How pub owners can make the most of dry January

Megan Lipscombe

Megan Lipscombe

Head of Marketing

Without putting a dampener on the Christmas festivities, it’s not to be ignored that January is fast approaching and with that comes many of us taking part in dry January. Rather than seeing this as a negative and accepting that it means a quieter time for pub owners, why not use dry January to your advantage? Put plans in place to incentivise those taking part to complete the alcohol free stint, continue visiting your pub and celebrate with those who make it to the end. On that note, here are 6 of our top tips on how pub owners can make the most of dry January.

Incentivise those taking part

It’s a challenge for most, so take the opportunity to incentivise those taking part to keep it up for the entire month. For example, you could introduce a loyalty scheme where you issue a stamp for every alcohol free drink bought. And at the end of the month, those who have collected 6 stamps receive a free drink of their choice. Not only does this reward those taking part in dry January, it gives them a reason to visit your pub during January and beyond. 

You could also consider other offers such as an alcohol free happy hour or a free drink with every meal. January is typically a month where customers are counting the pennies, and January 2023 is certainly going to be no exception. So introducing cost saving offers may be just the incentive your customers need to pay you a visit.

Alcohol free events 

Consider how you can tailor your events to suit those who are giving up drinking for January. Events generally are good for encouraging new and repeat custom, so if you also cater for those going alcohol free in January, you won’t miss out on what could potentially be a smaller audience. If cocktails are your thing, consider a cocktail making masterclass which offers an alcohol free option.

You could even encourage more people to try alcohol free options by running a ‘blind tasting’ night for those who haven’t given up the booze. Line up a selection of drinks with their alcohol free alternatives and get customers to compare and contrast. This could also be a good way of identifying which alternatives to alcohol your customers like the most, and help inform your purchasing decisions for the rest of the year. 

Support the trend

Why not support those giving up alcohol for January by donating a percentage of your drink profits to charity? Not only does this look great for your corporate social responsibilities, but it will be a draw for people who want to get the very best from their alcohol free month too.

Offer more alcohol free alternatives

Over the last few years alcohol free drinks have become increasingly popular. With 1 in 3 pub visits now alcohol free, this ‘trend’ certainly isn’t just limited to January. Alcohol free beer on tap and the use of alcohol free spirits in cocktails has become the norm. So if you haven’t already, take January as an opportunity to expand your alcohol free offering and make low and no alcohol part of your wider strategy.

Post dry January event

Reward those who did (and didn’t) take part with an event at the end of the month. Whether or not your customers have given up drinking for January, why not celebrate it coming to an end by throwing an event. The event could be anything from a music night or pub quiz to a beer festival or a comedy night. You decide what will appeal to your customers. When they start drinking again, give them a reason to choose your pub over someone else’s.

Make more of your food offering

Who says bottomless brunch needs to be all about alcohol? Whether you already offer a bottomless deal or it would be a new addition; why not introduce alternative bottomless deals in January? This could be the introduction of an unlimited food deal or a bottomless soft drinks option. Providing an alternative for the non drinkers will mean they are more likely to encourage their friends and family who are drinking to visit your pub rather than a competitor during January.

Crucially, whatever you decide to do it’s important to consider how this will influence demand and therefore the number of staff you will need working and when. Be sure to plan any additional promotions or marketing activity in advance and ensure your staff schedules are inline with any fluctuating demand.

For more information on how Rotaready can help you build your staff schedules to meet demand every day of the year, email us at team@rotaready.com or drop us a message via the live chat!

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