By Nick Fosberg   |   April 8, 2017

Nick reveals the promotion he just recently ran to raise nearly $10,000 for a local charity organization, how it brought in over 200 new customers, brought him over $5,000 in free advertising, and how big of an impact it made within his community…and how any bar owner and some restaurant owners could do the same. Nick also goes into detail how he almost “died” on his way home from Vegas from the Nightclub & Bar Show

In This Episode You’ll Learn:

  • How to get thousands in free publicity
  • How to run a specific charity promotion with zero marketing costs that brings a flood of new customers to your doors.
  • The questions you need to ask yourself about your next promotion in order to get the highest ROI
  • The marketing strategy he used that costs pennies on the dollar to pop up in front of thousands of people

Links Mentioned In This Podcast:

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Hey, what’s going on everybody? Welcome to Bar/Restaurant Breakthroughs podcast episode number 11, How I Raised $9,339 & Almost Died Last Weekend. I’m going to go through how I raised that money here in a second, but I kind of just wanted to tell you about my trip.

I just got back from Vegas out at the Nightclub and Bar Show. We had a great time. The wife and I went out there and saw a lot of great new brands, products, and services that I think are going to make a pretty big impact in the way we all do business. I’ll be bringing some new friends on the podcast here in the near future to talk about some of those products and services as well.

But my wife and I ended up having a great time. We’ve just been working quite a bit, and while we were out there, we were relaxed, no kids, and we thought, warm weather, why not stay an extra day? So we changed our flights and got a hotel room for an extra day and had a good time.

The next day, a 30 to 50-mile-an-hour windstorm comes through Vegas, knocks out a bunch of power, and we end up having to delay our flight until 1:00 o’clock in the morning. About 20 or 30 minutes later after we were up in the air, I think it’s after we were going over Colorado from what it looked like on the screen, the pilot gets on with this crazy voice, saying, “Stewardesses, get in your seats. Everybody buckle your seat belts. We’re about to hit some major turbulence.”

When it comes to turbulence on airplanes, I’m a pretty big sissy about it, but this is some turbulence I’ve never felt in my life. I mean, it was bad. From what it seemed like, we were going through this windstorm that had just passed through Vegas with these 30 to 50-mile-an-hour winds. I had never, never, never experienced this kind of turbulence before, and honestly, the sound of the plane was like it was going to break in half, and all I could think about was my two kids.

It was honestly the scariest plane ride I had ever been on. I thought we were going down. I couldn’t see anything. It was pitch black, one o’clock in the morning. Everyone else was kind of freaking out, and when you see terror on the face of a stewardess or you hear some fear in a pilot, that makes you a lot more scared. We ended up making it through it, but it was, I would say, the scariest point of my life. My heart was going like crazy. I thought I was going to have a heart attack.

I just wanted to share that fun little story with you and kind of tell you about the experience that we had in Vegas. The Nightclub and Bar Show is always a great time. Again, there were a lot of great products and services, a lot of those that I’ll be bringing to the podcast for the people that I reached out to and created some great relationships with.

But let’s dive into how I just raised $9,339 dollars, and I did that for our local Boys & Girls Club. It was about two months ago that a buddy of mine, Steve, had reached out to me who is on the board and said, “Hey, the state has cut funding for the Boys & Girls Club. We’re just looking for other unique ways to raise money.” And I said, “OK.” He wanted my help, and so I came up with the idea.

I said, “We’ve got to think about how we can make it fun for people to donate.” Usually, people just write a check, say, “Here you go,” and they do their good deed and that’s it. I said, “We need to think about a way, if we want to raise as much money as we can to make it fun. How can we make people feel like they’re getting value for it?”

I came up with the idea of doing a guest bartending event where we’d bring in some local celebrities and also just some other people within the community, or even people from the Boys & Girls Club, who could come in and guest bartend. I’ll go through how we ran that afterwards, but that was the idea. But then it was, OK, guest bartending is nothing new. It’s been done before, and I thought, how can we make this different? How can we make this unique?

The idea that I had behind this, and the way that we structured the whole thing was – I’m always about helping out with charities and I wanted to raise as much money as we could for them. So what I ended up doing was saying, “OK, we can pick these specific weekdays during these times that aren’t as busy for us. And I will give 50 percent of our food sales during those two specific hours where the guest bartenders are in there, because again, the guest bartenders are going to be bringing in all these people.”

They’re promoting it. It’s the guest bartenders that are going out and promoting it. I said, “But how are we going to get these guest bartenders really to get as many people as we can in there?” Instead of just saying, “Hey, I’ll guest bartend,” and it’s just our customers, we’ve got to give them some kind of incentive.

So I came up with an idea and said, “How about this? Let’s give the winner, whoever raises the most money, $1,000 dollars. Then that would drive and boost their motivation to go out and get as many people as they can.” So that’s what we did. That was the idea behind that on how can we get them to really go out and bring in as many people as they can.

Then the way that I structured how the money would be raised was again, 50 percent of the food sales. 100 percent of the tips, any of the tips that went behind the bar, would go to the Rockford Boys & Girls Club. But what I worked out with the Boys & Girls Club was, “Hey, we’ve got to have our two main bartenders behind the bar to help with the POS system and get the drinks out. The guest bartenders are just back there to bring people in, pour a couple of draft beers, a couple of bottled beers, here and there. They can’t lose money on their shift.”

So we worked out a deal where $50 bucks went to each guest bartender. They made $25 bucks an hour cash, then the tips, then the rest of that would go to the Boys & Girls Club. So we did 100 percent of the tips. Then we did 50 percent of food sales, and then we also went around and did a 50/50 raffle. So we based it on that with the guest bartenders on whoever raises the most money in those three ways.

