5 ways to boost bar business in Dry January and Sober October

Editorial Team

3 min read
Bartender prepping behind the bar

Some bar and restaurant owners dread the coming of Sober October and Dry January. These month-long sobriety challenges are growing in popularity, and the reduced demand for alcoholic drinks can translate to revenue loss.

So, how do you stimulate business when the craft beers and espresso martinis aren’t flowing year-round?

We’ve identified 5 ways your business can benefit from the alcohol-free social trend. When you embrace Dry January and Sober October instead of ignoring them, you’ll discover opportunities to expand your community, build your brand, and grow your business.

Form a welcome committee for dry drinkers

Consider the many reasons people choose an alcohol-free social life, such as designated driving, sobriety, and health concerns. If your establishment is known as a welcoming and accommodating space for all–regardless of drinking habits–you’ll stand out from the competition and attract more business.

Encourage your staff to create Dry January drinks

Notice how much shelf space at the store is dedicated to mocktails and premium mixers? Consumers want high-end ingredients whether or not they choose to drink alcohol. Make sure your bar features sophisticated beverages to delight and exceed customer expectations. Expand your Sober October mocktails beyond sodas and seltzer. Incorporate flavor-forward ingredients like chai tea, kombucha, or tart vinegar shrubs. Experiment with seasonal tastes including apple, maple, and the ever-popular pumpkin spice. Dry drinker guests will appreciate and pay a premium when you present non-alcoholic drinks as perfectly balanced celebratory treats. You could also develop a mocktail and food pairing menu.

READ: 3 reasons why you should offer a mocktail menu at your restaurant or bar

Keep the good vibes flowing

Streamline your business with Clover’s bar and brewery POS solutions. Add the BarPro app to your Clover POS system for easy access to thousands of recipes–customize them to help your bar staff work efficiently. No need to interrupt the flow of a celebratory meal on the patio. Clover easily accepts all payment types and offers contactless transactions including pre-set tipping calculations. Read more about Clover POS solutions for bars and breweries

Focus on alcohol-free wellness 

In addition to expanding your drink and food menus during Sober October, your bar or restaurant could leverage the “wellness” theme for promotions. For instance, host a 5K or fun run with healthy treats and special prizes. This could include loyalty-building Clover gift cards that customers might redeem later in the month.

Dry January is a perfect time for spreading kindness 

Your bar or restaurant could also host fundraisers for charity during the months of sober challenges. Consider a trivia night to benefit school programs or supporting an animal adoption event. When you develop special themes that open up the event to a family-friendly crowd, you can attract new customers and generate positive word-of-mouth.

A spirit-free evening doesn’t mean an evening without spirit. Clover works proactively with business owners to identify challenges and pair them with the best solutions. Sober October and Dry January may seem problematic. But, if you approach them with care and creativity now, the results might uncover exciting business opportunities for the future. 

To learn more about how Clover can help you manage your restaurant or bar easier, contact a Clover Business Consultant today.

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