What a Great Excuse for a Party!

nyeveWhen I worked the Montréal bar scene, the three highest revenue days of the year were, in order: Super Bowl Sunday; St. Patrick’s Parade day; and New Year’s Eve.  But New Year’s Eve was the most profitable, because we charged admission.  For the other two events, most bars actually offered freebies (like Irish Coffee or live music for St. Pat’s, or complimentary chili or pizza for the Super Bowl) to entice customers.  This cut into the margins, obviously.

It also made St Pat’s and Super Bowl bar-hopping  days, when you would visit several establishments in the course of the day.  This was for three reasons: they begin in the afternoon (unlike New Year’s), so there’s more time to move around; there are no cover charges; and these events don’t usually involve getting dressed up.

New Year’s is different.  You plan to go somewhere (and stay there) for the evening, usually with a crowd of friends.  You probably put on some fancy clothes, which might make it difficult to walk around Montréal sidewalks in December.  And it’s an evening-only affair, sometimes not starting until ten or later.

So on New Year’s, you can sell tickets to pay for the “freebies” like party hats and Champagne at midnight and snack food, etc.  But this creates competition:  if you are going to commit to spending the whole evening in one place, and pay money to do so, how do you pick the right place?

Here’s my free advice to bar owners:  have a “Leap Second” event.  2008 is going to be a Leap Second year, where an additional second is added to the world’s atomic clocks to make up for the gradual slowing of the earth’s spin.  A Leap Second is different than a Leap Year, where an extra day is added every four years to account for the fact that it actually takes about 365.25 days for the earth to orbit the sun.

So you can say your bar is having TWO New Year’s Eves – one at 23:59:60 (note that you don’t usually find a number higher than 59 in the seconds column) and one at 00:00:00.  Then again, maybe explaining it all will be too complicated.  Perhaps the good ol’ free jello shots would be easier.



2 Responses to “What a Great Excuse for a Party!”

  1. netdud Says:

    You could go one step further with this. Because the added second is an arbitrary thing, added at an arbitrary time, in order to fit in with reality, there is NO REASON that you have to agree with when it gets added.

    It might actually be more fun to add that second at your own arbitrary point.

    You could host a “Trip to the Future” party at your bar, and pick a point at which you reset your watches, thereby placing yourself one second ahead of the rest of the world until they catch up at the end of Dec 31.

    You can theme all of your charges: The cover is the cost of travel, your food and drink are tastes of the future. You could even theme the second you are gaining–use it to think of a charity, or put your local sports team ahead, or say something that doesn’t count, or send a message to the future, or what have you.

    You could also have badges or shirts or whatever made up that say “I’m way ahead of you” or “I’m from the future” or “I’ll give you a second to catch up” or something clever like that. With your logo on it.

    If you do it separately like this, you get ANOTHER event out of it. And that might be a good way to entice people to a bar at the end of December. I know from playing in bands that those are bad days to get people out.

  2. Stephen Brooks Says:

    Par usual, Netdud has trumped my idea. From now on, all bar managers looking for good ideas should go straight to his site.

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