Super Bowl is a big day for sports bars. However, some bars that are not known for sports, might not be able to capitalize like everyone else. I sent out an e-mail to my list of bar owners and asked if the could help me with some ideas of totally unique Super Bowl bar promotions.
I’ll include their comments below, but before I do, I want to give you my opinion about how to run a super bowl bar promotion. First, if you are a sports bar that is always packed, there’s no need to discount your prices. Make the money while you can. However, I do believe you need some type of value or benefit to choosing your sports bar over the next.
I always do a TV giveaway where I’ll get my sponsored liquor or beer vendors to cover the cost. This way you have a big prize that everyone wants to win and that doesn’t cost you any money.
During half time, you should keep the excitement going, and do some smaller giveaways. T-shirts, hats, key chains, etc, etc.
If you have a tough time filling your bar for Super Bowl, during the playoffs you could do party package giveaway where you cater to groups of 6-10 people. Give 4-5 of those away and you have 40-50 people in the door and best of all, you have them doing the marketing for you and inviting their friends and family for the package offer.
This first idea comes from Don Rose who owns Shenanigan’s Bar and Grill in Sioux Falls, SD.
“I’ve been doing promos on Super Bowl Sundays forever. Here’s the best promo we have done over the course of time.
Ladies drink free during the game. While you think right now I’m nuts, it’s limited in offerings being kickoff to the final gun. Wells, draft beer, and spiced rum. We serve in red solo cups and it’s one cup per lady. Lose your cup you are done. That’s how we curb the cheaters from ladies giving to the guys.
This promo has doubled our sales over Super Bowl. Girls never come alone and where there are ladies, there are guys more than we can handle. Our bar seats about 250 and we have a load of competition in a very close radius.
When you can do $8,000 or $9,000 in sales more by giving away free drinks it’s not a bad idea. It’s all word of mouth or social media. No expense involved, other than the drinks. Maybe I’m nuts but it takes from the competitors and it builds people asking what are we doing next for a promo.”
Don, if the numbers make sense and you do better with this, then you’re not nuts! It’s always about testing to see what works and what doesn’t. Sometimes giving things away to get people in the door works better than others in certain markets and demographics.
My advice to anyone reading this is if you’re going to think about doing this, check your local/state laws on giving away free liquor. Where I’m at in the Rockford, IL area, that’s against the law and we would be fined.
This comes from Paul Garcia, the President of TABLE, The Association of Bar & Lounge Establishments.
“There is a lot of competition for business in a certain set of venues on big game days. These same places are often comparatively empty the next day. And where some bar owners are missing an opportunity is in creating a promotion related to the day after the event that keeps the energy going.
Obviously it’s a downer to focus on the loss, so it should either focus on the positive, such as a victory party (if it won’t alienate customers), or something neutral (like a rewind on the commercials). It could even be about mocking referees or umpires (depending on the sport) like a “Yellow Card/Flag” promotion.
The strategic view is to look for something that carries over the energy from the previous day’s big event. The tactic, exactly what the promotion involves, relies on the bar’s creativity and knowledge of their patron base. My reminder is to keep it positive and friendly. Big events are competitive enough without focusing on negative or one-sided aspects.”
Great points Paul! Never thought of this. This is why I love learning from others in our industry. Just one new idea or strategy can put thousands in extra profits in your pocket over time.
This next comment came from Chris Pravetz, who owns Eddie’s Bar and Grill.
“One thing that has helped us has been to throw a tailgate party on our front deck and in our parking lot. We bring in bands, get the grill and smoker setup outside, and bring out a few traditional tailgate games like corn hole and football toss. The crowd comes earlier because of the fun, so we’re not waiting until the evening to get busy.”
This is a great idea for those of you who have the right weather and space to do so! The more fun you can make it and the earlier you can get the party rocking, the more profits and fun for everyone.
So there you have it! 3 totally different Super Bowl bar promotions that will make you stand out from all the others. You can try to attract the ladies with free / discounted drinks and play on the men following behind with dripping tongues, you can focus on the missed opportunities that I can guarantee your competition isn’t thinking about, or you can set the stage with a big outdoor bash!
Look at what you’ve done in the past. Look at what your competitors have done. Now think “What can I do above and beyond? How can I take some of these strategies and implement them together?”
Reach out to your staff, your customers, and ask for opinions.
If you have any comments or strategies of your own, please leave them below.
Nick Fosberg is known as one of the highest paid, marketing and promotional consultants in the bar & restaurant industry and he owns 2 bar / restaurants in the Chicagoland area. He's famous for creating some of the highest grossing digital marketing promotions in the history of the bar & restaurant business..... without spending a penny on marketing. All done through e-mail & Facebook posts. Click here to get a free copy of my latest book.