beer cheers sports bar

As college students across the country return to school, they’re just as likely to huddle up at the local bar as they are for a study group at the library—especially when the home team is in town. But what are they ordering?

Restaurant management platform Upserve has analyzed millions of transactions from thousands of its restaurants across the U.S. to find out. Focusing on sales in bars and restaurants in college football towns from August through December 2017, Upserve has analyzed data from a number of different conferences to determine how fans celebrate touchdowns throughout the country.

The report breaks down best-sellers by seven conferences and 32 teams for individualized insights by region.

In addition to the most popular beers, Upserve’s report also delves into what people are paying for those pints in terms of national average, highest and lowest overall price tags, and the breakdown between craft and commercial prices.

Pint Glass Beer

Regardless of a restaurant’s location or proximity to a college football stadium, beer is universal. Because no matter the home team, your guests will want to celebrate their victories (or drown their sorrows) in a pint or two this fall. This report offers a number of insights into selling beer and attracting a crowd, including tips like these:

  • Host a viewing party. Put those televisions to good use by airing the game live, but kick it up a notch with games and specials to keep guests engaged until the very last play. Offer a different special each quarter, or offer exclusive menu items at halftime. The longer your guests stay interested in the game (and your food), the longer they’ll stay in their seats spending money.
  • No TV? Become the pre- and post-game hotspot. If it’s not possible to air the game live, put all your effort into getting fans ready for gametime with food and drink specials they can enjoy before kickoff. Be sure to advertise in advance, and consider specials for groups or guests wearing the team colors, to attract a crowd. (Party-sized nachos, anyone?) After the game, think about offering specials based on the game’s final score, or send over a free appetizer to guests who can show their ticket stubs.
  • Spread the news. Your restaurant’s promotion is only as good as how you market it. Get potential guests excited by posting on social media in advance of the game to get the word out, and then during the festivities to let everyone see your packed house in real time. If your home team has a special hashtag, use it! Guests will be more likely to support a restaurant that’s run by fellow fans. Consider even notifying the colleges personally so they can direct students and alumni to check out your place.

Interested in learning more?
Download your free report here!

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Meghan is an award-winning journalist and content marketing manager who lives to tell stories. Her favorites include highlighting all things restaurants, from front-of-house hospitality to back-of-house grit. When she's not writing about them, you can find her eating her way through Providence and Boston searching for inspiration with a rye Old Fashioned in hand.