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8 Football Season Promotions That Attract Customers to Bars and Restaurants

It's football season once again, which could be great news for your bar or restaurant. Simply having the big game on is enough to attract customers, but with a little know-how and planning you can do so much more with this golden marketing opportunity.

To many people, football and bars go hand in hand. However, the average customer has a choice of several establishments, so you need to give them a reason to visit yours. These eight relatively simple football season promotions should help you to draw the crowds and give your bottom line a huge boost.

1. Link Special Offers to Your Team's Performance

Ramp up the excitement and interest in the big game by linking it to special offers and discounts. For example, you could offer everyone a free side or a beverage every time your team scores. Exactly what type of offer you go for should depend on your customer base and the nature of your business. This type of promotion not only attracts new customers, it creates a great team atmosphere amongst your employees and your customers.

2. Use Star Power

Watching football on TV is great fun, but nothing beats the excitement of seeing the superstars of the game in the flesh. While you obviously can't bring the game to your establishment, you can do the next best thing: invite former professionals as your special guests.

The opportunity to meet a former NFL star could persuade a whole new group of people to choose your restaurant over the competition. You could set up a merchandise signing event; a Q&A event an hour or so before the game is also perfect for getting people in the mood -- both for football and spending money. Alongside your star event, you could run a series of complementary promotions, including raffles, quizzes and competitions.

3. Host Fantasy Football Events

Fantasy football is now huge in the U.S. and Canada, with more than 36 million people signed up to play. What better way to kick off a new season -- and put some money in your registers -- than by hosting a draft party? There is often a social element involved in playing, so putting on an event in a bar or restaurant makes perfect sense. As well as hosting a draft party, lay on a range of special deals for anyone registered. There are probably several bars and restaurants in your area hosting similar events, so the discounts and offers you provide are crucial.

4. Make a Day of It

The big games at the beginning of a new season are often some of the most exciting. After months of coping without any pro football, fans can finally gorge on the game they love. That first Sunday in particular is massive, so why not devote the entire day to football? Open early, and offer a range of football-themed breakfast and brunch dishes, or maybe serve free coffee for anyone who arrives in a football jersey. Plan the entire day around the action on the TV, and many of your customers will stay for the duration -- and spend lots of money, too.

5. Create a Football Themed Menu

This is your chance to inject a little fun into football Sundays. Create a dedicated football menu at a special price, perhaps including a drink or two. Create new dishes named after your home team or the superstars of the game -- burgers and pizzas are perfect. You can even ask your customers to suggest names for your newest creations. Designing new, football-themed dishes and offering them at great prices is a great way of cultivating a game day atmosphere in your restaurant or bar.

6. Take the Fun Outside

Why keep everyone inside when the sun is shining? Take the football celebrations outside by hosting a tailgate party. Encourage people to dress up, hire some entertainers and fire up the grill. You should be able to sell a huge amount of burgers, steaks and fish directly from the barbecue. And there is a small fortune to be made by setting up an outside bar for your customers to enjoy.

7. Form a Partnership with Your Local Team

Reach out to your local football team, and discuss ways you can work together during game days. Maybe your team will provide a few free tickets in exchange for free food. Or perhaps you can secure a few items of merchandise to use as prizes during the big games. Most NFL teams run initiatives to help local veterans and first responders, so there might be an opportunity to do something together in this regard. Contact your local team, and ask to speak to the person who deals with community and charity projects -- you might be surprised at the opportunities available.

8. Offer Souvenirs

This is your chance to have a little fun while upselling. For example, you could offer beer in a branded glass for a special price. If you're putting on a special meal deal, you can sweeten it for customers by throwing in a free T-shirt or baseball cap. People love free stuff, which is something you can exploit to get people spending a little more.

Creating a buzz around football Sundays is a great way to earn the loyalty of new and existing customers -- while also boosting your restaurant's sales.

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