Monday, 21 November 2016

Ten Reasons to Support Local Bars and Restaurants

Have you started your holiday shopping yet? Friday, November 25 marks Black Friday—the unofficial kick-off to the holiday shopping frenzy. While many of us scour the sales racks or take our hunt online searching for the perfect gifts, it’s important to keep one thing top of mind: how is your purchase impacting your community?

How and where we spend our money shapes everything around us: from the type and variety of products that are available to us to the economic strength of our cities, towns and neighborhoods. A good bargain feels great—but what does it really cost us?

There are so many great reasons to support our local shops and businesses, and that includes the bars and restaurants that bring the fun and flavor to our communities. Our local eateries and watering holes are the places we build our memories, celebrate life’s milestones and gather with our loved ones for that special night out.

You can never replace the memories you made with your friends at your pub or coffee shop. When you’re away, one of the first things you’ll miss is the Thai soup or crispy fries from your favorite restaurant back home—you won’t be able to find anything like it anywhere else.

Our local pubs and restaurants are more than just places to eat and drink.

We can help support our local businesses this season by participating in Shop Local Saturday on Saturday, November 26. All you have to do is shop at the unique businesses that make your community special—and that includes dining or socializing at your favorite local hotspot.

Besides being a great excuse to enjoy a day or evening out, there are many great reasons to shop and dine local:

  1. You don't have to travel
  2. One of the best parts about supporting your local businesses? They're LOCAL! That means less time you’ll have to spend travelling and more time to enjoy the things you love.

  3. You won't find it anywhere else
  4. Local businesses offer unique and one-of-a-kind products and services. You’ll never find another café that makes chai lattes like your local coffee shop.

  5. You'll create jobs
  6. Small businesses are responsible for most of the new jobs created in the USA. By supporting your local shops, pubs and businesses you're helping to bring new jobs that will directly benefit your neighbors—or maybe even you!

  7. You'll find a bargain
  8. Local businesses typically offer products of a higher quality and are often open to price matching or bartering.

  9. You'll benefit from the investment
  10. The money you spend at your local business goes back into your community. A thriving local economy can even lead to lower taxes, which means more money in your pockets.

  11. You'll get better customer service
  12. A lot of local businesses are run by family and friends with a deep and personal connection to their products and services. This often means you’ll get superior customer service from business operators that will go above and beyond for their customers.

  13. You'll increase your choices
  14. It's simple: the more that you buy close to home, the more that will become available to you close to home.

  15. You'll help the environment
  16. Locally grown and raised food and goods don’t have to travel as far to make it to the consumer. Which means fewer emissions from shipping and a smaller impact on the environment.

  17. You'll feel good about it
  18. What's not to feel good about? You’re supporting your community, helping the environment and saving money

  19. You'll get to know your neighbors
  20. There's a reason Cheers was such a popular television show; there's nothing like walking into a shop or pub where everybody knows your name.
Spread the Word
You can help encourage members of your community to shop local by downloading our FREE sharable graphic and posting to your social media sites.

controlPLAY salutes the local businesses that make our communities vibrant. Support your neighborhood and shop small on Saturday, November 26.
To learn more about how controlPLAY can help you boost your bar or restaurant’s bottom line by $1000/month, visit or drop us a line at

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Ten Thankful Songs: The Power of Thanksgiving Music for Bars and Restaurants

Thanksgiving is a holiday like no other; it’s the time to appreciate the things we sometimes take for granted as we go about our everyday lives.

Taking a moment to pause and reflect on the good in our lives helps to relieve stress, reconnect with loved ones and just be better people. As many of us sit down to enjoy a Thanksgiving feast with our family and friends, there is likely to be one important—yet understated—element that sets the tone and encourages connection like nothing else: music.

Music is a universal language that connects people from all walks of life. No matter who you are or what your story, there is a song out there that will stir up your emotions or bring back memories.

Music unites us.

So what easier way to celebrate the spirit of Thanksgiving in your bar or restaurant than through your playlist? Playing music that connects your clientele with the sentiments of the season helps to extend the warmth of Thanksgiving to your establishment—enhancing your customers’ experience and stirring positive emotions that build loyalty to your brand.

Creating a Thanksgiving playlist doesn’t mean your music has to be sappy or that you have to sacrifice your brand identity. The best thing about music is the diversity in communicating an emotion and sending a message; there are options in every genre that achieve a Thanksgiving feel.

To inspire some ideas, check out our list of 10 Thankful Songs to add to your background music this Thanksgiving:

At controlPLAY, we have so many incredible things to be grateful for: our outstanding staff who bring their A-game to the table every day to innovate, invent and deliver the best products and services. Their enthusiasm and creativity inspire us and we’re thankful for our amazing team.

We’re thankful for our customers. We love sharing music with others and helping bars and restaurants enhance their businesses; we’re grateful that we get to do what we love every day, and meet some great people while we do it.

