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Marketing Your Illinois Business

9 Promotions that will Drive Traffic to your Bar this Winter

November 10, 2021

During the cold winter months, business tends to be slow for many bars, and it becomes harder to convince patrons to brave the cold and snow just for a drink. Bar owners need to provide an additional incentive for people to leave their sweatpants and couches behind in favor of a fun night out.

So we’ve pulled together a list of nine winter promotions that will increase foot traffic in your bar despite the chilly weather and shorter days. Be sure to adhere to any and all coronavirus protocols for your region when planning a promotion!

Create a winter cocktail menu.

A sure way to get patrons in the door is to offer seasonal drinks. Consider a winter cocktail menu with spiked hot cocoa, a hot cider cocktail, a hot toddy, coffee drinks, spiked eggnog and peppermint or pumpkin spice–flavored beverages. You may even want to pair your cocktails with seasonal foods or snack items.

Host a movie night.

With the sun setting earlier, the holidays and Oscar season, winter is the perfect time to host a monthly movie night. You can even serve special drinks related to the film’s characters or location.

Start a weekly league.

One of the best ways to attract new guests and keep people coming back to your bar is to host a weekly league, whether it’s darts, pool, trivia or even a monthly book club. You can allow for walk-ins or offer first dibs to those who sign up — and pay for — the whole season.

Offer game-day promotions.

People love spending game day in bars, cheering on their team with other fans. On game days, offer discounted drinks and stadium-style appetizers, have your staff wear jerseys, and tap into your guests’ competitive spirit by offering darts, pool and electronic gaming.

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Throw a tasting or mixology event.

We hate to say it, but anyone can open a bottle of wine or crack a beer at home. Take things to the next level by hosting a wine-tasting, beer-tasting or mixology event where guests can sample a variety of options, learn something new and find their new favorite drink.

Plan an open mic night.

An open mic night is a great way to support local artists and draw a big crowd. Not only can you sell tickets and drinks to audience members, but performers may stick around for a drink after their set as well. Your open mic can be a comedy night, music night, poetry slam, or variety hour that includes anything and everything.

Hold a customer appreciation event.

A customer appreciation event can go a long way in keeping your best customers happy. Reward them and say thanks with a special winter event. And don’t miss our tips for promoting your customer appreciation event.

Celebrate the holidays — even the unusual ones.

People are always looking for something to celebrate, especially this year. Throw a party for big holidays like Halloween, DrinksGiving, Christmas, New Year’s Eve and Valentine’s Day. But don’t forget the smaller holidays, too, like national nacho (11/6), bartender (12/8), sangria (12/20), trivia (1/4), hot buttered rum (1/17) and drink wine (2/18) days.

Crank the tunes.

If you have a TouchTunes jukebox in your bar, promote special music-themed nights like an ‘80s or country music night, but don’t set the playlist yourself. Encourage people to come in and use the TouchTunes app to play their favorite songs that fit the night’s theme. You’ll end up with a playlist curated by the night’s guests.

Whatever promotions you choose, don’t forget to spread the word with outdoor signage and social media posts. Need help thinking up a new promotion? Drop a note below and the experts at Accel will be in touch.

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