Last Updated on April 20, 2022 by Bill Allen
How to Host Trivia Night and Increase Your Bar’s Profits!
Most bars don’t have too much trouble drawing in a crowd on the weekends. However, those quiet Monday and Tuesday nights can be quite tricky.
No matter how well your business does on Saturday, the difference between success and closing your doors could be found in how you appeal to customers to come out and buy some drinks on those quiet weeknights.
One very successful way bars have found to promote weekday business is to host a weekly trivia night. Trivia nights require very little advertising and can boost sales as well as bring in new customers. So, why not give it a try?
One of the great things about hosting trivia night is that it does not require too much planning. Consider the following questions before you get going:
Should you hire an emcee? There are four possible hosting options: hire a professional host, assign a charismatic member of your staff, use an electronic system, or let your customers sign up to host. See the chart below to understand the pros and cons for each option.
|Hiring a professional||A professional takes the task of preparing questions out of your hands|
They will have experience with pacing and creating atmosphere
|They will cost more money than other options|
|Assigning a staff member||Staff members will already have a good understanding of your customers and what type of atmosphere they enjoy|
Less costly than a professional
A good way to show recognition of employee excellence
|You will need to spend extra time generating trivia questions each week|
|Using an electronic system||Cheaper than hiring a professional or paying an extra staff member|
Comes equipped with ready-made questions, saving you time
|An electronic system can take away from the sense of community, which is important for the success of your trivia night|
|Creating a sign-up system for customers||Free!Allows customers to become more engaged in process, encouraging them to come out and join in every week||Run the risk of no-shows and poorly executed questions and pacing|
Do you need to purchase a sound system?
If you decide to use a live host, the answer is almost certainly yes. It is essential that customers are able to hear everything the host says over the inevitable background noise. Nothing will send trivia fans out your door faster than being unable to hear the questions. You might also want to consider using a projector so that players can see the questions as they are asked.
Do you need to schedule extra staff?
Yes. Your emcee could be perfect, your questions fun and interesting and your drink specials spectacular, but if patrons have to spend an excessive amount time waiting for their food and drinks, they will easily find somewhere else to play trivia.
After you’ve decided on the logistics, you need to get the word out about your new trivia night. First you should determine who your target audience is. Trivia Night is an event that can appeal to a wide range of people, from retired bankers to art students.
What kind of crowd comes into your bar on Saturday? Keep your current customer base in mind as you decide how you will promote your event.
If your customer base is mostly younger college students, use your social media accounts to get the word out. If you appeal to the corporate after-work crowd, print up some fliers and see if you can distribute them to local offices. Either way you should put up fliers around town and noticeable advertisement on your door and walls.
Lots of bars combine Trivia Night with happy hour type promotions. If patrons can find entertainment, cheap drinks and snacks all in one location, how could they resist? Consider offering discounted pitchers of beer and small plates of food for Trivia Night participants. Learn more about happy hour promotions.
What if your bar doesn’t serve food? Consider adding a few items without adding on a full size commercial kitchen.
Once Trivia Night is under way and you’ve lured the first set of participants through your door, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and make it work. Make sure to cover the extra steps necessary to ensure that patrons keep coming back, week after week.
There is one basic way to keep the Trivia Night flame ablaze, and that is to create a sense of community among your patrons. Easier said than done, you say? Actually, it is easy and that is part of the beauty of Trivia Night.
Trivia Night by nature has a way of creating a sense of community through competition and friendly rivalry. There is more you can do though. Rather than letting the event run its natural course, use these tips for creating a sense of community and keeping customers coming back for more.
Make your customers feel more like participants than observers.
If patrons feel like they are contributing, they are more likely to come back for more. You can do this by allowing them to guest host as trivia masters or giving out extra points for incorrect but witty or clever answers.
Give out prizes.
Trivia Night participants may be adults, but that doesn’t mean they don’t want to win something. Giving out prizes does not have to cost a lot of money either.
Some bars offer to pick up the tab of the winning group for the evening, or offer a free round of drinks. Other bars have a special “winner’s table” where the previous night’s winners sit. This prize costs the bar nothing, but bestows a sense of pride on the winners and keeps competition fierce.
Hold silly tie-breakers.
Depending on your demographic, conducting silly tie-breakers could be a very popular community-building method. Some pubs decide which team is the winner by having beer chugging contests, dance-offs or karaoke contests.
Make it an on-going contest.
You could arrange for a tournament-style trivia night, in which points carry over from week to week and there is a large prize at the end. This will be motivating for individuals to come out when they might just stay at home, in order to not let their teammates down.
The danger in this is that it might discourage newcomers from joining. You could circumvent this problem by allowing for new teams to join, and giving them the same number of points as the lowest-scoring team.
Use a live host, and don’t project the questions on a screen.
If you don’t project the questions, everyone will have to listen, together. They will listen together, laugh at the host’s jokes together, and eventually get to know not just the members of their own teams, but everyone else as well.
Take a break.
Taking a short break between tournaments or rounds could help reinvigorate players and get them excited to come back for more. It is important, however, to make sure that your breaks are announced and advertised well in advance to avoid disgruntled trivia hounds from showing up on the wrong day.
Now that you’ve got a better idea of how to run a successful trivia night at your bar, get started and see your weekday bar profits soar!