On behalf of everyone at controlPLAY, have a happy and heartfelt Thanksgiving!

For free and easy tips on how music can boost your brand and help increase your revenue, visit

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

A Halloween Theme Night Hack that BOOsts your Bar or Restaurant’s Bottom Line


It’s almost here, my pretties. It’s the scariest night of the year; the night when all of the Mummies and Deaddies rise from the grave to consume perilous potions, terrifying treats and deadly desserts. It’s almost HALLOWEEN.

Halloween isn’t just for little ghouls and ghosts, it’s also a great time for bars and restaurants to BOOst their revenue.

HOW? By hosting a Halloween theme night.  

Now don’t be afraid. Halloween doesn’t have to mean menacing monsters, crazy crowds or wild witches; it can be anything from a simple splash of spook to a full-on fright-fest. When customized to fit your bar or restaurant’s vibe, a Halloween theme night can help you attract new customers, engage with your regulars and increase your revenue.

How do you get started?
Check out our step-by-step guide to planning a Halloween theme night (if you dare!):

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Five Ways Hosting a Theme Night Benefits your Bar or Restaurant

Your bar or restaurant’s atmosphere plays an important role in your day-to-day success. Patrons seek out venues that fit their mood and complement the occasion. Getting the music, setting and vibe just right can be the difference between a returning customer or a one-time visitor.  It’s important that your establishment maintains a consistent experience and atmosphere every time.

But what if you want to shake things up a bit?

Theme nights are a great way to attract new customers, build loyalty and engage with your regulars, boost your revenue and power-up your promotions. Hosting a theme night doesn’t mean cramming your bar or restaurant full of party crazy maniacs (unless that’s your goal); theme nights can benefit a variety of environments and range everywhere from a sophisticated soiree to a rough n’ tumble buckin’ bronco shindig.

Still not sure if a theme night is right for your bar or restaurant? Here are five ways hosting a theme night can benefit your establishment:

1- It can help boost your social media game

Theme nights can provide great material for social media and help you to build followers, engage with your networks and join in new conversations.

Encourage your guests to post their photos from theme night and tag your establishment, you can then comment or share their photos with your network.

You can expand your typical social media reach with a theme by using related hashtags in your event promotions. For example, if you’re hosting a Game of Thrones season finale party, use #GameofThrones to join fans’ conversations and connect with people who share an interest. Not only will you be promoting your event, but reaching a group of people who you might not have had the chance to meet.

2 - It can connect you to other businesses in the community

Hosting a theme night provides an opportunity for your bar or restaurant to reach out to get to know and potentially partner with other businesses in your area. Even if it doesn’t directly result in a partnership this time around, new contacts can mean new customers or partners in the future.

3 - It can help you reach new audiences

Hosting a theme night can help you reach new crowds that may not otherwise have visited your establishment. For example, if you’re hosting an Olympics theme party, you might attract new guests who are interested in watching the Olympics, but have never visited your bar or restaurant before. Their interest in your theme night could be the one thing that gets them through the door.

4 - Helps you increase revenue

Hosting a theme night can help boost your revenue. By bringing in more visitors, tapping into new crows, enhancing your marketing outreach and providing the opportunity to promote specials and upcoming events on-site, you’re sure to notice a bump to your bottom line.

5 - Helps you retain customers and attract new ones

People like to have fun! If your theme night appeals to your target clientele and is a success, new customers will come back and bring friends.

Check out our step-by-step guide to planning a successful and fun theme night in your establishment.


Friday, 7 October 2016

The Dark Side of Using Music Apps for your Bar or Restaurant’s Background Music

If you walk into a bar or restaurant and don’t hear music, what do you think? You’re probably going to assume the establishment is closed. The ambience is just as crucial to the customer experience as the food and service—and the music is one of the most important factors in achieving the perfect vibe.

Playing music in your bar or restaurant is unavoidable. Today access to music is easier than ever, with a click of a button or a tap of your finger you can have a playlist running and tunes pumping within seconds. Sounds easy, right?

Using online streaming apps or making do-it-yourself playlists may seem like the easier and cheaper options, but what are you really risking when you use an app or play unlicensed music in your establishment?

Think twice before you plug in your iPod or download that free music app—what seems like a simple solution and money saving measure may end up giving you twice the headaches, hurting your brand and costing you hundreds of thousands of dollars. Learn what you’re risking by using “free” music; it may not be as simple as you think.


What’s more annoying or time-consuming than computer glitches, viruses and system crashes? Not only can a slow or stalled computer system slow down your service, it can seriously impact your records and cost big bucks to fix.

A recent example of how free music apps can put your system at risk is the malware infestation issue with Spotify’s free music streaming service. Spotify users noticed that infected ads were being pushed out when the service was used on laptops, causing browsers to automatically open malicious websites.

