Saturday, April 10, 2010

Top Five Bar Promotion ideas

Now that he's expanded the bar to some forty-odd square metres, JK, the boss of my 'local', the now somewhat inaccurately-named 12 Square Metres, has been canvassing ideas for trying to boost the clientele. And I have been in a rich vein of creative form just lately. Unfortunately, our laoban does not seem to like any of my innovative suggestions - so I'll just have to share them on here with you instead.

My Top Five Ideas For Bar Promotions

5) The Secret Discount
Last week, when JK announced a one-off "two-for-one on everything" deal to try to attract some punters on a miserably rainy night, he was complaining that there were a couple of his more exotic spirit offerings on which he would - just about - be losing money. He was therefore unwilling to reveal what these critically-priced bottles were; this excited much speculation on the part of the few regulars, and we were in fact tempted to work our way along the top shelf whiskies until we saw evidence of an incipient heart attack in our profit-conscious host. This gave me the idea that if JK announced that each night one of the drinks in his impressively stocked back bar would be very heavily discounted - or perhaps even free - but not tell anyone which one it was..... well, I think it would be unlikely that anyone would discover what the 'secret discount' was (or would abuse it too much if they did), but many people might be encouraged to try more spirits than they otherwise would to try to find it.
[If the boss is so concerned about potentially losing a lot of money on this gimmick, you could hem it around with additional restrictions: perhaps only offer the drink FREE or VERY CHEAP until a certain time, or only to the first person to order it that evening. I'd suggest that the 'secret discount' should be written down inside a sealed envelope displayed on the bar, and that after 10 or 11pm - or after someone discovers it by chance - the envelope should be opened and the drink offered at half-price for the rest of the evening. Just a silly game - but quite compelling, I think.]

4) The Matrix Party
Costume parties are always fun. Costume parties with movie themes are the best. And the Matrix trilogy are particularly good films to have on in the background - so much action! Moreover, it's a relatively simple theme to dress for, so long as you have some sunglasses and something black to wear. Heck, you could even wear a grubby old sweater for the outside-the-Matrix look. Or a business suit (ideally with shades and earpiece) to be Agent Smith. Or you could go for one of the more exotic characters like the smoking-jacketed Merovingian or his glamorous Monica Bellucci Mrs or the scary-loony Trainman or.... Oh yes, endless possibilities. Probably better suited to the winter months, though. I really want to do one of these one day.

3) Shots based on the i-Tunes playlist
We always used to complain that The B-52s came up rather too often on JK's background music selection at 12SqM; particularly as the playlist included only three of their songs - Rock Lobster, Love Shack, and Roam - and it tended to be the especially irritating Rock Lobster that would pop up almost every night, sometimes even more than once a night. However, this annoyance became much more tolerable when Dr Manhattan and I hit on the idea of using it as an excuse to order B-52 shots whenever one of these songs was played! Alas, the band seems to have been expunged from the playlist now - we used to hate them for their ubiquity, but we miss them now they're gone. The regulars are lobbying gently for their reinstatement. I've also recommended that JK devise some new shots related to regular highlights on his playlist - AC/DC, Guns'n'Roses, Shu-Bi-Dua (most excellent Danish calypso band!) - and offer them as a 'special' whenever one of the songs is randomly selected by i-Tunes (although there is of course one slight hazard: punters with i-Phones can log in to the playlist and 'promote' songs they want to hear in the projected running order).

2) The 'Crack-The-Seal' Party
The person who can drink the most draught beers before having to go to the toilet gets the cost of those beers refunded (OR all of his subsequent beers for free... OR a significant quantity of free beer, anyway). Beautifully simple in its appeal to the macho competitive instinct. I have suggested this as a theme to christen the new inside toilet at 12SqM (which JK is threatening to install within the next week or two). It has been objected that the idea is not novel, since Paddy O'Shea's has already tried something similar. I disagree: as you'd expect from a dump as resolutely unclassy as O'Shea's, their idea was to run a 'happy hour' until the first person in the bar went to the loo - a cheapskate way of ensuring that the promotion wouldn't go on too long, and a nasty invocation of peer pressure/mob rule reminiscent of those sadistically vindictive Japanese game shows. My idea is for a straight contest: individual, one-on-one, mano-a-mano - a laddish pissing competition; or, rather, a no-pissing competition. I think it could work well. And I'd rather fancy my chances.

But the pick of the crop is....

1) The Five-Minute 'Happy Hour'
'Happy Hour' discounts for five minutes at a time - whether at set times (e.g., every hour, on the hour) or randomly at various points during the evening, announced by the surprise ringing of a bell. This is in fact an inspiration from my erstwhile drinking companion Crazy Chris: we tried it at the old Room 101 a couple of years ago, and oh my god, did it work!!


Ruby said...

All excellent ideas, however as much as I want JK do do well in the newly HUGE 12sqm, one of the main reasons I go there is because it feels like I'm drinking in my living room with good friends. I don't want it filled with every man and his dog chasing Sanlitun-style drink specials or theme nights. (well, maybe the dogs would be ok)

I'm really hoping his individual quiz night idea will eventually take off. A much better way to let out my competitive streak than trying to take on you boys in a game of "Crack the Seal"!

The Matrix idea could work well as a house party though, are you over the disappointment of the last one yet?

JK said...

I would rather stick a cocktail umbrella in my eye than have a 'fancy dress' party at 12sqm.

Promotions are coming, hold tight. It's all waiting on the toilet to be finished.

Froog said...

Yes, well, never fear, JK; the Matrix Party is more the kind of thing I'd do at somewhere like Tun, if I ever became a professional party promoter.

You realise Nigel and I are probably going to be playing crack-the-seal at the toilet-christening night, whether you sanction it and offer beer incentives or not?

Allan Holaday said...

Ahahaha, fantastic ideas! The 5-minute Happy Hour really IS the pick of the lot there! I think it’s the best of the 5! I’m not surprised that it worked really well. Another great way to get people to come to 12SqM might be to start handing out merchandise that JK can eventually sell as official bar merch. I think shirts and mugs and buttons with the bar’s logo on them would be pretty cool, especially if you’re a frequent patron.