Last Minute Valentine’s Day Promotions for Your Bar

Valentine’s Day Promotions for Your Bar

Posted: Feb. 09, 2018

There are few holidays that bring in sales numbers as high as Valentine’s Day. From romantic dinners to thoughtful gifts, Americans spend big bucks celebrating the day of love.  

In 2017, here's how all that money was spent:

  • $5.5 million on an evening out
  • $4.9 million on a romantic getaway
  • $2.3 million on flowers
  • $2.2 million on jewelry
  • $2.2 million on candy
  • $1.7 million on gifts like apparel, accessories, and personal care products
  • $730 thousand on greeting cards

We have some great news for bar owners, too: The biggest spenders on Valentine’s Day are aged 25 through 34. Spending around $230 on Valentine’s Day with their partners or friends, this target demographic doesn’t care for budgeting come February 14. Plus, they’re the type of clients that appreciate an attractive happy hour special and holiday-themed cocktails.

As the owner or manager of a bar, we urge you to get your establishment in on the action. According to Fundivo, nearly 55% of Americans make plans, and as you can see from the statistics above, they’re opting to spend Valentine’s Day at restaurants and bars.

If you haven’t organized a special Valentine’s Day event, below we share three last-minute ideas you can put into place with minimal planning and marketing.

Host an Impromptu Mixology Class

This Valentine’s Day, delight your guests with pop-up mixology classes all evening long.  Here’s how:

  1. Create two holiday-themed cocktails that are easy to teach and make at home, but still creative enough to impress them.
  2. Select your most charismatic bartenders for “professors.”
  3. Designate the “class” rotation—every 30 minutes or one hour—to show guests how to make the specialty cocktails.
  4. Post the cocktail recipes on Instagram or Facebook.

With the foundation of your event set up, you can move on to getting “students.”

  1. Your FOH is going to be responsible for signing up “students.” If you have a host, he or she can tell customers about the “class schedule” while seating them. It’s also possible for servers to tell guests about the mixology classes. If your bar is a self-service bar, then post a large sign behind the counter so guests know what’s to come. Another option is giving your bartender a loud bell or megaphone to call all the couples together for the cocktail class.
  2. Reinforce Valentine’s Day by teaching the class for couples; so if there are enough shakers and equipment, hand one out to each couple. 
  3. Present your mixology class in a charming and easy-going way, and direct customers to your Instagram or Facebook pages to find the recipes at home. (Encourage everyone to follow your bar!)
  4. Now it’s time to offer a special promotion on the cocktails—a two-for-one special will have couples slinging back drinks one after another for the rest of the night.

This idea requires a little preparation on your part but touches your guests’ hearts with the event’s spontaneity and fun. They will love the easy-going nature of this Valentine’s Day celebration.

Host a Single-and-Ready-to-Mingle Event

Anyone who isn’t partnered up this Valentine’s Day deserves a chance to meet someone new or even just to have fun. A bar or lounge is the perfect location for a Single-and-Ready-to-Mingle party. You’ll just need the following to execute this event last minute:

  1. Signage at the entrance and throughout the bar area that clearly states this is a party for single people. Your regulars and others will still stop by, and they will love the surprise theme.
  2. A single-person themed cocktail list, like the Cry Me a River or Single and Fabulous.

Play excellent dance music to get people moving freely, and have bartenders walk around with a shot bottle every 30 minutes to get sales—and liquid courage—flowing. When there is a great party, customers will tell their friends to come by.

Turn Your Regular Happy Hour into a Valentine’s Day Themed Hour

Here’s a quick way to boost business before the dinner rush, turn your happy hour menu into a Valentine’s Day-themed menu, and encourage happy hour guests to stay for dinner.

  1. Offer wine and aphrodisiac-food pairings like oysters with Sancerre, or chocolate molé sauce ribs with pinot noir (or another type of wine depending on the molé).
  2. A shareable cheese and charcuterie plate.
  3. Sugar cookies, heart-shaped candies, and chocolate desserts.

Then, have a special Valentine’s Day cocktail promotion or even create a unique cocktail in honor of the holiday. If you have dinner reservation spots open, treat your guests to a free salty morsel to whet their appetites, as studies show that salty foods make people hungry. Request your servers, hosts, and bartenders to ask happy hour guests about their dining plans to encourage new reservations.

Market Your Last-Minute Valentine’s Day Bar Event

While these events will work without a marketing push, they’re also perfect for a powerful last-minute campaign. If you have been working hard to build a following on social media, now is the time to reap the rewards. Call all your followers to visit your bar with two Instagram posts and a single Facebook post a day starting now until Wednesday.

To post, you’ll need simple artwork that has:  

  • A compelling colorful background or image.
  • Clear and direct text with the event’s name and holiday promotions.

Start a hashtag to get customers posting on their own accounts, and start building a dialogue on social media.

Another marketing avenue to pursue is your bar’s email list. An email blast is a great way to tell customers about your bar’s Valentine’s Day plans. (If you don’t have an email list, here are five reasons why you should start.)

Put one of these last-minute Valentine’s Day promotions into play and boost your bar sales!

Posted: Feb. 09, 2018 | Written By: Hilary Wainwright

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