Why would someone want to attend?
Try anything once, but any idea for an event should be vetted
properly. Consider who your target audience is and if the event
makes sense. Does your business want to be associated with a specific
political party? Would an alumni event for a university 2,000
kilometres away actually bring people? Don’t host an event just to
host an event. Host an event that is well planned with a purpose. If
a well-planned event fails, so be it. If you slam a sticker on an odd
Wednesday, don’t get your hopes up.
Is the event one-time or recurring?
A weekly event, such as trivia night, may bring a solid crowd.
However, one-time events often pack an extra punch that draws
additional guests. It is typically the mix of recurring promotions
with unique one-offs that help create a balanced schedule. Find
events and causes that people are passionate about. Give them
another reason to get excited to visit your tasting room.
Is there anything to lose?
There is minimal negative to hosting a public event on a typically
slow night. These are the shifts you should take the “try anything
once” approach. Worst case, it’s a complete failure and you don’t
see any uptick in sales or traffic. Best case, you have created a successful,
new event that results in a better than usual slow night.
Another option to consider is to use a specific private section
of your tasting room for special events. This allows you to be
open to the public and host private events simultaneously. If your
establishment offers a private event space, make sure it is separate
enough from the general public that both groups are able to fully
enjoy their experiences.
Often there are large groups that merely want a space where
everyone can fit, even if it’s among the general public. Imagine a
holiday party of 50 office workers showing up unexpectedly on a
Thursday night. While this would generate a nice bump to sales,
you may be understaffed and underprepared compared to a typical
shift. This could cause frustration to both your staff and the large
party. Make it your policy to encourage large parties to RSVP so
you can be properly prepared.
Whether you are hosting a public or private event, it is important
to make potential patrons aware on both social media and
at the tasting room. Advertise in advance so that a guest does not
show up surprised. That Tuesday regular may not stay a regular
if they show up to a sign reading: “Taproom closed for a private
party.” Do your best to spread the word.
Scott Hunter of Urban Artifact in Cincinnati, Ohio, said,
“Never rent out your primary taproom for private events unless
you fully understand you will likely lose customers permanently
who try to visit you, but were not aware a private event is happening.
Communication is never perfect and it will just frustrate folks
that your normal space isn’t open as listed.” However, if they were
made aware via social media or during a prior weekly visit, they
will be much more understanding. Encourage them to buy some
beer to go in preparation for their “day off.”
It needs to be reinforced that your company should not take
on larger events than you are prepared to handle. The larger the
event, the larger the number of new guests visiting. Take the time
to create a checklist to ensure you can accommodate for special
events, whether private or public. If you are unable to meet the cri-
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