Then there was a fourth way. If anybody went out and got sponsors, a $250 or a $500 dollar sponsor where we would promote them that night, put them on the website and all that, then that money would also go to the proceeds for what they did. Unfortunately, we didn’t get one of the guest bartenders to go out and get any sponsors.

But I went out and did get one sponsor for $500 dollars, hitting an air conditioning place, because for the $1,000 dollars that we were giving away, I didn’t want that coming out of my pocket with me doing the 50 percent on sales going to the Boys & Girls Club. So we used that money to go toward that $1,000 dollar prize.

The way that this worked is once we figured out exactly how we were going to raise the money, what all the multiple different ways were going to be, and how we were going to make this unique and different and fun, then we were able to approach the guest bartenders. The Boys & Girls Club knew some pretty high level people in the community who donate to their other, bigger events, so they reached out to them to see if they would be interested. And then I also reached out to some of the local celebrities that I know, and also to some of our great customers that bring in a lot of people and that know a lot of people.

So that‘s what we did. It literally took about five to seven days to get ten guest bartenders, and the way that we did this was there was one event per week. This ran for ten weeks, but one guest bartender came in that specific week, and they could pick between a Monday or Tuesday from 6:00 to 8:00 o’clock. Any of the people that they brought in for the event, again, they would get 50 percent off their food.

Obviously, people were coming in, drinking and buying other food items, but this also brought in a lot of new customers. I would say over the course of ten weeks, we saw at least 200 to 250 brand new customers. That was obviously one of my goals too. This has to be a win-win all around.

I wanted to be able to raise as much money as we could for the Boys & Girls Club. Our goal was $10,000. We were short about $600 dollars. The goal was to be able to raise as much money as we could, but I also wanted to be able to get a lot of brand new people in the door.

For one, we just remodeled the entire place for one of our bars, Casey’s Pub. We’d just done a complete remodel and a lot of people hadn’t seen it before. So a lot of people saw that, but then the strategy behind this – I don’t like doing big, big discounts like 50 percent off your tab, but if it’s going to help charity, I don’t mind.

But also, you’ve got to have a strategy behind it when you do some kind of discount like that. So my goal was – obviously I was there at each one of those events, but I made sure that I pointed out to each waitress and bartender who I don’t personally know to make sure they went up to customers to ask them if they would want to get into our loyalty program and put a sheet in front of them.

We got probably a 100 or so of those loyalty sheets built out, and these people see what we’re doing for the Rockford Boys & Girls Club. They’re there to support them. And for them to see everything we’re doing and now they’re signing up for this, I’m going to have these customers coming back in over and over. I’m able to email them, text them, and do all of that now. So that’s where it also becomes a win-win and you gain some more customers for that.

So I just wanted to share with you guys how much money can be raised. We got a lot of publicity out of this, too, because of the guest bartenders, one was our sheriff. One was our top radio host, and there were top TV news anchors that were there. We also had a guy who was running for mayor, Tom McNamara. So we got tons of publicity on TV and in the newspaper, so probably $5,000 to $10,000 dollars worth of advertising absolutely free, because of bringing in these local celebrities and doing this for charities.

The main purpose of this episode is I want you guys really to understand that, how can you help out the community? Could you do something just like this in order to get new customers in the door, get free publicity, and just do something good for the community? Because when people see that, they respect that and they want to come back and do business with you, and that’s important.

One thing I forgot to mention was what I did for these guest bartenders was I kind of gave them each their own little marketing package. I built a simple, one-page website for each one of them with their picture on it and the date that they were going to be guest bartending. I gave them a Facebook script that they could copy and paste.

I told them, “Just blast this on Facebook. Put this in email and send it out. Wherever you can do this, put it out there. Let’s drive people to that website, because on that website, people could sign up for a chance to win when they were there for the event.” My goal was to get them to drive traffic there. I gave them simple tools and built everything out for them in order to get the best response for the Boys & Girls Club, but also for us to get the most people in the door.

Then from there, when people hit this website, one thing I set up is called retargeting. And what retargeting is, is I do this through Google Adwords. But you place what’s called a pixel on the back of the website, and what it does is anybody who hits that page gets ‘pixeled.’ When that happens, we have banner ads that we can run all over thousands of different websites all over the web where those banner ads will pop up only in front of people who actually hit that websites.

I created separate banner ads for each guest bartender to where when people would hit that page, three days, two days, one day, and the day of the event, these banners would pop up all over the web directly in front of those people who hit their specific page. I did this to remind people. Maybe they heard about it, or they saw it on Facebook.

We all live crazy, busy lives, so how do we send out a reminder to them? We know that they’re all on the web, pretty much, so we thought, OK, if we set up retargeting and just did this – retargeting is cheap. You can get thousands of impressions for literally a few dollars. So that’s what we did to kind of help with the marketing side of things and giving them the tools that they need to get the best response.

I hope you guys have enjoyed this episode, and I hope you got some ideas from this. If you do have any questions and you’re on the website looking at this, go down to the bottom. You can leave any kinds of comments or ask any questions, and I would be happy to answer anything that I may have left out.

Again, if you have not received my book yet, you can get it for free by clicking here.  Just cover shipping and handling.  We will see you guys on the next episode. Also, if you guys have any other ideas, questions, or podcast episode ideas that I could do for you to answer any questions, you can leave those down in the comments section or you can email me directly at Nick @ Bar Restaurant (I separate that for spam bots on the web capturing emails).

Nick Fosberg

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.

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