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Menus, Marketing, & Management tips to grow your restaurant business.


How To Promote Your Bar

Hold Events for Powerful Bar Promotion Opportunities

Business owners who sponsor interesting events for the community and are involved in the local community are best situated to succeed, even in economically trying times. Any business that offers entertainment and refreshments has ample opportunity to reach out to the community to offer education, socialization, and help with community issues and events.

Wine Tastings for Bars

The most obvious way to bring interested and curious customers into your bar is to sponsor wine tastings.
  • Focus any wine tasting on a region or a theme. For example, one month offer wines from Southern France. Next month feature wines from Argentina.
  • Offer six different wines at any given tasting.
  • Pair each wine with food from the region that complements the flavor of the wine.
  • Food offerings should be small and light—similar to tapas.
  • Start any wine tasting with the lightest wine, and end with the richest and deepest drink.
Mistakes to avoid while planning wine tastings:
  • Do not offer too many wines. Customers will become inebriated long before the event is over.
  • Do not offer large portions of food with each wine; if you do, people will be too full to enjoy the next pairing.
  • Do not rush people through the tasting. Schedule enough time for the wine tasting so people can savor and enjoy each variety.
Plan ahead which section of your bar to hold the wine tasting. Some places offer the tasting in a separate room; others choose to offer wine tastings outside on the patio during the spring and summer.

Consider requiring reservations for wine tasting events. While you don’t want to discourage walk-in business, you do need to have enough food and wine for all participants.

Community Involvement and a Bar

Being a part of the community goes beyond knowing the names of your regular customers. Be willing to participate as a bar owner in community events. On the simplest level, have a community bulletin board in your bar. This will bring people in and also earn community appreciation.

Accommodate people who need a meeting place. Encourage people who need a social spot for a meeting to come to you; for example, advertise that you have a separate room, or just advertise: “A great place to meet, talk shop, and then socialize. We accommodate business people.”

Be willing to hold fundraisers for important community events. For example, the Café Provence in Brandon, Vermont, held a fundraiser in 2009 for a local girl with a serious medical condition. The small community came together and the Café donated 10% of funds raised that evening to her astronomical medical expenses. Fortunately, this type of opportunity does not present itself often, but if and when it does be willing to step up to the plate. The community will reward you with more business.

Consider letting members of the community who need a platform to speak bring business to your bar. Another example from the Café Provence includes welcoming Vermont State Senator Bernie Sanders to come speak. They offered free coffee to visitors, a relatively inexpensive product. In return, the Café experienced standing room only traffic, increased sales, and extremely warm community appreciation and support. Community support lasts for years.

When opportunities to be involved in the community as a business owner present themselves, take them.

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