Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Our Special Gift to Celebrate Canada 150


July 1, 2017, marks Canada’s 150th birthday, and Canadians from coast-to-cost-to-coast will be flocking to their favourite watering holes to toast their home and native land.

Poutine, Canadian beer and being polite are a some of the more well-known symbols of Canadian life, but if you dive a little deeper, you’ll find that one of Canada’s greatest contributions is music. Some of the world’s most memorable and influential music was created by talented Canadians.

In celebration of Canada’s 150th birthday, Control Play’s music mixology team has hand-picked a timeless playlist of Canada’s favourite tracks, musicians and videos—sure to create the perfect Canada Day vibe in your bar or restaurant. The playlist is available NOW to all subscribers, and can be found in your player.

Not a subscriber? Control Play has a special limited-time promotion in honour of Canada 150: from now until July 10, 2017, new subscribers will receive 25% off of our Music Video and Digital Signage package, and 25% off our all-new HD Video Players.


From all of us at Control Play: Happy 150, Canada!  

Our Special Gift to Celebrate Independence Day


This Fourth of July, Americans all across the country will celebrate the land of the free and home of the brave at their favorite bars and restaurants.

Independence Day is a time to celebrate what it means to be an American—all things big and small. And that includes the incredible contributions the USA has made to the music industry. Americans are some of the most well-known musicians, and have made a tremendous impact on the world through their musical influence. American musicians have created the soundtracks for everything from our businesses to our most memorable life events.

In celebration of Independence Day, Control Play’s music mixology team has hand-picked a timeless playlist of America’s most patriotic tracks, musicians and videos—sure to create the perfect Fourth of July vibe in your bar or restaurant. The playlist is available NOW to all subscribers, and can be found in your player.

Not a subscriber? Control Play has a special limited-time promotion in honor of Independence Day: from now until July 10, 2017, new subscribers will receive 25% off of our Music-Video and Digital Signage package, and 25% off of our all-new HD Video Players. 

From all of us at Control Play: Happy Independence Day, America

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Father’s Day 2017: How to Crush Your Competition and Boost Your Bar or Restaurant’s Bottom Line

This Sunday is anticipated to be a record-breaking Father’s Day, with American consumers expected to treat dad to more than $15.5 Billion in celebrations and gifts—and one of the most popular ways to celebrate is to dine out.

So how can you help your bar or restaurant stand out as a destination of choice and boost your bottom line this Father’s Day?

It’s all about going the extra mile and offering something special for your patrons. Drink and menu specials are a great place to start, but it’s pretty likely that your competitors will have something similar planned. Focus your attention on opportunities to personalize your customer experience, and don’t overlook the small details to leave a lasting impression this year.

For example, try creating a custom playlist; it could be a simple as songs performed by dads, to your own father’s favourites—or you could take it one step further by taking song requests from guests who are dads. Advertise by posting on your social sites, creating simple table-toppers, menu inserts, or create a funny chalkboard message to grab the attention of passers-by. It’s a simple way to inspire conversation with your guests, provide a little entertainment and share something different.

Another simple way to go the extra mile for your guests on Father’s Day is to personalize the experience with your screens. Update scrolling messages with the names of dads who visit your establishment, invite your staff and regulars to include photos of their dads in a sideshow, or queue up photos and custom messages for guests who make reservations in advance. The Brightside Tavern is a great example of how to leverage your entertainment system to engage your guests and build customer loyalty.  

Don’t have the time but still want to create a great vibe? No worries, we can help. Control Play can create custom playlists and manage your entertainment for you. For most special occasions, we create ready-to-go playlists—and you can find our Father’s Day mix available in your player now.

For more information, drop us a line at or call 1-866-896-3470

And from all of us at Control Play to all of the dads out there: HAPPY FATHER’S DAY!!!!

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Everyone’s a Regular at Brightside Tavern

There’s more to running a successful bar or restaurant than great food and drinks; it’s more important than ever to offer your clients that little something extra to keep them coming back.

