Some think that slow nights in the bar industry are simply part of the business. Successful owners see these nights as an opportunity to attract a crowd without as much competition. One way to energize these down days is with bar trivia.
You probably have everything you need already. A microphone, sound speakers, and enthusiastic volunteers on your staff to take initiative. Point them in the right direction with this quick and easy guide on organizing a bar trivia night that will keep people coming back.
Your first thought might be to assign the role of host to your bartender or wait staff. This simple solution only works if the person is right for the job. The ideal host has a good sense of humor, is charismatic, and quick-thinking. All the charm in the world won’t be enough if the host can’t diffuse a tricky situation like a rule dispute. The right host can keep the night moving while also keeping it fun.
Finding someone who can come up with the questions themselves also keeps the bar trivia night simple. If the right employee won’t volunteer, consider hiring someone for a modest fee, even if it’s just for the first month. It may seem like a luxury, but a strong host can win over a crowd and keep them coming back. You can’t put a price on that.
Coming up with questions for a trivia night may seem simple. A quick Google search returns dozens of pages with links to free trivia, but what questions are right for your audience?
Find a wide breadth of topics that caters to your typical demographic. One thing to consider is that niche topics are fun, but cannot sustain an entire night. For example, Harry Potter Trivia Night might attract a couple die-hards, but it could alienate casual diners. However, including a question about Harry Potter in a 2000’s themed trivia night can be more inclusive.
Five rounds with between 10 and 12 questions is the optimal length. A simple way to keep score is to print out sheets with all the questions and distribute them to each table. Each table is a single team. Find a reasonable team size limit such as six to eight people, but don’t discourage lone wolves or couples who prefer smaller teams. After each round, have each team pass their sheet to another table as the host takes up the answers. This prevents cheating and gives players an idea of the competition. Make sure to ban teams that use their smartphones. It is important to not cut them any slack as it could jeopardize the entire night.
Another way to prevent participants from using Google-assistance is to throttle your WiFi speed during the event. You can easily change the bandwidth of your WiFi using the venue settings in the Yelp WiFi dashboard.
You got people through the door by promoting the event, but how do you keep up the momentum of a successful trivia night?
Prizes are an easy way to keep people engaged. Don’t make it to extravagant or the atmosphere can get too serious. Free appetizers or drinks are perfect incentives. If you want to give away something more appealing, try awarding it to the trivia team with the most success over the entire month. Simply track the results for each team at the end of the night and award points based on their success. Loyal customers will come back the following week to add to that total if a $100 gift card is on the line.
Reward the regulars by taking their input on possible topics. Leave a suggestion jar to collect all the suggestions to review for future weeks. Make a calendar that outlines the coming weeks and each theme. Trivia-goers will be excited each time to see if you included their ideas.
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