Customers visit bars to socialize, meet a date, or just enjoy high-quality cocktails, pints of beer, and glasses of wine.
But even with the right atmosphere and decor, it can be difficult to hold customers’ attention for an extended period of time. This is especially true given the level of competition not only in the bar industry but with home entertainment options like Netflix.
So, how do bars and pubs step up their “game” (so to speak)? There are various entertainment options for bars that can help generate revenue by keeping customers occupied and engaged. These entertainment options can be as simple as a dartboard, Skee-Ball machine, or as elaborate as themed nights.
Beyond Paint Nite
If you’ve paid attention to bar trends, you’ve probably heard of Paint Nite where customers visit a bar or restaurant and paint and drink. It’s as simple as that.
“Yaymaker is the next evolution of Paint Nite, the company that originated the paint and sip concept in local bars and restaurants,” says Dan Hermann, Co-Founder of Yaymaker. “As a multi-experience company, Yaymaker offers a variety of experience options across North America where people can laugh, drink, connect, and try their hand at something new.”
There’s no cost for bars to host Yaymaker events. “The only contribution on the part of the bar is space to host the event and a server to attend to guests,” says Hermann.
Any bar can host a Yaymaker event as long as they have space for a party of up to 25 people. “We are always looking for new venues to add to our experience of getting people together and experiencing new places while creating something they are proud of,” says Hermann.
Events like this are designed to bring incremental food and beverage purchases, new customers, and a lively and fun atmosphere to bars and restaurants. “Our events are flexible and customizable and can be held anytime,” says Hermann. “Many bars find them a great way to improve business on days and nights that are typically slower.”
All Yaymaker events benefit from both local and national support to drive attendance. Prospective bar patrons simply have to visit yaymaker.com to find out the location of the next local Paint Nite. Every event includes instruction from expert hosts, and guests don’t need to bring anything as all materials are provided.
“We work with local entrepreneurs who own and manage their Yaymaker business in each market and are able to leverage their local network to bring business to our partner venues,” explains Hermann. They also invest in national media to support awareness of and attendance at events. “Many of our attendees cite the opportunity to try out a bar in their neighborhood as a benefit of a Yaymaker event.”
Event brands like Yaymaker evolved from Paint Nite and Plant Nite as a response to consumer demand for more fun, shared experiences. “Yaymaker appeals to those who love to try new things, are highly social, and believe that shared experiences are an important way to connect with friends, their community, and the world,” says Hermann. “With new experiences continuously coming online, we are giving these people even more opportunities to get out and get together.”
Yaymaker offers a number of different guest experiences, including:
Original Paint Nite: This is the classic painting bar experience. Everyone paints their own interpretation of one painting while they drink.
Plant Nite: Customers learn the step-by-step creation of a mini Zen garden.
Design a Sign: Instead of painting, participants create personalized signs using stencils and their own creativity.
Candle Maker: Guests craft their own candles using soy-based wax, essential oils, and their own decorations.
Flower Workshop: Guests get directions on how to design and create beautiful arrangements using fresh-cut flowers.
The brand is constantly evolving beyond the locally crafted events currently hosted. They also have plans to launch new events soon. “Ideas for new creative experiences come from everywhere,” says Hermann. “We listen to our guests’ feedback to hear what they love and what they are looking for next. Our local partners and hosts live to bring fun, creative ideas to life.”
Retro is the Name of the Game
Beyond paint nights and other similar experiences, bars are also looking to bring in customers (and keep them occupied) with classic bar games and photo booths. The leading distributor of location-based entertainment equipment is Betson Enterprises.
“We specialize in layout and design, carefully selecting the games that work best with each location,” says James Liess, Senior Director of Marketing for Betson Enterprises. “For bars, patrons tend to favor the more retro or old school games, but games can still have that classic feel and be completely new.”
Betson’s entertainment equipment includes everything from arcade games, boxing games, mini bowling, air hockey, and photo booths, to shuffleboard, pinball machines, Skee-Ball, jukeboxes, and electronic dart machines.
Betson offers a wide array of products and games from pinball machines to a massive version of Space Invaders. “We created a landing page specifically for Bar Arcades with info on games that make sense for that market,” says Liess.
Although bars can choose any game from their product catalog to add to their arcade, the games featured on their landing page were carefully selected by their knowledgeable sales team who are experienced in working with bars, restaurants, and hospitality locations all around the nation. “These products not only brought in more revenue but kept patrons staying longer and purchasing food and drinks,” says Liess.
These gaming options also give people a reason to get out and socialize. “Bars that can offer differentiators can stand out from the crowd,” says Liess. “There is a trend of bars adding games to provide their customers additional entertainment options.
“By purchasing bar games, bars are adding additional entertainment that requires very little hands-on activity from owners or their staff. It also lends itself to promotional nights including Free Game Night or Pinball Tournaments that give customers a reason to come in on a slow night,” continues Liess. “Some games also include an advertising feature, such as Space Invaders Frenzy and Big Buck HD, which allows you to promote an event or drink special.”
What’s old is new again, and new takes on classic titles like Space Invader Frenzy, Pac-Man Pixel Bash, Jurassic Park Arcade, and Centipede are big hits. “There is nostalgia for some of these games and the experiences we had as kids,” says Liess, who explains he’s seen a trend in the popularity of retro games.
Also, with new nostalgia-based movies such as Ready Player One, younger adults have become more interested in the classic arcade games, and if they can enjoy the nightlife while playing the latest game in their neighborhood bar, all the better.
However, Liess cautions owners not to turn their backs on new games. “When you just focus on retro games, though, you’re missing out on the opportunity
of some really great new games like Injustice, Walking Dead, or even Buck Hunter HD,” he says. “These games will be crowd pleasers gathering people to take part.”
By Christopher Osburn
Photos (top to bottom): Yaymaker, Orange Photography (Betson Enterprises)