Leveraging Popular Bar and Restaurant Themes in 2022

restaurants digital menu boards

In today’s competitive landscape, you must be unique to draw in new customers and cultivate brand loyalty. With so many bars and restaurants out there and new ones popping up on a regular basis, there’s an opportunity to get creative and make your brand stand out.

What does it take to be successful? How can you get and keep patrons excited? A key place to start is to develop an unforgettable concept.

Here are a few ways to optimize some the most popular bar and restaurant themes to set your business apart from the crowd.

Leaning Into Your Location and Branding

Depending on the genre of your bar or restaurant, leaning into a specific theme in terms of the overall look and feel of the establishment is an easy place to start. For example, Boathouse Cantina located on the banks of the Arkansas River in Colorado fully leans into boat culture.

Their outside patio resembles a ship deck and their prime location right on the water leans into this general vibe. They host a variety of events featuring the name “on the rocks” to lean into their bar scene. For example, guests can enjoy “comedy on the rocks” on a regular basis at Boathouse.

Boathouse has also leaned into relevant restaurant technology to streamline processes and integrate branding into the overall restaurant experience. Using digital menu boards, management can easily update new items and leverage a boat-themed layout.

“I’m going to recommend (digital menus) to all of my friends in restaurant management! It has made my job so much easier! I can actually focus on other important things instead of trying to update my servers on beer every single shift and making and printing menus! I cannot say enough good things about this!” noted Becca Eggleston, Boathouse Cantina’s General Manager.

Integrate Your Theme into Your Brand’s Name and Key Offerings

Another authentic way to differentiate yourself from the competition is have your restaurant’s name reflect what makes you stand out. For example, Slater’s 50/50 was founded by Scott Slater, a SoCal native with a passion for burgers, bacon, and craft beer. Inspired by the belief that bacon is meat candy, Scott created the original 50/50 patty– made of 50% ground bacon and 50% ground beef – which now has evolved to include an array of inconceivably “slaterized” items packed with award-winning burgers and other food options, too.

People who select to dine at Slater’s 50/50 know they’re getting this authentic burger and dining experience before they even walk in the door. This “rebel gastropub” has won numerous “Best Of” awards and been recognized by various local, regional, and national media outlets.

They also boast a legendary beer program. Every year, Slater’s 50/50 taps over 1000 different craft beers, something very few restaurants in this nation can claim. They’re proud to be an integral part of the craft beer community and commit to supporting local breweries.

Using Evergreen’s tools, Mark Shultz, Slater’s 50/50’s beverage director, was able to cut down the time spent managing his beer program from two hours a day to 10 minutes. This freed him up to focus on other businesses tasks and enhance the overall experience for his guests.

Support Your Local Community

Another critical theme is that of partnering with other businesses and giving back to the community. Flying Saucer Drought Emporium was able to raise over $250K for World Central Kitchen to support Ukraine. Uniting behind a timely event is a great way to encourage business that make people feel good about supporting a common mission.

This isn’t the first time Flying Saucer has leveraged a community campaign, either. Last year, they raised money for The Michael James Jackson Foundation that funds scholarship awards for technical education to Black, Indigenous, and People of Color within the brewing and distilling trades. Winners used these scholarships to kickstart or advance their education towards careers in the brewing and distilling industries.

How Will You Stand Out?

This are just a few of the restaurant themes bars and restaurant owners are leaning into. Restaurateurs are coming up with new and authentic ways to entice guests on a regular basis. How will you stand out? Consider leveraging your location, branding, key offerings, and community giving to boost business.