5 tips to increase midweek bar business

bar beerEvery bar owner or manager knows that slow nights happen from time to time. You can take direct action though to increase your business and make quiet nights a rare sight.

It’s more than running promotions hoping to get guests in the door. You can host events, improve your software and make your bar more enjoyable for everyone.

1. Theme Nights

Theme nights seem a little cringy to those who haven’t spent much time on social media. Hosting a Zodiac party inviting everyone to come to celebrate their birth month on a Tuesday will still fill seats.

Other ideas include trivia nights on Wednesdays, or cosplay parties on Thursday, or even game night on Monday. The investment of a few board games or looking up fun trivia on your phone can bring in a new crowd.

Using a theme to get people in the door doesn’t just help out the revenue for that night. Theme nights often lead to longtime patrons who become the “typical Tuesday night crowd.”

If regular theme nights aren’t reasonable, consider celebrating holidays, with fun marketing ideas.

2. Bartended Battles

Over the years bartenders seem to have lost their touch. Even the movies have given up on showing off flipping bottles or flaming shots. Invite your bartenders to battle in front of everyone.

A three-tiered competition where the guests can vote on tricks, speed and a specialty drink are fun. On top of boosting your atmosphere, and your bartender’s confidence, you’ll have people come in on weekdays to do nothing more than watch your bartenders pour drinks!

3. Change Your Technology

If you’re an old-school bar that keeps it cash, or you simply have an outdated system, it’s time for a digital transformation. A technology change isn’t just guaranteed to bring in a younger crowd. It’s more likely to lead to bigger checks as well.

Bar point of sale software should come with a few key features including preauthorization, suggested tips, and easy menu management.

When you bring in this Technology, you make everything easier. You can still run tabs through the night but keeping a secure card in your system. You can help your bartenders and servers earn more tips because the guest can see the recommendations on the screen.

Then when it comes to menu management, you can feature drink specials that you’re running to cycle out inventory or showcase a pricier drink without your servers having to ask. Guide your servers away from major mistakes.

4. Bring in Other Businesses

Whether it’s hosting small business owner meetups or helping out a local charity, your bar can bring people together. Networking events don’t usually require any more effort than a few phone calls.

When working with charity events, the charity will often take on the task of setting up collections, auctions, or raffles. Let them do their work, and all you have to do is give them your space as a place to work.

You can find groups that need a central hub or occasional meeting spot online. Check Facebook or even Meetup. Your local page on Facebook can help you guide entire groups of people right into your doors for a night during the week.

5. Re-Define Happy Hour

No doubt you are familiar with the 2-for-1 pitcher, $2 well drinks, and maybe even a $5 margarita. Overdone happy hour specials aren’t that special anymore.

Try these happy hour concepts instead:

  • Rotate special drinks between days, such as Happy Hour for Vodka on Wednesday
  • Use proven discount methods like a “Buy-one-get-one.”
  • Bar memberships for “Happier Hours.”

The first concept here, rotating days or hours showcasing different drinks, is likely to draw in different crowds of people.

Although not everyone springs for a deal, many people prefer to go where they know they can get an excellent Vodka Tonic than chance something blatantly labeled as a “well” drink. You can use bottom shelf vodka, but you can also offer price incremented upgrades.

When it comes to bar memberships, you have many options in setting this up for a bar?

With email marketing or membership cards, you can provide a simple percentage discount at certain times of the week. This can substantially increase midweek business.

To see this in action, offer cards or a fun code-word that your guests can give to their servers when they are ready to pay. Inform guests that the cards, coupon, or similar, will only work Monday through Thursday, after say 6 or 7 pm.

If you’re worried about people taking advantage, change the secret code word once a month, reprint cards, or keep the discount to an emailed out coupon and only use it when you need to pick up business.

Wrap Up

When you take a creative approach to your midweek business, you’ll find people coming in as soon as they get off work. Eventually, you will need to increase your midweek staff to accommodate your new regulars.

augusta free press
augusta free press

uva basketball team of destiny

Team of Destiny: Inside UVA Basketball's improbable run

Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, by Jerry Ratcliffe and Chris Graham, is available for $25.

The book, with additional reporting by Zach Pereles, Scott Ratcliffe and Scott German, will take you from the aftermath of the stunning first-round loss to UMBC in 2018, and how coach Tony Bennett and his team used that loss as the source of strength, through to the ACC regular-season championship, the run to the Final Four, and the thrilling overtime win over Texas Tech to win the 2019 national title, the first in school history.


Augusta Free Press content is available for free, as it has been since 2002, save for a disastrous one-month experiment at putting some content behind a pay wall back in 2009. (We won’t ever try that again. Almost killed us!) That said, it’s free to read, but it still costs us money to produce. The site is updated several times a day, every day, 365 days a year, 366 days on the leap year. (Stuff still happens on Christmas Day, is what we’re saying there.) AFP does well in drawing advertisers, but who couldn’t use an additional source of revenue? From time to time, readers ask us how they can support us, and we usually say, keep reading. Now we’re saying, you can drop us a few bucks, if you’re so inclined.


augusta free press
augusta free press news