If you’re managing the bar service at events, there’s always an opportunity to find ways to increase bar business and beverage sales. We discussed how to increase bar sales by improving service before, but sometimes, it’s getting people to the bar in the first place that’s the struggle. So how do you draw attention to your bar and increase bar business at your next event?
Make the Options Fun and Easy
Add a separate cocktail bar to the event – you’re adding to the service, adding to the fun, and adding to the revenue. A cocktail bar can charge higher prices on ABV, especially if you have a clever performer mixing the cocktails. By adding some entertainment to the mix, you add a show and justify charging a premium price.
Wheeling in a portable cocktail bar halfway through the event, with some glitz and sparkle, will get customers up on their feet again.
Make the Bar a Magnet
Increasing bar business sometimes means attracting customers to stay at the bar, not serving them and moving them away as efficiently as possible. The most popular tradition is live and topical TV coverage – a football game that is on at the same time as the event, for example, will keep fans close to the screen, and therefore the bar, but this can backfire if the sound isn’t set right!
People standing at the bar, or within a few feet, should be able to hear it. People sitting or standing a little further away, don’t want to. Never make it too loud. Those who don’t want to listen must be able to move out of earshot, and talk to others without having to lip-read, or they will be increasingly antsy.
Free snacks served only at the bar, rather than on offer all round the room, will keep customers wandering back to the bar and give you staff an opportunity to offer them a drink, driving increased bar business.
Bringing out something at regular intervals – as simple (and cheap) as peanuts – will attract a surge of customers each time.
Salted peanuts, mixed nuts and other salty treats are the bartender’s friend. Have waiters working the room with hot or cold snacks good enough to keep customers wanting more, but also making them slightly thirsty.
The golden rule is to serve something which is easy to hold (or eat in one bite), not too hot, and not too greasy. Classics such as cocktail sausages in marmalade and mustard, offered on a toothpick, are a cliché for a reason. They work.
Attractive (and Effective) Bar Staff
Using attractive, or deliberately sexy, bar staff can go both ways. Chippendale-style barmen, or Bunny-style barmaids, can create a good buzz and a lot of banter, but won’t work well if the event is attended by couples. The partner who isn’t supplied with eye-candy may restrict trips up to the bar or even insist on leaving early!
Even when that doesn’t apply, the bar staff have to be, above all, good at their job. The novelty wears off very quickly if the drinks aren’t mixed right or the service is really slow.
A friendly and cheerful barkeeper, male or female, is always a good bet to increase bar business. The most efficient barkeepers in the world, if they never crack a smile, are buzz-killers.
Up the Vibe with Music
If music at the event bar is an option, it can be a real winner for drawing attention to increase bar business. The soundtrack should be not too loud or niche – use original tracks of popular songs. A good general rule when choosing music is to assess the average age and then pick best-selling hits from their most sociable decade.
If the ages are so mixed there is no easy average, pick the seventies or eighties – the older ones will have good memories prompted by at least some of the tracks, and the younger ones will remember them as classics from their childhood. And remember – good stuff. There was crummy music around in every decade. It doesn’t get better with age.
If the music is so loud the customer has to repeat their order more than once, it is too loud. Having speakers a little way from the bar can set the mood for the approaching customer, without affecting the service.
Offer a novelty drink
A novelty drink can be as simple as an unfamiliar type of beer, or a light alcohol option. It can go to the other extreme and be something very high in ABV and expensive like craft cocktails.
This is effective with the customer who doesn’t know what to get and is looking for ideas, either for themselves or for a companion. Your smiling friendly barkeeper should be able to reel off two or three options, each with an interesting ‘hook’.
Anytime you can reduce friction for you customers, like by having options presented to them when they can’t decide is an easy way to increase bar business.
Our Portable Bars
If you’re looking for an effective way to draw attention, our line of space-saving portable bars is designed to improve service, draw attention and drive sales. Watch our product videos to see how each of our products work or download our product catalog to see our full line.