Four best practices to prep your bar for March Madness

Melanie O'Hanlon
Marketing Associate

Prep your bar to meet game day demand for March Madness with basketball-specific menus, interactive deals and discounts, and more.

Want to learn more about how to enhance your operations? Check out our blog on the best ways to train your employees for success.

1. Make your game day deals interactive

Deals and discounts are a sure-fire way to get guests to order a second round of drinks and snacks. Why? Diners love a deal — they’re more likely to order that second basket of fries if they can spend a few dollars less on it.

Take your game day discounts to the next level by making them an interactive experience for your patrons. Before game days, make a list of in-game events that might occur and assign a special deal to each event.

If a particular player scores above a point threshold, your house draft becomes $2 cheaper for the rest of the game. If a player makes a half-court basket, guests can order a special cocktail to celebrate. If the underdog wins the game, diners get a discount on their next order of a burger & drink.

Customer scanning a QR code to access a bar's interactive game day menu

To get fans excited about possible discounts, create clear signage in all areas of your bar. And don’t forget to update your menu! Interactive online menus powered by companies like Bbot make it easy to quickly change your menu, so guests are always up-to-date on your prices and offerings.

2. Create a limited-time menu for ultimate FOMO orders

SOURCE: Must Have Menus

Offering deals and discounts is one way to encourage patrons to keep the party going. Another option is to create a special game day menu with items themed to match the playing teams — fans can place an order to show support for their favorite team. This drives revenue for your bar, especially from guests dining off-premise who can’t watch the game in person. 

You don’t have to overhaul your entire online menu to offer a themed menu. Bbot makes it easy for merchants to create separate, specialized menus for occasions like March Madness. Then, after game day, it’s simple to switch back to your regularly scheduled menu. Merchants also gain access to essential features like order ahead. Enabling order-ahead ensures your business fulfills the demand and ensures at-home customers have their favorite snacks delivered on time.

When adding items to this limited-themed menu, don’t just include best-selling items that guests are guaranteed to order. Create buzz around your game day menu with new items that capture patrons’ attention (think McDonald’s Shamrock Shake) and encourage them to place an order.

3. Get your marketing plan in place ahead of time

With all your upcoming deals and promotions, it’s essential to have a solid marketing strategy to keep patrons engaged. Off-premise advertising, like social media, email, and your website, keeps your bar top-of-mind for guests and encourages them to return to your venue versus another bar or restaurant on game day.

Graph displaying the most effective types of marketing content to use in your marketing strategy
SOURCE: Monday.com

Make sure you’re up-to-date on the playoffs calendar, then utilize the trending hashtags when posting your promos and deals on social media. Additionally, using team colors in your marketing will likely catch guests’ eyes and entice them to interact with your content.

In-venue marketing is just as important as your digital marketing. Advertising available deals and discounts throughout your bar will persuade diners to make multiple purchases while watching the game, maximizing the amount of revenue you make per guest. Add clear signage throughout your bar, like at-table signs and message boards behind the bar, to increase awareness for deals and entice fans to place another order. Match your in-venue messaging with your online messaging, including team colors and themes, for consistency.

4. Bring the bar to your customer’s couch

Your bar stools will be crowded with cheering patrons on game days. But, don’t forget about the fans celebrating from home. If diners can’t watch their favorite teams at your bar, let them bring the party home with special meal boxes, available through first and third-party delivery.

Third-party apps maximize your venue’s reach and drive new business thanks to how easily searchable they are for guests — their new favorite venue is only a few clicks away! Add your special game day menu to as many third-party apps as possible to quickly spread the word and acquire more business.

Window of restaurant with written sign saying they offer curbside pickup, delivery, and shipping

First-party delivery enables merchants to efficiently manage the flow of orders with features like order throttling, allowing for a temporary pause on accepting online orders, so your kitchen staff and delivery drivers aren’t overwhelmed. First-party delivery also provides better access to guest data, giving merchants insight into past ordering data and trends for easy re-marketing and upselling to returning guests.

No matter how customers order, persuade them to come again by placing promo codes for future purchases inside their current orders. March Madness lasts a few weeks, and you want to make sure your loyal customers return to your bar game day after game day.

Looking for more tips on how to make your bar March Madness-ready? Check out our guide on maximizing revenue from in-venue guests with limited staff.

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