Quiz Nights (page 2) 


Generally your customers will take part in your quiz because they enjoy them and not because of huge cash prizes – that’s what TV game shows are for!

Prizes (and associated items) will cost you but you should be able to weigh up the “cost benefit” to your business as you do with any other form of entertainment.

My rule of thumb is that the cost of entertainment should bring in 3 times the amount of trade that you would normally expect during that trade session.

So, for instance, if your Tuesday nights are so dire that you only take £100 and your cost total (including any cash/stock give aways, quiz sheet printing, pens, cost of quiz (if bought) or cost of quizmaster/mistress with own quiz) is £100 then you need to take at least £300 extra during the session.

As I generally ran free to enter quizzes this is what I used to do:

  • £20 first prize (tie-breaker rules applied – see below)
  • 6 bottles of beer (330ml or smaller)
  • Random third prize drawn from all the other entrants of a bottle of wine (this is a great way of making sure that there is a fair distribution of prizes)

With the beer and the wine choose those lines that cost you the least and stick to that choice. Sometimes it is a good way of getting rid of over-stocked items or those near to sell-by date that you would otherwise have to write off from your stock (remember that buy one get one free offer that seemed too good to pass up – but the product didn’t sell that well – we’ve all done that!) Talking of stocks, don’t forget to record for your stock taker all those stock items you give away as prizes!

Prizes can either be taken on the night or you can issue a voucher that limits the time in which the prize can be collected (for instance within one/two weeks) as often the winner may not want to take the prize at the time.

Tie-breakers – make them fun and part of the theatre of the night. Make them “to the nearest”, say, how many miles is it from John o’Groats to Lands End in yards! The first team captain to reach the quizmaster/mistress with the correct answer written down would win.

A favourite for our non-spoken music quiz was our infamous “dance-off” – tied teams would choose a team member to dance to a track from the quiz and the whole audience of quizzers judge their respective performances (clap-o-meter style). In most cases both teams ended up with the prize as the entertainment and atmosphere benefit far out-weighed the actual cost and the feedback and word of mouth is huge. (You be the judge – try it!)

So I’ve decided to hold a quiz…what type should I run?

There are many types and styles of quiz, some will have a long-term appeal, some may be event/date specific (Hallowe’en, World Cup, Olympic etc), some spoken, some recorded music, some video – what you choose to put on will depend on the cross-section of customers you have (or wish to encourage) in your pub.

I ran two quiz nights in my last pub – both of which were hugely popular and both of which were hugely profitable. On Monday nights we ran a spoken General Knowledge Quiz (with a nod to Stephen Fry’s QI we called it General Ignorance) and on Thursday nights a part spoken and part recorded music quiz. Part of the reasoning for the former was that Mondays were not particularly busy and we wanted to build trade; it was quite a measured and “brainy” affair; the latter as a pre-cursor to the weekend that was loud, boisterous and had lots of audience participation.

Top Tip from Jon Kutner who earlier this year ran his 2,000th pub quiz:

“I started the B-side Baffler in 1995. I’d grab a 7in, play the B-side, and the first person to come up and correctly identify the A-side won a free pint. But then I started making it a snowballing cash prize, where you win it if you’re the only team to correctly name the track on the other side. It means everyone has a chance – we’ve had teams before that have been about 100 points behind everyone else in the main quiz, but they’ve still walked out with a £300 prize for having a complete stab in the dark.”


As with everything planning and preparation is the key

The quiz-master/mistress should assume responsibility for the smooth running of the quiz including: questions/answers, answer sheets (if you can run to it get self-carbonating duplicate answer sheets – easier for marking/checking etc) pens, prizes, microphone (batteries included!)

Continue reading … page 1 • page 3