Sponsored by Conagra RO*TEL

RO*TEl Recipe: Bourbon Street Cheese DipYour new gameday menu will be a vital spoke on your marketing wheel when it comes time to promoting your overhauled gameday experience. Determining the strengths of the menu and presenting them front and center will help sell guests both new and old on why your establishment deserves the marathon sessions of patronage that come with a full day of sports indulgence.

In-House Marketing Your Gameday Menu

First, let’s discuss the in-house marketing and how to turn your visitors into repeat customers. Whether you’re using time-tested staples like posters, table stands, and other print materials, or are using digital displays such as tabletop tablets, the goal is the same: get your guests thinking about their next visit before they’ve even paid tonight’s bill.

Intrigue and exclusivity can be incredibly valuable cards in your deck. When your diners see something they can’t have now — but could at a later date — it can create a very real sensation of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). An atmosphere of haves and have nots is a time-tested method of building interest in your brand.

When a guest sees a delicious special burger, and they’re told they cannot have it (at least, for now), it triggers a reaction that makes it that much more valuable and alluring. That customer needs that burger, and they won’t miss their chance at it. You tell them when they can have it, and that moment instantly becomes a must-do.

And don’t forget to play up the fact that you don’t cheap out on quality and use time-tested and trusted national brands. As we’ve mentioned before, 76% of consumers are more likely to visit a restaurant that partners with leading brands.* So, when your quesos include RO*TEL Original Diced Tomatoes & Green Chilies in the recipe, call that out so your guests know to expect a great plate.

How to Bring in New Guests with Your Gameday Menu

marketing your sports bar's gameday menu to bring in new fans

Bringing new guests into the fold is an entirely different beast. Luckily, you’re partnering with the global powerhouse marketing of major leagues and collegiate sports. You can let them do the bulk of the work and coast in their wake, achieving maximum efficiency with minimal effort.

Many sports teams can boast instant brand recognition that rival the Golden Arches or the Swoosh. These billion-dollar enterprises are privy to fanbases in the millions, spread around the world like a diaspora.

Most importantly to you, no matter where you’re located, so are they. There are Celtics fans in Los Angeles, Packers fans in Chicago, New Zealand All Blacks fans in Ireland, and even hockey fans in Mexico. These pockets of guests are out there; they just need a place to come together. Make that place your restaurant.

Dig into Facebook Groups

Like most outreach marketing nowadays, social media is your best place to start. Facebook remains a solid platform for groups. Search Groups in your area to help find your target audience. Reaching out to administrators and top posters is a great way to build a relationship. The more you can fill your restaurant with confirmed yesses, the less you have to rely on walk-ins and maybes. Remember, predictability is a good thing.

Show Off Your Gameday Menu Items on Instagram

Of course, as lovely as it would be, booking completely solid from groups and reservations in a sports bar environment is a dream scenario that many of us will never see. This is where Instagram can help fill those empty seats. Today, we rely so much in visual stimuli to guide our decision-making that a platform dedicated to pictures is a gold mine for potential customers.

There are two major rules you must adhere to when using the `Gram:

  1. Your pictures must be pristine. No dimly-lit selfies, no smudges, no avocado toast (it doesn’t look good, no matter what filter you use).
  2. Make sure your hashtag game is on point. You can’t just wing it when it’s time to throw up a pound sign and a few words. Hashtags on Instagram are how your posts generate attraction.

Start off by researching what’s trending in your area before you post. But there are also crucial tags that should go into every post: your city’s (and a few surrounding cities) name, food, and the league or team whose audience you’re trying to attract.

For example, a sports bar in Washington, D.C. trying to drum up numbers for a game between the Capitals and the Penguins, could post a picture of their special hockey night wings special might include the following hashtags in their caption: #food #washingtondc #fairfax #alexandria #food #foodporn #dcfood #nhl #capitals #caps #rockthered #penguins #rivalrynight #wings. Each tag increases the likelihood of your post being seen by the guests looking for what you’re selling.

Though your establishment may be, well, established, emphasizing the new and exciting offerings lets guests see you in a new light. As with all facets of this new endeavor, it’s all about balance. You can modernize while still maintaining roots in the classics. Pairing one of your new dishes with a comforting, familiar staple helps you straddle the line and reach audiences on both sides.

* Study from HEINEKEN USA Internal Research, based on imports’ increased profitability over DPLs