Article kindly written by Phil Down.

Most publicans will have come across the notion that, if you hold an event, you will need to make sales three times greater than the cost of the event in order to break even. But to what extent do you evaluate the promotions you run? There’s no point in putting on a promotion if it doesn’t meet your pre-planned commercial objectives. You may well have a gut feel that it has gone well. By comparing this with the facts, however, you can decide whether or not it is worth repeating. You may also be able to identify what could be done better and more profitably in the future.

Businesses have failed despite running great events and promotions, because in hindsight they cost more than they generated.

There are three key areas to the evaluation process:

The Numbers

  • What was the bar income?
  • What was the food income?
  • What are the income levels usually expected?
  • What were the sales of any promotional items?
  • What was the margin sacrifice on the promotional items?


Staff Feedback

  • Are wastage levels higher than usual?
  • Were customer waiting times extended?
  • Stocktake promotional items to identify actual margins.
  • Any added operational complications that need consideration.


Customer Feedback

  • Try to obtain direct feedback and evaluate – maybe hand out comment cards.
  • Pay attention to your social media.
  • Train front-of-house team to gather feedback.

Ask questions such as

  • Would you come again?
  • Would you recommend this type of event to others?
  • How frequently would you like to see this type of event?
  • What would you like to see done differently?
  • What did you think was really good?


If your conclusion is that the promotion has been a commercial success, and that customers and staff have enjoyed the event, then start planning the next one!