Tommy Parisi has mastered the art of the little something extra. Known to many as “Tommy 2 Scoops” from his earlier days of running a gelato shop, Tommy’s up-tempo and people-loving personality is perfectly translated into the vibe he creates for his clientele at Brightside Tavern, located in Jersey City, NY.

Brightside Tavern owner, Tommy Parisi
Tommy purchased the 100-year old building with the vision of turning it into “the place” for all kinds of people. Four years later the building was transformed into the Brightside Tavern, complete with a 70-foot addition that maintains the look of the original brick, an underground kitchen, party rooms with high ceilings, and a large rectangular bar with two oversized TV screens at each end. “It’s kind of Cheers-like,” describes Tommy. “It’s very comfortable.”

From gospel meetings to drag shows, and a menu that satisfies all kinds of cravings, there truly is something for everyone at Brightside Tavern. Tommy prides himself on creating a warm, inviting and friendly experience, “We do a lot of things to make people feel comfortable,” he says, “probably eighty per cent of my guests know me or my staff.”

One of the ways Tommy and his staff create a friendly vibe is by using the screens, music and entertainment system to celebrate and engage with their guests.

For example, if you’re ever visiting the Brightside Tavern, ask them to tell you the story about “Tommy at the Apollo.”

18 years ago Tommy Parisi was a guest on Showtime at the Apollo, where he performed his rendition of Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World.” Since then, Tommy has been affectionately known around Jersey City as “the guy who sang on Showtime at the Apollo.”

Over the years, Tommy’s learned that his guests love hearing the story so much, that he loaded the video footage of his performance into his Control Play music video player—now guests can request the song and he can queue up the video whenever he tells the story to a new visitor.

“It’s become kind of a running joke around here,” laughs Tommy. “The staff hear the song and say, ‘Ahhh not Tommy again!’ The guests love it, they’re in on the joke and they feel right at home.”

Parisi and his staff also love to announce birthdays, special events and recognize customer milestones. “We just had a family come in to celebrate a graduation,” Tommy starts, “we got talking, and then before you know it, they hand me a flash drive and we start showing the graduation photos on one of our TV screens. A lot of people come in for one meal, but feel so at home, they hang out for a while—and often times they end up staying for another course.”

Tommy credits the flexibility and control he has over his music and entertainment as a big reason he’s able to provide a personalized guest experience, “If we have a group come in for an event and then all of sudden they feel like having a dance party, we change up the music and have a dance party,” says Tommy. “I really enjoying seeing people have a good time. I love creating that vibe.”

It’s that homey, friendly, something for everyone type of atmosphere that makes Brightside tavern appeal to a wide range of patrons, from kids to 90 year-olds.

“You know how everyone has their ‘place?’ I love creating that. There’s nothing I love more than hearing that Brightside Tavern is someone’s ‘place.’”

To learn more about the Brightside Tavern, visit
To learn more about Control Play’s music, music video and digital signage services, visit

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

A Playlist for Mother’s Day: 10 Songs for Mom

Mothers’ Day is the most profitable day of the year for restaurants, with U.S. consumers spending more than $21 Billion on celebrations—and it’s no surprise that going out for a meal is one of the most popular ways North Americans celebrate mom.

A playlist is a great way to set the scene and help your patrons honor the women who gave us life. From rappers to country crooners, and soulful songstress’ to rock and rollers, there’s an anthem for mom in every genre. Here are ten tracks to add to your restaurant’s playlist to help make this Mother’s Day extra special:

Madness – Our House
This 80’s classic pays homage to the hard working mother, with the lyrics recalling a childhood where mom kept order in the family, among other happy memories of days gone by.

Stevie Wonder – Isn’t She Lovely
The Motown legend penned this song in the mid-70's about the birth of his daughter, and the woman who brought her into this world.

Miranda Lambert – Mama’s Broken Heart
Sometimes mom doesn’t tell you what you want to hear, but what you need to hear. Miranda Lambert’s country-rock song about mom basically telling her to “walk it off” is one that everyone can relate to.

