Ways to Get People to Stay Longer in Your Bar or Restaurant

When it comes to bringing in more money with a bar or restaurant, it’s not just volume that counts. For most establishments, it’s easier to raise revenue by getting people to stay longer and order more than to simply pack customers in faster and hope they leave again in a hurry.

If you tend to attract a crowd that stops by for a quick bite then lingers at a competitor’s bar for the rest of the night, try turning into the place where customers hang out by making a few basic changes.

Focus on Specials

For bars especially, special deals are key to making customers feel like regulars. The most powerful techniques include:

  • Extended happy hour promotions, moving behind the single hour to three or four hour blocks for longer guest visits
  • Package deals, which offer savings when customers purchase two or more items in one visit
  • Stacking discounts that add up for each hour a customer stays during one visit.

Keep in mind that, although loyalty cards that track the number of visits are good for encouraging repeat business, they’re not as compelling when it comes to extending the duration of individual visits.

Add Digital Signage

Beyond showing the latest sports games on televisions mounted around the bar, many establishments haven’t leveraged the power of color displays for appealing to different clientele. If your customers prefer music to basketball tournaments, try digital signage that displays constant streams of nostalgic music videos that fit your atmosphere.

Sometimes it takes a personal touch to keep customers hanging out all night at a single bar or restaurant.

Rotating specials and games get guests engaged without requiring them to know anyone else at the bar. For example, you can add a trivia game that runs itself with minimal employee interaction by offering discounts or drink specials for anyone who can correctly answer the displayed question. The sign takes care of the work of refreshing the question on a regular basis.

Polish the Staff

Sometimes it takes a personal touch to keep customers hanging out all night at a single bar or restaurant. By hiring and training the best possible wait staff, you can increase how long guests stay and encourage them to drop by regularly to visit with their favorite bartenders.

It’s an old-fashioned way to test your staff, but hiring a mystery person to evaluate the restaurant is still one of the best ways to get an outsider’s perspective of how your staff interacts with your customers.

Try Games

Finally, don’t forget about the power of games. Many bars and restaurants are getting rid of their dart boards, arcade rooms and card tables because some customers sit at the bar and use their smartphones for entertainment. However, you can bring in larger groups of friends and encourage them to stay longer by offering board games and other hard to find forms of entertainment that naturally take a few hours to complete.