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Winter Olympics Torch Relay

How many people watch the olympics? Judging by the 13% increase in viewers from 2010’s 1.82 billion to 2014’s 2.1 billion, it’s safe to say most of the country will be tuning in. If you show the games, the guests will come.

How can you and your restaurant take advantage of this influx of winter sports enthusiasts?

Some 22.2 million U.S. adults got rid of cable in 2017. That’s 22.2 million people who will have to stream the Olympics through the NBC app or find a restaurant that is streaming the games. That’s a lot of curling fans looking for a beer and a broadcast.

The Winter Olympics is a perfect example of something we can tie in that will be widely talked about on platforms like Facebook and Twitter.

So how can you use the Olympics to increase sales?

Dates and Times for the Winter Olympics

Perhaps the most widely entertaining aspect of the Winter Olympics, the opening ceremonies, are on Friday, Feb. 9. The closing ceremonies are Sunday, Feb. 25, giving you a full month to make the most out of the events.

This year’s Winter Olympics is in Pyeongchang, South Korea, which means a 14-hour time difference on the East Coast and a 17-hour time difference on the West Coast. While it may lead to many competitions happening while you’re closed, games happening in the morning give you an opportunity to drive more guests in for brunch or breakfast. With NBC airing events live for the first time, you can make the most out of it by finding live event times that work for your restaurant. Don’t worry though, they will still be hosting the nightly broadcasts where they major highlights and games so you can always drive in the dinner guests.  

Nothing brings people together like some fierce competition over a cold beer.

Driving Customers to Your Restaurant

What can you do to drive guests to watch the games in your restaurant? Restaurant and brewery owners share how they’re going for the gold this year.

Urban Village Taproom
Urban Village Brewing Co.

Urban Village Brewing Co. in Northern Liberties, Pennsylvania, is brewing up a new gold medal beer just in time for the Olympics. Head brewer and co-owner Dave Goldman is releasing a New England-style IPA loaded with oats and late-addition hops from around the globe. Influenced by the winter games, this beer brings together hops from all over the world like Europe, Australia, and of course, the USA. The IPA, which is not named yet, will get to stand on the podium on Feb. 9 as Urban Village announces the new name during the Opening Ceremony, something they’ll show on the multiple televisions around their bar. Goldman says, “We love to have fun with our beers and are always thinking of new ways to engage our guests. Nothing brings people together like some fierce competition over a cold beer.”

Olympic-Themed Promotions

Don’t have a brewery to whip up a new beer? Make it easy for your staff and offer a discount for guests specifically coming in to watch the games.

Landmark Americana, a sports bar with locations around Philadelphia and New Jersey, will offer $5 off their guests’ checks of $20 or more for anyone wearing USA-themed clothing.

Cindy's Rooftop
Cindy’s Rooftop

Want to keep guests coming in throughout the Olympics without constantly running social media promotions? Try a drink special made specifically for the games.

“During the slower months, we like to run fun specials that get people together but aren’t huge dining commitments,” says Bryan Gerrish, executive vice president of Weber Grill Restaurants, a steakhouse and barbecue chain. “The Winter Olympics is a perfect example of something we can tie in that will be widely talked about on platforms like Facebook and Twitter.”

Weber Grill Restaurants will have several Olympics-themed promotions, Gerrish says.

“To help increase bar sales throughout the month of February, we decided to offer something for guests to warm up with while watching the winter Olympics. We’ll be running a cocktail special for the entirety of the games that we named the ‘Torched Rum Cocktail’ to avoid breaking any branding rules,” he says. “We also plan to broadcast the opening ceremony on Feb. 9 at 7 pm. This is something we will not only promote on social media and to our loyalty program members, but it may get customers, who just happen to be dining with us that evening, talking about our Olympics cocktail special, hopefully leading to a little word-of-mouth marketing.”

Weber Grill
Weber Grill Restaurant

Cindy’s rooftop bar in Chicago also has an Olympic-inspired cocktail that dances around the branding rules. It’s called ‘White Tiger, Burning Bright,’ inspired by the Pyeongchang mascot, Soohorang. Their spirit guide Nandini Khaund’s White Tiger, Burning Bright cocktail is a riff on a French 75 with notes of honeydew, cantaloupe, tangerine, hibiscus, and lemon.

Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse in Boston plays off the idea of earning medals, creating a limited time menu just for the Olympic games. Gold, silver and bronze menu options are available, and each boast delicately chosen items that make them stand out from the other competition. The food items are the same for each option they offer, but what changes is the finer details, the wines, the subtle additions that earn that extra tenth of a point to make it to the podium.

Ensure delivery and Online Ordering is Set Up

With more folks opting to sit in front of the TV at home and catch the games, you’ll want a strategy to reach them. Aside from offering Olympic-sized deals, check out these 8 ways to build delivery from the National Restaurant Association.  Pizza delivery represents 29% of the U.S. quick service restaurant pizza category. While this time of year is typically the slowest for sales, the Olympics is expected to drive sales through the roof.

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Megan is always adventuring. Whether it is simply wandering around Newport, RI or venturing off across the world, she is constantly looking for a new travel destination. While she may not be able to tell you the exact cities she has visited, you can expect a play by play of everything she ate.
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