March madness is quickly approaching, and if you own a sports restaurant or bar, you should be a fan. This event is known as a huge “score big” opportunity for restaurants and bars across the country. March Madness is a highly televised event for NCAA Men’s and Women’s basketball tournaments. This year, the tournament begins on March 12th for selection Sunday and ends on April 4th. Across the country, millions of people will be traveling to restaurants and bars to watch their favorite teams play and hopefully make it to the championship game. March Madness is the Super Bowl, World Series, and World Cup of College Basketball. It gives people an event to get out of their homes and enjoy great food, drinks, and company. It’s important for restaurants and bars to prepare for such an influx in potential customers. Checkout eight questions with answers that may help you get your restaurant method to the madness.
1. How Many TVs Should I Have?
March Madness is a huge event for television advertising revenue. If these advertisers are spending so much, you know they are expecting a large amount of eyes on their ads. Additionally, different games are shown on different television networks. You need to be able to show multiple games at once coming from TBS, CBS, TNT, and truTV. Before March Madness starts, you want to ensure you have enough televisions, and the more the better. Especially during the first and second rounds of March Madness when there are a lot of games going on. People don’t like to strain themselves or reach over people when they are trying to watch their favorite team.
2. What Equipment Should I Have On Hand?
During March Madness, your restaurant or bar can get filled to capacity, and it’s important to have equipment on hand to handle that. It all starts with automating some of your processes and investing in a POS system. Today’s POS system comes with EMV payment security, ingredient level inventory management, iPad functionality, and a central location to manage all of your sales and transactions in a high paced environment. Now instead of concentrating all of your efforts on processes you can take some extra time to ensure your guests are happy.
3. What Specials/Events Should I Have?
Having just a bunch of TVs in your restaurant or bar won’t keep customers around for hours watching games and purchasing more menu items. They need a little more to keep them content and not running to the bar next door to sit with friends who say they have more going on. Try creating bracket pools at your restaurant or bar that encourage customer participation. Bracket pools are like fantasy football leagues. You can hand out prizes at the championship game and do raffles during certain days of the tournament. Any winners you have are great for repeat business, and promotional efforts. Some good examples of giveaways or prizes might be TVs, money, free meals or drinks, or even coupons.
4. How Should I Structure The Menu?
Just like being at the Super Bowl, people like easy food items. Keep in mind all ages and genders come and watch March Madness. People want to order food items that don’t away attention from the game. Try looking into fried or easy to eat foods that pair well with event inspired drinks. For the menu, you can customize food and drink names to certain sports teams or different bracket names like First, Sweet Sixteen, Elite, and Final Four. Most adults drink beer while they watch March Madness, but adding some character to your menu always gives off positive energy to the customer.
5. How Should I Plan My Marketing?
It’s important to put out sometime of marketing material for every single game. Continuous marketing allows people to know at all times that your restaurant or bar is the place to go during March Madness. Some good marketing outlets to use would be social media, e-blasts, and direct mail. If you’re on a tight budget, start with social media. You can spend just a few dollars on promoted posts and also free posting that will more than effectively get the word out. That way, your brand stays in your restaurant patron’s mind and they keep coming back for the whole tournament.
6. Should I Stock Up On Supplies?
Whether its food or bar inventory, it’s important to stock up on both. When games start getting exciting, people start eating and drinking more, and inviting more people. It can also help to stock up on serving equipment so you can easily recover after extreme plays and wild celebrations.
7. Should I Root For The Home Team?
It’s smart to root for the home or most popular team especially as it gets closer to the championship game. No matter where you are located, word-of-mouth can spread like wildfire that you are the place to go for that team during the final four. One thing you can do is offer drink specials if the home team wins.
8. How Should My Staff Act During March Madness?
It’s important to have an upbeat and positive atmosphere in your restaurant or bar during March Madness. However, when there is alcohol flowing and opposing teams are playing; things can get easily out of hand. It’s important to tell your staff to keep calm and keep conversation to a minimum with customers. Additionally, it can be a good idea to tell staff to leave any non-productive game banter at home.