How to Host a Restaurant Trivia Night - And Why It's Great for Business

"Eat, drink, and be merry" is a well-known catchphrase about having a great time, and nowhere is this truer than at restaurant trivia nights. Not only are they competitive, fun, and exciting, they draw in customers and offer significant marketing opportunities.


The cost of adding trivia nights is not high and expanding a restaurant's portfolio with this service gets new faces in the door, sells more food and drink, and creates strong brand loyalty.





Hosting a Trivia Night

Small Business Trends agrees that restaurant trivia nights can build up a business and explains how the games work. They are usually played at the bar, but other setups can also work. A host called the "trivia master" structures multiple rounds of play with small groups or individuals, asking questions about categories including general knowledge, science, music, history, movies, and geography. The first person with the correct answer obtains one point for themselves or their team, and when the game is over, the one with the most wins.

Trivia nights are usually held once or twice a week and can progress into finals with other restaurants. These crowds can get quite large, with large cash prizes. To host a trivia night in a larger restaurant, you need to have a good sound system with microphones and speakers. You'll also need score sheets, pens, paper, answer sheets, someone to act as the trivia master, and, of course, trivia questions. Many companies specialize in these supplies, and you can find many of them on Trivia Bliss.

You will also need to establish a set of rules for your trivia nights; otherwise, things could get out of hand. You can set limits for the number of people on a team and make sure you don't allow players to look up answers on cell phones or yell and so forth. Have good prizes, and they do not have to cost a lot of money. Each person could pay as little as $5 to enter, and the total amount could serve as the winnings. Donating a free meal to the winning team can pay off in the long run.



Promoting a Trivia Night

Most restaurant trivia nights are held during the week when business is slow; it is hard to play when there are a lot of other customers sharing the space. To attract as many players as possible, Next Restaurants advises that you "Promote, promote, promote!".


This promotion can start with having staff members talk up the trivia night with patrons, placing table toppers, hanging up flyers, and putting small ads on your menus. Don't forget to promote your restaurant in other ways to trivia attendees. Consider passing out customer loyalty cards and promoting other specials, like a "Buck-a-Shuck" oyster night.

2ndKitchen offers some restaurant online marketing ideas to increase traffic to your trivia night. Make sure to list the event on your restaurant's website, use keywords, and look for websites that list local trivia nights like Last Call Trivia and Pub Trivia USA. Both have menu options for restaurant and bar owners to get listed at the tops of the pages. Then, when someone nearby Googles "restaurants with trivia near me," they will be more likely to see your restaurant pop up. This is a great tool in your SEO arsenal.


Don't be timid about using social media to promote your trivia nights, either. Quizrunners advises using as many channels as possible, including your restaurant's Facebook page and Instagram accounts. You can share photos of your host, food, drinks, and the playing space.


Once things are up and running, post photos and information about the winners, eat and drink specials, teasers for upcoming special events, videos from the game time, and the prizes you awarded. You can also post a few warmup questions, and the first correct respondent can receive a free drink. Cheers!