Marketing to bar customers

Weekly promotions can fill up your pizzeria’s bar and generate excitement.



Every night’s a night worth promoting if your pizzeria offers bar service. If your bar marketing strategy isn’t producing the financial results you want, it may be time to create special events for each night of the week. We’re not just talking about happy hour specials—get a little more creative with promotions such as Industry Nights and Ladies Night!

Here are some ideas to get you started, but feel free to tinker with them and make them your own:

Monday—Michelob Mondays: Offer special prices on well-known national beer brands. Although handcrafted brews are becoming increasingly popular, the tried-and-true brands, such as Michelob and Miller, still have legions of loyal followers. Create a Miller Lite Monday or Michelob Monday promotion. If you’d prefer to tout a popular but lesser-known brand, try Blue Moon Monday. Or you can drop the beer theme entirely and tout Margarita Monday or Martini Monday instead.

Tuesday—Industry Night: Invite area restaurateurs, waitstaff and bartenders to drop into your restaurant for specials on pizza, wings and/or appetizers along with discounts on beer and cocktails. Take photos of your guests having a good time and, with their permission, post them on your social media pages to spread the word for next week’s event. You can even build excitement by live-tweeting from your pizzeria as well-known local industry folks show up!

Wednesday—Wine Lover Wednesdays: More and more customers enjoy pairing pizza with wine. Offer special wine tasting events on Wednesday nights and bring in a local expert to give tips about selecting wines. Feature flights of wines or spotlight a new winery each week. Another option: Offer $10 off bottles of certain wines every Wednesday night.

Thursday—Tap Into Thursdays: Partner with area breweries to present high-quality crafts on tap to your guests every week. Bring in an expert brewer who can speak knowledgeably about the differences between a porter and a stout, for example. This is also a great way to test new craft beer brands and get on-the-spot feedback from your customers about their likes and dislikes. Release information about each week’s featured brew in advance on social media and use indoor signage to advertise the promo.

Friday—Becks On the Deck: If your restaurant has a patio or deck, this is a great way to draw in a flock of customers at the end of the week, especially in pleasant weather. “Becks On the Deck” has a catchy ring to it, but you can choose any brand or focus on craft brews and simply call it Beer on the Deck.

Saturday—Ladies Night: You don’t have to be a dance club or a dive with a jukebox to run a Ladies Night promo. Just serve up appletinis, mojitos, cosmos and other female-friendly cocktails, and then make sure to spread the word via social media and in-house signage. Or use social media to find local singles groups in your market and target them with a Singles Night promotion.

Sunday—Date Night: If the singles get Saturdays, reserve Sundays for couples. Create a special deal for lovebirds, such as a medium pizza with two toppings, an appetizer, a dessert and two glasses of house wine or domestic beers. Charge just $20 for the package and spread the word via Facebook, Twitter and the usual social media suspects.

In addition to weekly promos, some restaurant bars develop monthly or occasional events. Feature a different winery or brewery on First Thursday Wine or Beer Nights, and invite the winery or brewery to provide literature and giveaways for guests. You can also market your bar to charity groups through a Guest Bartender Promotion. Invite a local charity to choose a guest bartender from its group and then invite that person’s friends, family and co-workers to the event, with a percentage of the sales from the bar going back to the cause. These charity promotions will fill up your bar on slower nights and impact your bottom line! 

Linda Duke is the CEO of Duke Marketing and author of Recipes for Restaurateurs (marketing-cookbook.com), a “cookbook” of marketing ideas for restaurant owners, as well as The LSM Diet: Improve Your Bottom Line, Not Your Waistline (lsmdiet.com), a self-help guide to local store marketing. She publishes a quarterly industry resource, Restaurant Marketing Magazine, and an educational program, LSM-U, Local Store Marketing University. Find out more at dukemarketing.com.

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