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4 Ways a restaurant’s TV can help boost traffic

Photograph: Shutterstock

Restaurants should always be on the lookout for events and other opportunities that can turn an average night of business into something much more. The most obvious example are sports events like the Super Bowl in January—a sporting event that has become something of an unofficial holiday. The promos, specials and tie-ins are hard to miss as the game approaches. But outside of sports, coming up with some promos tied to large televised events present a compelling opportunity, particularly because the market isn’t as saturated.

According to a survey conducted by Technomic in partnership with DIRECTV, 42% of consumers said that the idea of watching TV while drinking alcoholic beverages in a restaurant or bar sounded appealing. And nearly half said that food specials or discounts were important if they were going to watch TV in a restaurant or bar between meals (or during snacking hours).

Knowing all this, what TV tie-ins could potentially lead to increased traffic and a boost in sales? Below are a few ideas worth exploring.

Awards shows

Awards shows remain one of the few televised non-sporting events that pull in a sizeable rating. In fact, according to Nielsen ratings, the 2018 Academy Awards were the 8th most watched telecast in 2018, and in 2019 the ratings rose by more than three million viewers. Awards shows like these offer great potential. Restaurants can create movie-themed cocktails like these great examples inspired by awards nominees. For instance, last season, Ever Bar in the Kimpton Everly Hotel in Hollywood, Calif., offered the “Bohemian Rhapsody”-inspired drink. This bright pink cocktail featured Black Cow vodka, kummel (a caraway liqueur), lime juice, orgeat and butterfly pea flower, garnished with a mustache and aviator sunglasses (in homage to Freddie Mercury, of course).

And there are always inspired menu items that can be offered, particularly in the appetizer/small plates sector. All in all, awards shows are a fun chance to drive traffic with promotional tie-ins.

Election nights

Although it would likely be bad for business to declare any sort of political allegiance, elections still offer restaurants a chance to drive traffic and create promotions to boost business around watch parties. One of the easiest election promotions is to offer a discount or a special for anyone who shows up wearing an “I Voted” sticker. It’s non-partisan and pro-democracy, rewarding those who took the time out to vote. It’s also a great way to encourage patronage from people who might be looking to hang out and watch election results. Coupling such promotions with a watch party atmosphere with themed appetizers, snacks and drinks can be a great way to boost business on a Tuesday night. And although presidential elections only come around once every four years, there’s still mid-term and local elections that pop up in the meantime.

Game show streaks

Not every opportunity has to be planned out a year in advance. Sometimes an opportunity will simply pop up seemingly out of nowhere. For instance, no one knew that James Holzhauer would go on a historic Jeopardy! run for two months. Nearly every weekday during the winning streak, fans tuned in to see what would happen next. Times like these are a perfect opportunity for a TV tie-in. Simply by letting people know the show will be on and offering some themed appetizers or a trivia contest of some sort, restaurants can bank on winning streaks like these, and these promotions can be planned last-minute if needed.

TV finales

TV finales are perfect times to put out the call. The buildup over Game of Thrones’ final season is a great example of this. For instance, Buffalo Wild Wings offered Dragon Fire Wings, while TGI Fridays and Shake Shack offered an entire Game of Thrones-themed menu.

Catching an unexpected cultural wave can be tricky, but the payoff can be huge. To learn more about how TV can help boost business, visit https://www.directv.com.

This post is sponsored by DIRECTV for BUSINESS℠

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