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 info@controlplay.com 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 brightsidetavern.com
To learn more about Control Play’s music, music video and digital signage services, visit controlplay.com

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

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Four Easy Ways to Increase your Bar or Restaurant’s Revenue this Spring

Spring fever is upon us, and there’s no better time to examine your bar or restaurant’s music and entertainment strategy. 

In fact, spring is one of the most profitable times of the year for sports pubs, taverns, bars and restaurants, and there are several reasons why. Check out these four opportunities to boost your revenue, along with the resources to help you make this season your best yet: 

1. Tourism
Springtime kicks off the tourism season. If your bar or restaurant is close to hotels, or in a location that welcomes tourists, you’re in a great position to bump-up your springtime sales.  
Give your bar or restaurant an edge over the competition by building a buzz through hosting a theme night. You can find everything you need to know to easily execute a successful theme night in this free step-by-step guide.
2. Sports, Sports, Sports
From season openers to playoffs, spring is a golden time for sports bars to hit a revenue home-run. It’s easier than you think; boosting your game-day profits can be as simple as tweaking your music and in-house signage to encourage sport-lovers to stick around after the game. Here’s how. 
3. Mother’s Day and Father’s Day
It’s no surprise that Mother’s Day is the #1 most profitable day of the year for restaurants, with Father’s Day coming in at #3. Establishing the right atmosphere is crucial to your bottom line success and making the most of these potentially lucrative holidays.  
Did you know that your music has the power to increase your sales, guide customers’ menu choices, control wait times and build brand loyalty? Building an effective playlist is both a science and an art—and it can be time-consuming. So that’s why we’ve done the work for you; controlPLAY’s music mixology team can help you curate the perfect playlist for any audience or occasion. Check out some of our exclusive signature programs here. 
4. Easter
Believe it or not, the Easter weekend is the 5th most profitable time of year for restaurants. Be it for brunch or bevvies, your digital signage and infotainment can help your establishment offer something extra to delight your guests while promoting your specials or events.  
In fact, when used as part of your regular communication strategy, digital signage can significantly increase your monthly revenue. It doesn’t have to be complicated or a lot of extra work; check out this guide to leveraging digital signage to boost your sales. 

Questions? We’d love to hear from you. Contact the controlPLAY team at info@controlplay.com for more information about how your background music and digital signage can boost your bar or restaurant’s revenue by $1000/month.

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

What Happens in Vegas Doesn’t Always Stay in Vegas

The team at controlPLAY is getting excited because next week is one of our favorite times of the year: the Nightclub & Bar Conference and Trade Show.

The fact that it’s in Las Vegas doesn’t hurt, but the real reason we love this show is because, over the years, we’ve had the pleasure of meeting thousands of interesting, inspiring and just-plain-awesome restaurant and bar professionals.

Not only is it a lot of fun getting to know others in the industry, but it’s led to successful business partnerships—like the one we have with our friends at Dave & Busters.

If you haven’t already heard of Dave & Busters, their story is pretty interesting. Dave and Buster are real guys. Back in the 1970’s they ran two separate businesses down the road from one and other: Buster ran a restaurant and Dave ran a games and entertainment center for adults. They saw an opportunity when they noticed that their clientele often travelled back-and-forth between their two businesses. They got together, combined their businesses and opened the first “Dave & Busters” in 1982. Fast forward to today, and there are now more than 90 locations across North America.

It was at a little over five years ago that the controlPLAY team first connected with Dave & Busters at the Nightclub & Bar Show in Las Vegas.

“We were fortunate enough to meet some of Dave & Busters’ executive management on a very busy trade show floor,” recalls controlPLAY President Jim Juniper, “The result of the conversation was an invitation to present controlPLAY as a music and music video solution for their locations throughout North America.”

Following the event, controlPLAY’s playlist team began their research to create the perfect Dave & Busters soundtrack. First, the team consulted with Dave & Busters marketing group to understand all of the elements of brand.

“Creating a strategic sound for a brand is both a science and an art,” explains controlPLAY Chief Playlist Officer Adam Melrose, “Our templated approach to playlists combined with our content library targeted to the restaurant—where the bar is the hub of the business—was a perfect fit for Dave & Busters music and music video strategy.”

We’re proud to say that we’ve now been working together with Dave & Busters for more than FIVE years—it all started at the Nightclub and Bar Show in Las Vegas, and that’s one of the reasons we look forward to it every year.

Are you going to be there? We’d love to meet you!
This year, our team will be at booth #1045. We’ll have free tools, information and one-on-one support to show you how your music can save you time and money, increase your revenue by $1000/month and create a memorable and energized experience for your guests.

Can’t make it to the show?
We’ll miss you, but our team at controlPLAY is always available to help you reach your business goals. Send us a note at info@controlplay.com and let’s talk.