The Secret to Making More Money with Specials


The holidays are a busy time for bars and restaurants.

People are out celebrating with friends and family, which means your establishment needs to be prepared for the influx of customers.

One way to do this is by offering festive cocktail specials.

You know that specials are important. They not only bring in more business, but they also help to increase your tips. But as a bar owner, you may not be aware of how important specials can be to your bottom line. In this post, we’ll explore the importance of specials and how they can help you make more money.

Why Specials are So Important


Specials are important for a number of reasons.

First and foremost, they help to bring in new business. If customers see that you’re running a special, they’re more likely to come in and check out your establishment.

In addition, specials can help to increase the amount of money that customers spend while they’re at your bar.

For example, if you’re running a happy hour special, customers are likely to order more drinks than they would if they were paying full price.

Finally, specials can help to create a sense of loyalty among your customer base. If customers know that they can always find a great deal at your bar, they’re more likely to keep coming back.

Don’t believe me? 

A bar owner I knew back in the midwest was making no money. Let’s call him Ed.

He tried everything – he discounted his drinks, hosted events, and even put on a happy hour. But nothing worked. He was about to give up and close his bar when he got a brilliant idea.

He started to make specialty cocktails. Not just any old cocktails, but really creative ones. Ones that people had never seen before. He put together a great marketing campaign and promoted the hell out of them. And it worked! People started coming in droves to try his new cocktails.

Soon enough, the bar owner had a successful career as a bartender. His bartenders were doing well too – they were all busy serving up delicious drinks to happy customers. Thanks to his creative cocktails, the bar owner was able to keep his business alive and thriving!

Types of Specials

There are a number of different types of specials that you can run at your bar. Happy hour specials are always popular, as are drink specials and food specials.

You can also run themed nights, such as ladies’ night or men’s night. Whatever type of special you choose to run, make sure that it is well-advertised so that customers are aware of it.

Thinking Outside the Speciality Cocktail Box

Sure, cocktails are great. And I’m going to give you all the tips you need to make those great cocktails here in a bit.

For now, let’s think outside the glass.

Specialties don’t just stop at serving drinks. You can create a seasonal atmosphere by:

  • Wearing or encouraging your staff to wear festive gear. My favorites are hats, headbands, and those nifty light-up necklaces.
  • Adorn your bar decorations. Like lights, winter greenery, and other symbols of celebrations that are honored by your local culture.
  • Download a popular playlist. Set the tone with the right music. 
  • Make it easy for folks to gather. Have game nights, set tables up for bigger parties, and run shareable food specials.
  • Stimulate all of the senses. Humans (aka your guests) thoroughly enjoy when our five senses are engaged. Implement scents like vanilla or cinnamon. You’ll hit sight, touch, hearing, and taste with cocktails, music, and lights.

Special Tips for Special Cocktails

  1. Get creative with your ingredients.

People are looking for something different when they go to different bars. They want to try new things and have experiences they haven’t had before.

This is your opportunity to get creative with your ingredients and come up with some truly unique concoctions. If you’re not sure where to start, take a look at some of the holiday-themed (keep reading for more!) cocktails other bars are offering, or search for recipes online. Once you’ve settled on a few options, test them out on your staff/regulars and see what they think.

  1. Make sure your bartenders are up to the challenge.

When you have specialties running, like for Christmas or another holiday, it’s often one of the busiest times of year for bars. That means your bartenders need to be able to handle the rush.

 If you don’t have enough staff or if your current employees aren’t up to the task, now is the time to make some changes with Local Bartending School.

Hire some temporary staff or offer training to your existing employees so they know how to properly make each drink on your special menu. This will help ensure that each customer has a positive experience and that your business runs smoothly during the holiday rush.

  1. Promote, promote, promote!

Your cocktail specials won’t do you any good if no one knows about them. And don’t make the bold, yet ignorant, assumption that people will automatically know about your specials. Folks don’t even know who’s in office. How are they gonna know what specials you have?!

Make sure you promote your specials early and often. Post signs in your bar, send out emails or social media posts, or even hand out flyers in neighboring businesses. A good ‘ole chalkboard A-frame or sandwich board never hurt ‘nobody!

The more people who know about your cocktails, the more likely they are to order them. Thus, making it more likely that you make a zillion dollars.

Want to create your very own cocktail? Here’s how!

Creating Festive Cheer, But In a Glass


The holiday season is a busy—and lucrative—time for bars and restaurants. By offering festive cocktail specials, you can attract new customers and boost sales.

To make the most of your Christmas cocktail specials, get creative with your ingredients, make sure your bartenders are up for the challenge, and promote early and often leading up to the holidays!

And because you’ve been the best of boys, girls, and humans—here are three recipes to get your creativity running like Santa’s non-existent sleigh. But you know who will be slaying? Your bar!

Christmas Cosmo


  • 1 oz vodka
  • 1 oz Cointreau
  • 1 oz cranberry juice


  • Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into a martini glass.

Christmas Pudding Martini


  • 1 oz vanilla vodka
  • .5 oz spiced rum
  • .25 oz butterscotch Schnapps
  • .25 oz Irish cream liqueur


  • Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into a martini glass.

Holly Jolly Jingle


  • 1.5 oz vodka
  • .75 oz peach schnapps
  • .75 oz cranberry juice


    • Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into a hurricane glass.

Make Speciality Cocktails (And More Money) With Local Bartending School


Specials are an important part of any bartender’s toolkit. They not only bring in more business, but they also help to increase your tips.

As a bar owner, it’s important to be aware of the importance of specials and how they can help you make more money. By running different types of specials and advertising them heavily, you can bring in new business and create loyalty among your existing customer base.

If you’re looking to become a better bartender, or if you own a bar and want to learn how to make it more successful, then you need to check out Local Bartending School. They can help you learn everything from making cocktails to managing your bar efficiently.

Carrie Jean Lipe

Carrie Lipe has been writing creatively since childhood but jump-started her professional writing after college. She's an Indiana native, Ball State Hospitality graduate, and a bartender with over 10+ years in the industry. You can find her making basil Moscow mules when she's not writing. Follow her professional journey on Instagram! @contentbycarriejean