How big is New Year’s Eve for local bars and lounges?

New Year’s Eve is easily one of the biggest “party” nights of the year. With the sometimes stressful holiday season in the rear view mirror, and resolutions still at least a day away, millions of Americans spend December 31st cutting loose. In fact, New Year’s Eve was the #1 day of the year for liquor stores last year.

But what about bars and lounges? Do they also see big increases in revenue? Or do Americans prefer to ring in the New Year with a bottle of champagne from the comfort of their own living room?

To find out the answer to this question and more, we did a deep-dive analysis of transaction data at over 3,000 bars and lounges across the country.

How much do local bars make on an average day?

We first started by analyzing what the average day looks like at local bars and lounges around the country.

The average bar in our analysis brought in an average of $800 in daily revenue on any given day throughout the year. Looking closer, we see they process on average about 27 transactions with an average ticket of $29.90.

Of course, this is only an average across a wide variety of bars, lounges, nightclubs, and more. Which means that “typical day” can look quite different depending on the type of bar and its location. For example, the busiest bars in our analysis averaged well over 100 transactions per day, while others bars averaged just a couple.

Average ticket also varied greatly. Some of the bars in our analysis saw average ticket prices under $10 per ticket, while the most upscale bars we analyzed had an average ticket close to $200!

What are the busiest days of the week for local bars and lounges?

Next we took a deeper look at the numbers by breaking down each day of the week at the average bar in our analysis.

Here’s what we found:

As you’d expect, weekends are huge for bars and lounges. 62% of all revenue at bars and lounges came in on Fridays through Sundays. Saturdays were responsible for 25% of all revenue, making it easily the biggest single day of the week.

Weekdays, meanwhile, start out slow, then slowly pick up as the week goes on.

When you look at how each day performs, you can see that the weekend’s success relies entirely on big increases in the number of customers. On Saturdays, the average bar processed 42 transactions, a huge increase over Mondays and Tuesdays, when bars only processed 17 transactions on average.

Again, transactions do pick up slightly on Wednesdays and Thursdays, but it’s clearly a whole different ballgame when the weekend hits.

Interestingly, average ticket remains remarkably consistent throughout the week. Only $1.23 separated the top ticket day of the week (Sundays at $30.40 per ticket) and the bottom day (Tuesdays at $29.17).

When are the biggest times of the year for bars and lounges?

Now that we’ve looked at the average day and week, let’s step back and take a look at the typical year at local bars and lounges.

As you can see, bars start the year extremely slow. The first week of the year is by far the slowest week, and January is likewise the slowest month, perhaps thanks to millions of Americans getting gung-ho about New Year’s Resolutions.

If that’s the case, though, things change quickly as sales jump in February, then skyrocket in March during the biggest drinking holiday of the year in St. Patrick’s Day.

From there, sales remain consistent throughout the summer before ending the year on one final spike — which lends further evidence to New Years Eve indeed being a big day for local bars.

What are the some of the biggest days of the year for bars and lounges?

Next, we wanted to see some of the biggest days of the year for local bars and lounges. Now, New Year’s Eve this year falls on a Tuesday (and last year fell on a Monday). Because weekdays are typically so much slower than Saturdays, we decided to pull a list of the top 5 biggest weekdays of the year. Here’s what we found.

New Year’s Eve stands out as the clear winner here, with a substantial 87% increase in total revenue compared to a typical Monday. In fact, New Year’s Eve wasn’t just the biggest weekday of the year, it also experienced the biggest increase in sales when compared to its day of the week off any day of the year.

To put it into perspective: St. Patrick’s Day (the biggest day of the year in terms of total revenue) saw a 126% increase in revenue compared to a typical day overall, but a 30% increase compared to a typical Saturday (which is when St. Patrick’s Day fell in 2018). So while St. Patrick’s Day was definitely the busiest day of the year for bars, you could call New Year’s Eve the most “uncharacteristically busy” day of the year.

Other big days? The day before the 4th of July, Thanksgiving Eve (or “Drinksgiving / Blackout Wednesday” as its often called), Memorial Day, and Labor Day.

The top average transaction and average ticket days of the year at bars and lounges

Next, we wanted to see which were the days when Americans spent the most per-ticket, and which days were the busiest in terms of average foot traffic for local bars and lounges.

People most often spend a bit more per-ticket during the holidays season, with Christmas Eve and the Saturday before Christmas tying for the top two spots. As you can see, however, average ticket doesn’t really fluctuate too much even on those top days.

The same is certainly not true for average transactions. St. Patrick’s Day, by far the busiest day of the year, saw local bars and lounges average a stunning 30 more transactions than a typical day.

How much do local bars make on New Year’s Eve?

So we’ve seen that New Year’s Eve was the biggest weekday of the year, and clearly a big enough holiday for bars and lounges to move the needle regardless of which day of the week it falls. But what did the last day of the year look like at the average local bar? Let’s take a look:

On average, local bars bring in only about $495 in revenue on a typical Monday—making it the slowest day of the week. New Year’s Eve saw revenue nearly double to $896. This pretty much entirely thanks to a huge increase in number of transactions, once again suggesting that bars and lounges rely heavily on increasing foot traffic and not relying on customers spending more per-ticket.

Which cities are home to the country’s busiest bars on New Year’s Eve?

Finally, let’s take a look at which cities were home to the busiest (and “slowest”) bars and lounges in the country on New Year’s Eve:

“The Biggest Little City in the World” was also apparently home to some of the biggest New Year’s Eve parties in the country as well, as Reno, NV easily took the top spot in our list. Local bars in Reno brought in an astounding 365% more revenue than on a typical Monday.

Bars in Daytona Beach, FL, Wilmington, NC, and Orlando, FL all saw revenue jump by more than 200% on New Year’s Eve.

The bottom spot on our list went to bars in San Jose, CA, who actually saw revenue drop by 16% compared to a typical Monday.

How to get the most out of the busiest days of the year if you own or manage a local bar or lounge

If you own or manage your own local bar, do you find New Year’s Eve increasingly becoming one of the busiest days of the year? Or do you find it difficult to draw in customers when the holiday falls on a weekday?

New Year’s Eve falls on a weekend for the next several years, so start planning ahead and getting the word out with a little social media marketing that your bar is the place to ring in the new year! (And it couldn’t hurt to remind everyone that January 1st is paid holiday for most everyone).

You can also go the extra mile by running special deals, offering unique New Year’s Eve-themed cocktails, or even holding a special event.

And if your bar is always packed on New Year’s Eve, think of how you can use the boost in foot traffic to pay off in the slowest time of year (which we’ve seen is just around the corner). Make a hard push to ask customers to leave you a review, or put together a strategy to collect email addresses to send your customers special deals or keep them posted on future events.

Check out a few of our helpful guides for bar and lounge owners:

Finally, check out how Womply’s reputation management software helps make all this easier while saving you time and money. Sign up for a free demo below to see how Womply has helped businesses like yours increase revenue by 20%, see 22% more repeat customers, and save 10 hours of time per week.

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