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How to make your bar stand out from the crowd with competitive socialising

Recently, bars have begun offering more than just a place to socialise, with social entertainment venues combining drinking and eating with gaming. These places are gaining popularity in both the US and UK, with Europe quickly following behind, and are a great way to make your bar an immersive experience.

“Often called arcade bars, the trend of competitive socialising has become increasingly popular as they offer customers a vivid environment mixed with interactive entertainment. They add a new layer to what ten-pin bowling and arcades previously offered,” says Benjamin Müller, our Key Account Manager in DACH.

“The venues are varied too. For example, Electric Shuffle provides the opportunity to play shuffleboard, Flight Club offers darts, and Topgolf invites visitors to have a game of golf while enjoying drinks and food,” continues Benjamin.

The history of competitive socialising

Back in the 70s, bars at student unions were used as testing grounds for coin-operated machines. So, the concept of gaming and drinking has been around for a long time.

However, these original games have now been given a new lease of life, often incorporated with augmented reality (AR). For instance, you can now get darts and golf in AR which makes the games more immersive and adds another competitive element between groups.

“Post-lockdown, audiences are now making up for missed moments with friends and family by embracing food-and-fun. The amusements attract the audience, and the bars and food keep them there, helping owners make more money. Some places even have live DJs, adding to the overall atmosphere,” adds Benjamin.

In 2021, a survey was carried out by KAM Media, which found that:

  • 41% of Gen Z (aged 8-23) have been to a competitive socialising venue before and 47% would like to go in the future
  • 29% of Millennials (aged 26-41) have been before and 60% would like to go in the future

A study by Harris Group also revealed that 72% of Millennials would rather spend money on experiences over materials items, something which competitive socialising provides.

Consider the environment of your bar

“It’s not all about the games though, the environment is just as important, including the look and feel of your venue,” comments Benjamin.

If your bar is well-designed and provides an amazing experience, it can make for impressive social media content from visitors. Not only is this a great free marketing tool, but Millennials in particular are known for having a ‘fear of missing out’ (FOMO), which dictates how they spend their time. This means it’s essential to provide an experience that can’t be missed.

“The food and drink you provide also adds to this overall experience, so needs to be of high-quality. Often, the drinks and snacks are where most revenue is made in these types of establishments, compared to the games element, so it needs to be enjoyable,” says Benjamin.

At True, we can help you provide ice-cold beverages and enhance your dishes by keeping your ingredients fresh.

Here are just some of the ways True can elevate your bar with our commercial refrigeration solutions, so that you can compete with other new social entertainment venues:

Customise your bar to match your brand

Branding to match your bar

“One thing all these new entertainment bars have in common is that everything looks like it belongs. Visual elements are well thought out, from décor to fittings and fixtures,” notes Benjamin.

This is especially important for those aged 18-30 as they’ll want to document their evening on social media.

It’s essential to consider this age group when launching or redesigning your bar. Before COVID-19, the BBC reported that people aged 26-30 were the biggest spenders in the UK, with the average night out costing this age group £75.24. This is much higher in larger cities, such as London.

To make your bar stand out, True’s GDM and TVM’s allow you to customise your refrigeration with your own graphics. Using our customisation service, you can even have your refrigeration match your brand colours or as a focus piece to draw your customer’s eyes.

Stand-out lighting

You want your bar to catch the attention of customers as soon as they arrive.

Thankfully, this can be possible with True’s TruLumina®. This next-generation lighting solution can be tailored, offering 14 unique adjustable colour options for interior product illumination. Add this to our TBR or TDR units to help make your bar’s beverages stand out.

Plus, having a well-presented bar won’t just be appreciated by your customers, but also help staff feel it’s a great place to work.

Visually appealing

To make customers’ lives easier when choosing a beverage, they need to be able to see everything your bar offers. It’s even more critical when your bar is busy, and you need to serve quickly.

Our TVM fridges make this easy with their ‘thin bezel’ swing doors and no centre mullion for maximum product visibility. They also have cantilever shelves which can hold more weight. This allows for better beverage display, which means the customer’s view isn’t obstructed by interior pillars or metalwork. It also aids staff when they go to retrieve the product.

Ensure your beverages are served at the perfect temperature

Cold, every time

While we know a good bar experience can mean something different to each person, everyone can agree nothing tops a cool, crisp beverage.

To deliver this, you need to have trust in your bar refrigeration, especially when serving alcohol.

“Beer needs to be served at the correct temperature, because if it’s warm it can lose key characteristics. This can cause your customers to move onto the next bar if they’re left unsatisfied. With our range of bar refrigeration, you’ll be able to store and serve drinks at optimal temperatures,” says Benjamin.

Our products feature commercial “Forced Air” refrigeration systems, allowing for faster pull-down and colder serving temperatures on those busy days.

Dependable back-of-house

A successful competitive socialising venue offers more than entertainment and drinks, with food being a great addition. When people are having a good time, they don’t want to leave and, as a business owner, neither do you.

Having a kitchen which delivers fresh and tasty dishes can be an excellent incentive for people to spend even more money.

True offers a wide range of restaurant refrigeration options. This includes prep tables, such as the TSSU, which makes getting food out easy.

Our products ensure food-safety and are able to handle even the busiest of kitchens with consistent temperature holding across our range.

Choose True for your social entertainment venue

While True can’t provide the entertainment, if you’re considering branching out into the competitive socialising trend, our impressive bar refrigeration is the ideal addition to help put your bar on the map and make your business a success.

Recently, Benjamin Müller has supported Topgolf launching in Germany. “This project was unique, not just for its size but because of the wide range of models needed for both the bar and kitchen.

What made us stand out was how we were prepared and willing to act fast. We were able to deliver products which can withstand the busy season. With us not only delivering desired products, but doing so when others couldn’t.”

From this, the partnership has been a success, with Topgolf in Germany going from strength to strength, especially as Germany’s growth market continues to grow.

If you want to know more about how True can help make your bar stand out from the crowd, get in touch with us.

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