Your computer system touches every aspect of your business: your marketing programs, record keeping and accounting, orders, inventory, etc. Are you willing to put it at risk for free music?

If you add in the costs associated with potential system slowdowns, crashes and repairs, using a “free” service can wind up hitting your bottom line harder than paying for a secure system.


When planned with purpose, your background music and playlists can enhance your atmosphere and create a unique ambience that helps elevate your brand. Guests will return expecting your signature vibe and experience; a consistent sound is imperative to creating a consistent experience.

While some free apps offer ready-made themed playlists, unless you spend the time to review each song list you risk playing a song that may contain offensive lyrics or contrast your brand. Additionally, there is usually little wiggle room to remove individual tracks from pre-packaged playlists. You’ll likely have to spend the time building your own list from scratch.

In many “do it yourself” music scenarios, the playlist is at the mercy of your staff and can change according to who is working that day. It’s great to have happy and engaged staff; however, a system that doesn’t set perimeters can result in a sound that doesn’t suit your brand or provide a consistent experience, especially if your establishment has multiple locations.

While free music apps and playlists sound like a quick and easy solution, you risk spending hours building appropriate playlists and surrender your control over your brand consistency.


Plan and simple: playing music without a license in your bar or restaurant is a copyright violation and you could be sued.

Think it won’t happen to you? Think again. Copyright infringement lawsuits usually don’t end favorably for the accused—and you could be looking at anywhere from $750 to $150,000 PER violation; a much higher cost than investing in a secure and licensed music service.

So if you’re currently streaming “free” music, or thinking about it, it’s time to examine what it’s really worth and what you’re willing to risk.

The good news is that there are affordable solutions out there that can ease your worries and help you avoid all of these risks—and the best part is you can actually SAVE money, time and add around $1000/month of extra revenue to your bottom line.
Contact controlPLAY to learn more and test out your free demo.

Drop us a line at
or give us a shout at 1-866-896-3470.

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

The Secret to Success: Perfecting your Vibe

How does controlPLAY consistently provide the number one music, music video and digital signage service for bars and restaurants?

Easy! Our incredible staff.

Close your eyes and imagine your perfect work environment.

OK now, let’s keep it within reason—we’d all love to work from the beach while sipping margaritas…

Chances are most of us dream of working for a company that encourages us to be creative and rewards innovation—we want to go home every day and feel invigorated that we accomplished something worthwhile. We want to work with colleagues that appreciate hard work, but also know when to let loose and have fun.

At controlPLAY, we know that our success depends on the dedication of our employees. Every day we strive to create an inviting, enriching and supportive environment that inspires staff. When our colleagues are happy, it trickles down into the customer service they provide.

Just like the vibe at your bar or restaurant is important to your guest experience, the vibe in our office plays a crucial role in delivering a great product.

To check out career opportunities at controlPLAY, click here

Check us out for yourself!

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

controlPLAY’s secret to increasing productivity and innovation: LUNCHTIME!

Planning your lunch during the week can be a pain.

You can save money and take the time to pack a lunch from home, but it has to stay fresh or re-heat well. Or you can leave the office for takeout or a sit-down meal at a restaurant, but the cost can add up quickly. And none of this includes the lost time from having to figure out what you’re going to do each day when lunchtime rolls around.

Let’s not forget the energy factor, either. Years ago, I heard Denis Waitley—the renowned motivational speaker and author of The Psychology of Winning—ask a group, “Are you fueling or feeding your body?”

That always stuck with me. I believe that if you want to get the most out of your time, you need to fuel your body—not just feed it. Think of it this way: you’re going to be at work for eight hours a day. Why not make those hours as effective as possible, both for yourself and for your career?

At controlPLAY, one of our core values is promoting a positive work/life balance, and we’re committed to making that an important part of our culture. As part of this commitment, every day we offer all team members an assortment of healthy snacks and beverages, such as smoothies, granola and energy bars, fruit, yogurt, nuts and oatmeal.

In addition to snacks, we keep our team with a daily catered lunch program that includes our (staff favorite) salad bar, soup of the day and hot entrée. We also enjoy mixing it up every so often—for example, how can you say no to lunch from an on-site food truck? And we look forward to special occasions (for St. Patrick’s Day, shepherd’s pie and Irish biscuits are on the menu!).

When I tell people that controlPLAY offers these nutritional perks to all of our team members, many can’t believe that it’s part of what we do. Frankly, I can’t believe that everyone doesn’t do it. An in-house lunch program helps keep our team happy, healthy and focused on their work. We believe that bringing people to together is the key to developing a collaborative company culture.

Contact me at if you’d like more information on our lunch program, or check out our Careers page at if you’d like to read more about our culture or current opportunities. (Better yet—come by and visit us on Tuesday! The curried chicken with rice rocks.)