Nightlife preferences are shifting away from crowded bars with loud music and toward venues that offer convenience, efficiency and entertainment, according to “The New Nightlife” a report from SevenRooms, conducted with third party research firm YouGov.

In fact, one in three Americans (30 percent) prefer a bar or club that has an activity, food, and drink all in one place.

One in three Americans (30 percent) prefer a bar or club that has an activity, food, and drink all in one place.

“In 2018, we saw restaurants create new operations and marketing strategies based on diners’ changing expectations around highly personalized experiences,” said Joel Montaniel, CEO & Co-Founder of SevenRooms. “We’re now seeing nightlife undergo a similar evolution, enabling operators to think more broadly about what will drive revenue for their businesses. In 2019, nightlife operators have the opportunity to add entertainment and activities to their traditional offerings, opening up a lucrative new revenue channel. In today’s increasingly competitive, experience-driven hospitality landscape, consumers are no longer thinking about the before and after dinner plans. They want great food, entertainment and drinks all at one destination, and venues that continue to deliver on these experiences will thrive in the years ahead.”

The New Nightlife

Nightlife priorities are changing, and exclusive venues with lines around the block are no longer as appealing to consumers. In fact, 64 percent of Americans will leave a bar or club if it is too crowded. Here are the top reasons people would leave a bar in favor of a different venue:

  • A line outside the bar or club (54 percent)
  • Music that is too loud (50 percent)
  • Ten minute or more wait for a drink (39 percent)
  • No food on the menu (34 percent) 

 When looking for fun nightlife activities, people now rely more on familiarity when making their decisions, with over one-third (35 percent) of Americans more likely to go to a bar or club that has been recommended to them by friends or family and one-third (32 percent) more likely to choose a bar or club that they have already been to over a new venue.

Eatertainment Takeover

So what are the bars that people are recommending? Consumers are looking for venues that have food, drink and activities all in one place, as evidenced through the rising popularity of eatertainment venues like fast-growing Topgolf, CIty Winery and SPIN. In fact, a quarter (24 percent) of Americans wish there were more venues near them that combine an activity with food and drink and 21 percent of Americans are willing to spend more money on a night out at an eatertainment venue than a traditional venue, showing it’s worthwhile for operators to take note of these changing preferences.

With a quarter (25 percent) of Americans reporting having more fun at venues that combine activity with food and drink than traditional venues, here are the activities that most appeal to today’s consumers: 

  • Live performances like a concert or comedy show (30 percent)
  • Movies (15 percent)
  • Arcade Games (9 percent)
  • Bowling (7 percent)

 While eatertainment venues are great for a night out with friends, with one in five (21 percent) Americans more likely to go to an eatertainment venue than a traditional venue for a night out, they’re also perfect for special occasions:

  • A quarter (25 percent) of Americans think that eatertainment venues are a great date spot
  • One in three (34 percent) would choose an eatertainment venue for a birthday party
  • One in five (22 percent) would choose an eatertainment venue for watching sports games

One in five (21 percent) Americans have been to a venue that combines an activity with food and drink in the past year and half (49 percent) have chosen an eatertainment venue for a regular night out with friends, showing the increasingly important role eatertainment plays for consumers.

With the growing popularity of eatertainment venues, it’s important to understand exactly what guests are looking for in their eatertainment experience. While activities other than drinking are a definite draw, quality food (28 percent) is still the number one consideration when guests are choosing a bar or club for a night out with friends. Other top considerations include:

  • Close proximity to their home (27 percent)
  • Offering activities other than drinking (14 percent)
  • Craft beer or cocktails on the menu (12 percent)

“With one in five Americans choosing a venue that combines an activity with food and drink, and 25 percent saying they have more fun at these types of eatertainment venues, it’s important that operators start to look at new ways to drive revenue and loyalty for their businesses,” added Montaniel. “From hosting a wine and cheese tasting class with your in-house sommelier, to welcoming local artists into your venue for Monday Music nights, there is no limit to what you can do to create memorable experiences for your guests that will keep them coming back for years to come.”

The full report is available here.

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