Couple of issues ago, I briefly touched on marketing and promoting your craft beer menu. Because I own two restaurants myself, I understand firsthand how important the marketing and promoting of your bar menu is to your sales and bottom line profits. In this article, I am going to dive deeper into a few marketing and promotion efforts that will help you sell the craft beer that you now have available for your customers. Marketing and promoting your craft beer will help bring people into your restaurant during your non-peak hours, but it can also boost your food sales significantly.
I definitely do not want to insult anyone’s intelligence as a restaurateur, but I have noticed that there are a lot of restaurants that still do not offer any happy hour specials whatsoever. Happy hour drink specials are great and they will work for you because they incentivize people to come in daily during your non-peak hours. While your happy hour customers are there saving money on beer, you will have a great opportunity to up-sell them on buying an appetizer, or maybe a pizza or two to take home for dinner for the family. Happy hour specials are typically made available between the lunch and dinner rushes, but you can offer them anytime that you would like. Some restaurants offer late night specials as well to increase traffic later in the evening after dinner sales have started to fall off.
If you don’t already have a weekly Pint Night or Brewery Night, you need to add one to your weekly calendar ASAP. Pint Nights work because people get excited to try something new and they love feeling like they are getting a great deal on a product that they value. On Pint Night, feature a specific beer or multiple beers from a brewery and sell those featured pints for that night at a discounted price.
Depending upon how rare the beer is that I’m featuring, on pint night I discount them anywhere from $1 off to as much as half off. Reach out to the beer distributor reps that call on you and coordinate with them on the Pint Nights on which beer you’re featuring that they represent. Ask them if they can bring any swag (promotional giveaway merchandise) and ask them to invite the brewery sales rep to come in for the night to mingle and talk with your customers about their beer. Most breweries and distributors have glassware, stickers, T-shirts, etc. And most of the distributor reps and brewery reps will jump at the opportunity to work with you. A lot of operators give away a limited number of branded pint glasses on Pint Nights in lieu of discounting the featured beer. This is a great promotion, too. Please keep in mind that if you would like to give away glassware, your beer distributors will charge you for the glassware. Branded glassware will cost you anywhere from $1 to $5 per glass.
In cities where the local Alcohol Beverage Control allows, you will notice bars, restaurants and liquor stores offering their patrons beer club memberships. These beer clubs are consumption incentive programs designed to build loyal customers and sell a lot of product fast by offering your customers prizes or incentives based upon points accumulated for beers consumed or purchased. Please check with your local ABC officer to see if beer clubs are allowed before implementing a beer club in your restaurant.
Try one, two or all of these promotions for yourself. You’ll be glad that you did and can buy me a beer at next year’s International Pizza Expo!
Keith Coffman is the owner and operator of Lost River Pizza Company.