Running a successful bar or restaurant takes much more than creating a great atmosphere and a menu of delicious food and drinks. There’s a delicate art to getting people in the door and keeping them coming back. You want to create excitement and the perception that your customers are experiencing something really unique, but marketing services are expensive to maintain. You may be tempted to attract a new crowd with promotions or discounts, but not only does that cost money on the back end—it also lowers expectations for quality and may turn off high-value clients.
It is possible to drum up business without spending a lot of money upfront or draining your profits through promotions and discounts, and you don’t need a marketing degree to do it. Keep reading to find out how to create a strategic promotion that works quickly and effectively for a quick bump in sales.
Manage Your Inventory
The first thing to do is get a firm grasp on what’s in your back room at all times. Getting into a consistent habit with inventory management can help you create smart promotions based on what’s most profitable and what’s about to expire. Calculate the pour cost of a liquor product by dividing the inventory usage in dollars by the total sales. Liquors with the lowest percentage, or pour cost, are the most profitable. Use these ingredients to create specialty cocktails with a little extra room for discounting during happy hour or on specific days of the week. Get to know the features of your bar POS as some of them have built-in inventory management functions. Your restaurant bookkeeping software can give you some good insights on cash flow to factor in as well.
Time Your Promotions Right
Once you can figure out when it makes sense to run a promotion from a business standpoint, you can determine what days of the week and what time of day you can bring in more business with promotions. Beyond running promotions during slower times, you can get a little more strategic by timing your sales just before and after peak hours to capitalize on existing business. At the top of each quarter, look up what events will be happening in your neighborhood and create some themed specials to attract crowds that are already out and about. Finally, if social media is part of your strategy, experiment with when and how long you run ads.
Know Your Audience
Of course, knowing what your best customers like will increase your chances of a successful promotion. You probably know a bit about the kinds of people your bar or restaurant attracts, but did you know that only 20% of drinkers make up 80% of bar sales? It pays to appeal directly to this segment of happy hour elites, who are likely bringing friends and buying drinks for other people. If you don’t know who your best customers are, you can use our POS extension to get deep insights on their demographics and buying behavior.
Expand Your Idea of Rewards
There’s no rule that says rewards have to have a high cash value! Consider making no-cost rewards like achievement badges, special experiences, and secret menu items a part of your loyalty program. Instead of rewarding purchases, you might decide to reward sharing your business through referrals and social media.
The SIP app flips the traditional loyalty program by charging valuable customers a membership fee in exchange for discounts. You’ll get a 50-67% revenue yield per drink, and app subscribers are more likely to become regulars, not one-time discount seekers. Our user base of influential high-volume customers loves using the SIP app to find new places to go. The discount keeps them coming back, but you get a percentage of membership fees—and all the business they bring with them.
Keep Tweaking Until It’s Just Right
It’s not just one promotion that will make the difference for your business, but a multi-tiered strategy of marketing and coming through on the experience you promise. You have to rinse and repeat a few times to form a really strong connection with your most valuable customers. Find out more about how SIP helps bar owners save by eating chargebacks and credit card fees. Finally, make sure your promotions are easy to explain: the shorter your pitch, the more magnetic it will be!
If you’re experimenting with some different promotions, you can use the SIP POS extension to give you some deep insights into who your top-dollar customers are. Book a demo today to see how it can help your business.