Michael Maxwell – Partner, Blue Orbit Restaurant Consulting
Pop-up themed events are a popular concept around holidays that tap into people’s love of celebrating and enjoying drinks in a festive atmosphere. Pop-up bars and restaurants have sprung up all over the U.S. in the last few years. But Christmas-themed pop-up bars featuring over the top décor, holiday-inspired cocktails, and nostalgic energy have attracted quite the attention around the holidays. Let’s take a look at Miracle, a brand that has created a distinctive type of pop-up bar and attracted quite a bit of attention. Let’s look at what Miracle pop-up bars are, their benefits, and how you can apply this fun and profitable concept to your building using any holiday.
What Is This Thing Called the Miracle Holiday Pop-Up Bar?
The Miracle pop-up bar franchise concept started in New York City six years ago, decked out with festive décor, featuring holiday-themed drinks. It has since franchised its way into almost all 50 states and several international locations. This holiday-themed bar is garnished with Christmas decorations wall-to-wall. It’s an ingenious business idea for several reasons:
- People are naturally more inclined to visit a Christmas-themed bar around the holidays.
- A holiday pop-bar can last for a while as the holiday season has extended to over a month.
- The business is almost 100% alcohol sales which has a low cost of goods and requires less labor than other themed events.
Adopt the Miracle Pop-up Bar Concept for Your Own Bar
The popularity of pop-up bars can cut into other restaurants’ business during the holidays. Imagine a group of people looking for a suitable location for their party or just an informal gathering. They will naturally gravitate to the festive and decorative atmosphere of a Miracle pop-up bar, which means they are less likely to come to your (not so festive) bar. Rather than sharing the profit with holiday-themed pop-up bars, take a cue from Miracle bar and adopt a Christmas-themed bar.
One option is to participate in an existing pop-up bar franchise such as Miracle which is a one-of-a-kind magical experience that can you never be duplicated on your own. However, you can reap many of the same benefits by staying independent and borrowing some of these notions. If you already have a bar, you can attract these customers yourself. And if they love your food, you have the edge over other establishments. With a little planning and effort, this isn’t a difficult task.
Creating Your Own Holiday-themed Bar or Restaurant
It is likely that you already do some decorating for the holidays. Applying the pop-up bar concept to your restaurant is taking things a step further. You want to make your bar or restaurant a top destination for holiday revelers. Here are some key points to keep in mind:
Build Your Own Pop-up Bar
Depending on your establishment’s size and style, you might already have a bar that you can give a little holiday makeover to. If you have a large space, you might even dedicate a spare room for the pop-up bar.
Decorate for the Holidays
You naturally want to have festive holiday decorations. What is important is to have some eye-catching decorations that are visible to patrons everywhere. We are talking trees, wreaths, branches with ornaments, reindeer, stockings, Santa Claus lights, and anything you can think of that would bring the holiday spirit out of even the grouchiest grinch. Go wild with the decorations – decorate your tables with candles, festive placemats, napkins and more! Over the top and complete whimsy are key.
Create a Special Menu
Create a holiday menu filled with themed cocktails and sweet treats!
- Christmas cocktails are a must. In some cases, you can repurpose drinks by renaming them or adding some holiday flair through ingredients like nutmeg and eggnog. Warm spicy or buttered drinks and cider-based cocktails also have a distinctive holiday flair, while gin drinks remind you of the smell of a beautifully decorated spruce. Serving them in holiday glasses and mugs makes cocktails more fun, even if they are mismatched patterns.
- Holiday food specials. Have some fun with this! Rather than your typical nut bowl bar snack, put out Reindeer Chow, Rice Crispy Treats, sausage balls and cheese logs, etc. Anything to bring out that inner child reaching for the candy dish while mom and dad aren’t looking or the ghost of Christmas past.
- Presentation is crucial. Appearance is everything! Make your space Insta-worthy. Gift-wrap doors, hang colorful string lights, cover the place with tinsel, and get creative with your cocktail garnishes!
- Don’t forget the music. Upbeat holiday pop songs played loud lead to “pop up sing-a-longs” and video screens let you know that Mariah Carey is about to get the night started.
Get the Word Out About Your Holiday Themed Pop-Up Bar
Promote on Social Media
Your Facebook, Instagram, and other social media outlets are perfect for promoting your holiday specials. Encourage groups and parties to attend by offering specials and package deals. Turn your holiday pop up into an event on Facebook which guests can rsvp to. They will automatically be sent reminders.
Create a Web Page
Build a separate holiday web page that discusses your menu, hours, specials, and upcoming events. It does not have to be elaborate, though you should include a few engaging images. You can then link to your site in your emails and social media posts.
Holiday Pop Up Bars
You can learn a lot about holiday marketing by studying the pop-up bar phenomenon. If you have a restaurant or bar, you can apply some of these ideas and reap the benefits. You do not necessarily need to build a pop-up bar from scratch, and you don’t have to limit your creativity to Christmas. Other celebrations like Mardi Gras, Halloween, and St Patrick’s Day lend themselves to a month-long celebration in an appropriately themed bar. You should do as much as possible to tap into the holiday spirit and make your restaurant a fun destination for customers eager to celebrate with great food, drinks, and a charming holiday atmosphere.