Taylor Swift – The Best Day
Before Taylor was shaking it off, she performed this song about fond childhood memories with her mom. The video includes home movie footage of the Swifts, featuring Taylor spending “the best day” with mommy.

Carrie Underwood – Mama’s Song
Carrie Underwood penned this track about cutting the apron strings and telling mommy dearest not to worry, that everything’s going to work out just fine.

Spice Girls – Mama
A classic look at the mother-daughter relationship: teenage adolescence and rebellion giving way to the realization that mom was right all along. This song may be from the late 90s, but the theme certainly hasn’t gone out of style.

Boyz II Men – A Song for Mama
A love song to mothers everywhere, as the Boyz credit their mothers as the “driving force” behind them, thanking mom for everything she’s done. 

Backstreet Boys – The Perfect Fan
The Backstreet Boys know that the one fan who will always cheer for you is good ol’ mom. 

2 Pac – Dear Mama
An adult Tupac Shakur looks back on his childhood and stands in awe of how his mother managed to do it all. 

Danzig – Mother
The Misfits founder performed this alternative look at moms, warning them to not let their children “walk my way.” A 90’s classic for that rockin’ mom in your life.

From all of us at Control Play, thank you to all the mamas out there;

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Is your bar or restaurant ready for Cinco de Mayo?

Cinco de Mayo can be an especially profitable holiday for bars and restaurants, but before you plan your celebrations, it’s important to understand the history of this Mexican holiday.

It’s a common misconception that Cinco de Mayo is Mexico’s equivalent of “Independence Day.” In fact, Cinco de Mayo (which means “Five of May”) really marks the the Mexican army’s unexpected victory over the French in the Battle of Puebla in 1862. The battle—which was the very last invasion of a country in the Americas by a European military force—became a symbolic moment in the resistance of Mexico against French occupation. The victory delivered a much-needed sense of unity and national pride to the country’s people at a time when Mexico was experiencing political division and economic hardship. 

Some of the largest Cinco de Mayo celebrations are held in the United States, Canada—and even Australia.  The key to executing a successful theme event is to celebrate traditional Mexican culture through cuisine, art, beverages and music (especially music!).

Like we do for many occasions, Control Play celebrates Cinco de Mayo with a playlist—available for both music and music video subscribers. Enjoy!

Need a little help planning your theme event?

Never fear—we got you! Check out our free theme night guide for step-by-step instructions to planning a legendary theme event in your bar or restaurant. 

Sunday, 30 April 2017

Sports TV Rates Are Increasing for Bars and Restaurants in Canada

If you’re an owner or operator of a bar or restaurant in Canada, you’ve probably heard rumours that the rates for cable sports channels are going up.

Well, we hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the rumours are true: as of May 1, 2017, Rogers and Bell are raising their rates, and any business that holds a liquor license will have to pay more to show Sportsnet, RDS and TSN in their establishment.

So, what does that mean for your bar or restaurant?

You’re going to be paying more, but how much depends on the number of seats in your restaurant or bar. According to a recent article in the Toronto Star, the rate increases are expected to be significant, ranging from as low as $10 per month to as high as $400 per month.

To find out what kind of increase your bar or restaurant is looking at, your best bet is to contact your cable provider. Bell customers can also visit this website for more information.

What can you do about it?

You could cancel your sports channels. But chances are that’s not an option, especially if you’re a sports bar or pub.

You could do nothing and just swallow the extra cost, or make some cuts to cover it, but those extra dollars add up fast.

You could increase your prices, but passing the costs down to your customer could hurt your business.

If none of those options appeal to you, we have a solution that could actually help you make money and boost your brand.

It’s simple: increase your game-day sales. Game-day can be one of the most profitable events for your bar or restaurant, and there are steps you can take to maximize your revenue.

The key is to get more people in your seats before and after the game—learn the tips and tricks to make it happen in our free After the Game guide. You might find that a few tweaks or a new approach will help you boost your sales enough to cover the sports channel cost increases…and then some.

controlPLAY Guide - After the Game