Creating Adult Playgrounds in Your Bar
By Doug Radkey 11/09/2017
Traditional darts, billiards, and even dance floors are starting to take a back seat in today’s fast-paced bar segment. To be current, playful, and competitive, today’s bars are required to step up their ‘game’; where having a great time must be a guarantee!
It’s no secret, that keeping guests in a venue for as long as possible creates more revenue generating opportunities. By providing a variety of interactive games and maximizing the square footage (creating an adult playground), venues can provide the energy needed to attract guests, amplify their brand messaging, and generate revenue throughout the many parts of a day or evening.
To do this successfully, bars need to first create unique value, vision, mission, and culture statements while understanding their true target market. This will ensure that the right mix of interactive games, music, food, and beverages are provided – creating an atmosphere that will resonate with the guest.
Here are five #barhacks to keep in mind when developing your venues interactive strategy plan:
After reviewing your target market and the available square footage, what interactive games would generate positive energy and a memorable experience? Which day-parts are lacking revenue and what can you add to fill in the gaps and maximize on each operating moment?
Hot trends for new builds: If you’re just starting out, look at the feasibility of a business model that revolves around an adult driven bowling alley, shuffle board layout, axe throwing cages, and/or indoor golf simulation that pairs well with unique food, craft beer, cocktails, and music.
Hot trends for operating bars: If you’re already operating and don’t want to plan for a major renovation, analyze your current square footage and consider adding in the likes of bocce ball, adult arcades, ping pong, beer pong, foosball, life-size connect four or skee-ball for example; either indoors or outside on the patio. If you have multiple large screens, consider hosting sport tournaments using an x-box (as one example). Maximize each minute and feel free to rotate a variety of games in-and-out, to keep it fresh.
Providing this type of atmosphere and energy is what suppliers like to see. This opens up an opportunity to collaborate with your suppliers to step-up promotions and offer unique, highly valued prizes and theme nights that will be a win-win for everyone involved, including your customers.
Food & Drink
Once you know the interactive route you’re taking, it opens a large opportunity for unique menu items. Outside of traditional speciality menus, consider adding self serve food or drink stations. With fun, interactive adult games comes the notion to reflect on your youth. For example, a fill your own candy bowl station or build your own ice cream sundae station. Or perhaps consider adding in a ‘create your own’ Caesar (Bloody Mary) bar stocked with different flavour infused ingredients.
Adding in all of the above tactics will position your bar to create ‘stay & play’ type packages or revenue generating membership cards, which will also create long-term loyalty. With the right marketing plan, this ‘value-add’ approach will win with both the younger and older generations.
When finalizing your strategy plan and mix of interactive games, music, food, and beverages, always think social media. Design everything so it is social media worthy meaning guests will want to take photos, take live video, or simply check-in at the hottest spot in town – creating an inevitable fear of missing out (FOMO) among their network.
Pairing all of this with a fun, secure atmosphere will undoubtedly create brand ambassadors and long-term success for your bar. It’s time to think outside the box and up your game to create memorable guest experiences!