily want to be locked up all winter. They just need a little push!
Let’s give them a reason to go out—or how about 10?
Here are 10 ways to increase your bar traffic during the winter months:
1. Game night
What’s a better way to warm up than playing a rousing game of Monopoly or giant Jenga? Attract people to your bar with a weekly game night. It’s as easy as buying some classics like a few decks of cards and Connect Four and some of the newer games on the block like Cards Against Humanity. If you’re feeling like stepping it up, you could even connect a video game console to the TV behind the bar!
Speaking about games, why not host a trivia night? People love to compete, drink, and socialize. Plus, who doesn’t want bragging rights for knowing the most random facts? It’s also good for creating repeat business during the colder months because you’ll likely get trivia teams who love to come back each week.
Sure, not everyone is the next Post Malone but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t belt out Rockstar with a mic in one hand a Bud Light in the other. If you’re trying to amp up your foot traffic on a dark and gloomy Thursday night, consider adding karaoke to the weekly line up. You’ll only need a few simple pieces of equipment and software to get up and running. Just make sure you pay the PRO fees or subscribe to a professional karaoke service.
4. Live music
Give people a reason to go out by hosting a midweek live music night. With a joint effort between your venue and the band to promote the show, you’re bound to get more people through the door. Plus, having live music may entice customers to stay for a longer period of time, likely ordering more food and drinks. Of course, there are some important steps to consider before jumping into things like making sure you have the proper licensing and equipment.
5. Viewing party
Looking for something cheap and simple? Host a viewing party! This could be a viewing party for a sports game, a movie, or even reality TV series like the Bachelor. Just make sure to promote the night’s feature to get the word out. Then maybe whip up some themed cocktails and food items and wait for the people to roll in.
6. Wing night
Let’s face it, people get pumped for wings. Make every Wednesday “Wing Night,” offer wings at a steeply discounted price and throw on a live sports game. Getting people in the door means increased drink sales, plus they’ll likely order more food than just wings, helping you to boost profits on a typically slower night.
7. Breakfast for dinner
What better way to attract people to your bar on a cold Monday night than the sweet smell of maple syrup? Switch up your timing and offer key breakfast offerings as options during a weeknight dinner. It’s fun to swap a meal and helps break up the dreary winter routine!
8. Comfort food
There’s no doubt about it, people love winter comfort food. Offer weekday specials like mac and cheese, chili, soup, and grilled cheese sandwiches to get people feeling warm and cozy. Promote your winter weeknight menu specials and perhaps throw in a free fresh baked chocolate chip cookie as an added comfort food bonus.
9. Craft beer releases
Craft beer is booming right now. Celebrate a new craft beer releases by hosting a release night each time a new beer comes around. Make sure to get a few kegs of it, promote it on all of your social channels, and consider adding a food special like one dollar soft pretzels to the mix. Want to amp it up? Offer a craft beer night with multiple new beers and offer them in a flight.
10. Hot cocktails
With the temperatures dropping, warm patrons up with some piping hot cocktails. Add hot toddies, spiked hot chocolate, Irish coffee, mulled wine, hot cider and bourbon, and a few original hot beverage options to your cocktail menu. Make sure to advertise your hot cocktail offerings on an outside display like a chalkboard sign. This way, cold customers walking by will want to come inside and warm up!
The wrap up
During the winter months, bringing in weekday business can be a challenge. Step up your game—try a few of these methods to get people out of the house and into your bar.
Any other great ideas I missed? Let us know in the comments!