How to get your bar or restaurant ready for game day

Staying ahead of peak periods on game day in your bar or restaurant doesn’t have to be a challenge. In fact, preparing yourself for a big rush before the big game can mean big bucks for your restaurant or bar.
Sporting events draw in tons of revenue for not only restaurants, but also hotels and the entertainment industry. Economist Jeff Pinkerton estimated that Kansas City, host of last year’s World Series winner, the Royals, raked in $7-$9 million dollars a night from visitors who spent money on food and accommodations. Regardless of whether your city scores the rare chance to host an MLB Playoffs game, there’s still plenty to be gained by being ready to go before and during a sporting event.
Take the Blue Jays, for example. Canada’s baseball team continues to fight for World Series contention, but it’s not just Toronto bars and restaurants that can profit from it. Every game matters and all eyes will be on the Jays’ MLB Playoffs run. That means every bar and restaurant across Canada can get in on a piece of the action.
All it takes is are a few restaurant management techniques to let fans know that your establishment is the place to be on game day. Here’s how to knock it out of the park when it comes to getting your venue ready for a sporting event.

Prep and promote

  1. Know your customers and cater to that. You won’t want to have Maple Leafs Monday in Winnipeg. What day of the week brings in the most patrons? What games do they ask to watch? You can even show some love to local teams. Fans appreciate a bar who stands behind their city. If there’s no local team for your pub, check out boxing and UFC matches. Those events always draw a big crowd and big crowds means more sales for your restaurant.
  2. Make sure your website is mobile-friendly. Close to 90% of online searches for “restaurant” come from a mobile device. Capitalize on those fans who are out and about looking for a bite to eat on the day of a big game. A simple navigation system, properly formatted pages, and stylish design can go a long way to attracting new patrons to your restaurant or bar.
  3. Whether you want to do a little or a lot, it’s always a good idea to develop your restaurant’s social media presence before a sporting event. Spread the word and get trending on Twitter that your bar is the best place to host a fantasy baseball party; share a fun game day slogan on your Instagram account; or post an ad for game day drink specials on Facebook. As a rule of thumb, always post in real time, otherwise you might be missing out on some sports fans.
  4. Take Happy Hour up a notch with drink and food specials that are on when the game is on. Quickly and easily add specials to your restaurant POS system before a big game, like Homerun Hot Dogs and other sporty dishes for those October Playoff nights.
  5. Don’t forget to schedule extra staff! Keep track of scheduling details using your restaurant POS, so that you have enough hands on deck!

guest-mid

Game on!

  1. Customers will have their head in the game, and you should too. Make sports night fun with creative prizes and offers! Take advantage of big events like the MLB Playoffs and World Series to bring out your best ideas. Right now, bars across Canada may want to offer something like Dinger Deals, where every time the Jays hit a homerun in their ALCS series, drinks are half-price for the next 30 minutes. Your restaurant software would allow you to enter a deal like this in your system on the fly too. Even the most fair-weather fans can rally around their home team hitting a homerun if it means half-price drinks!
  2. Tableside ordering has gone big league. Using your restaurant iPad POS, you can show your customers images of dishes, check stock levels, and send orders directly to the kitchen – making each order a smooth and easy process, free from error. Patrons want to eat and watch their favourite team crush it on the field, and you can make that happen with the touch of a button (or two).Keep in mind, any good touch screen pos system for restaurants has the ability to split any bill, print it anywhere in the restaurant (inside and out on the patio!) and finalize payments. It’s tools like these that make customers happy and keep your wait staff running efficiently.
  3. Celebrate the wins alongside your customers. While you don’t have to have streamers rain down from the ceiling like Toronto’s Real Sports Bar & Grill did when the Blue Jays swept the Rangers in the ALDS, you can encourage staff to make some noise and cheer for a big win!

guest-bottom

All in all, a little bit of planning and a little extra effort on game day can mean the difference between striking out or hitting a home run for your bar or restaurant. As an owner, implementing even a handful of these strategies alongside a robust POS system is sure to set you in the right direction. And with the MLB Playoffs in full swing and the World Series right around the corner, there’s no better time than the present to get in on the action.

Try Lightspeed for free!

Start a 14-day free trial today.

Amanda Siddall

Amanda Siddall

Amanda has worked in the retail industry for 5 years. She currently does communications, branding and events for a global beauty retailer. She’s a bibliophile, make-up collector, lousy cook, and an avid fan of the CFL. When she’s not writing, she’s am fulfilling her New Year's resolution to watch more TV (which has been a self-proclaimed success thus far).