It’s your Birthday? Then FREE DRINKS for everyone!
Not so much… Read on.
If you’re in the bar/restaurant trade, then how many times did you hear the following cringe-worthy words over the weekend: “Hey, it’s my birthday. l should get a free drink!” (What did you say in response?) Let’s talk about the best answer you can give to that question.
The Bar Conundrum
The interesting thing about bars is that people always feel that they should get free rewards on their birthdays. Yes, this happens in restaurants too, but in a restaurant you can limit your losses with some chips or some free cake, but the birthday boy or girl still has to pay for an entree and a drink. Plus, no one goes “restaurant-hopping.” At a bar though, all you can offer is a drink–and giving away your only revenue source for free is a bad business idea.
Here’s the trouble though: You can’t really say no without sounding like a dick.
What Is a Bar Owner to Do?
Here’s the first thing you do: Convince the birthday girl/boy that free drinks are lame and she/he can get that from any bar. You have something better.
What do you have? A customer loyalty program (the LYLTY app, of course!).
Okay, okay. Don’t use that sales pitch. It’s terrible.
Instead, pull out a list of birthday options that are exclusive to your loyalty app members.
Experiential Rewards Pay Off
Here’s the little-known secret to consumer loyalty programs: you’re supposed to use them to build revenue, not give revenue away!
The best way to do this is to have your customers build points on their loyalty app (we recommend an app over a card!), and then redeem those points for cool events that get them into your bar to buy more drinks.
For instance, your regulars could use their points to rent a private party room at a discount (which would bring more people into your bar), or you could offer your loyalty club members exclusive member benefit classes where they learn how to mix their own drinks.
Make Them Feel Like Insiders
Another idea for experiential rewards is to give your regulars a “backstage pass” to your business. If you have a brewery, you can provide a tour in which you explain how to make beer, and show them the different stages. That type of customer loyalty program reward would generate a ton of buzz for your bar.
The point is, whatever your bar focuses on, there’s usually an off-limits area. When you provide supervised access to your off-limits areas, your customers get excited and talk about your bar more–and then their increased sense of ownership brings them back to your bar again and again.
The important thing to remember about your customer loyalty program is that it is meant to enhance your power as a business, and to increase your marketing reach. It’s not meant to be a free drink giveaway, and it certainly isn’t meant to be a revenue drain.
Finally, we’ve said this before, but: If you’re wondering what experiences your customers would like, then just ask them! Your customers are your greatest marketing resource. Use their ideas to become exactly the bar they’ve always dreamed of going to. Your business will flourish, your customers will love you, and you won’t ever have to cringe again when someone says, “Hey, it’s my birthday. I should get a free drink!” You’ll know exactly what to offer them instead.