In order to run a successful quiz night and build trade the whole affair needs to be consistent: on the same night of the week, at the same time and in the same format (as long as the format is working)
Unless you are incorporating other activities into the quiz night try and have a start, middle and an end to the quiz. (My quiz nights had the added benefit of Sticky Thirteens a form of bingo using playing cards, so my quizzes were in two parts).
Generally an easy way to ease people into their seats and get them settled for the quiz is to start with a picture round – we usually ran themed picture rounds as this does not involve intent listening to the quizmaster/mistress whilst players settle down.
Presentation is the key to a good night – no matter how interesting or fun your quiz is it is vital that the quizmaster/mistress has an outgoing personality and above all does not “drone on”.
Remember to have frequent breaks for the players to go to the bar (if your bar staff haven’t already given them table service) or to go to the toilet or to grab a quick smoke. The reason for holding the quiz is to sell more drinks so give your customers as many opportunities to do so as possible.
Quizzes are meant to be fun, engaging, interesting and sometimes “stretching” so the content needs to reflect that aim. You may wish to purchase your complete quiz package from a third party, however, I believe quizzes that you prepare yourself (or your quizmaster/mistress prepare) albeit from bought questions are better as you will be able to tailor it to the unique needs of your business and the unique preferences of your customers.
Popular categories include the typical trivia categories: history, geography, science & nature, sports, entertainment
Unless you are a big sports pub, try to avoid themed sections such as a dedicated sports section, this may turn off many customers, rather drop the odd sports question into the quiz
Some favourite alternatives to themes you can use are linking questions i.e. three questions in a row are related and a bonus point is given for giving the link. (For instance in our music quiz we would often play three consecutive TV themes and ask for the link… Doctor Who, Star Trek & Thunderbirds … all Sci-Fi)
“Our Survey Said” …. A family fortunes question could ask, say, what do you do before you go to sleep? The DVD game (available from Amazon) has over a 1,000 questions and answers and at less than a tenner is a very cheap way to build this question.
Use the BBC’s Pointless quiz show to create a roll-over jackpot – buy the book from your local bookstore.
Quotes, anagrams and moderately hard puzzles are another great addition – any number of sources for those questions, for instance this list of 100 Quotes For Pub Quizzes
Keep it topical – add an “in this week’s news” round – the news reviews of the quality Sunday newspapers are a good source for this.
Weird and Wonderful – urban myths, oddities, whacky items – the BBC home page has a specific area called Weird and Wonderful – always a good source of information for these types of questions.
If you have the computer skills and the time the occasional video round that you can put on to a DVD to play through your TV sets (if you have them) always goes down well.
A note on Music Quizzes – you should ensure that you have the correct Performing Rights Society (PRS) Licence and Phonographic Performance Limited (PPL) Licence to cover the playing of copyright music.
Use all internal and external means to advertise when it is, what time it starts, how much it costs (or make a big thing of it being free) what the prizes are.
Overall you want to try and make the quiz a talking point amongst customers and their friends – there is no better advertising than word of mouth on how much fun your quiz nights are.
And finally …
Mark Labbett, “the beast” from popular TV quiz the Chaser, has this to say about putting on the perfect pub quiz:
“It is all about fun, fun, fun. The job of the quizmaster is very important and that is what a lot of pubs get wrong. They give the job to the most junior member of the team when really it needs someone who can read the crowd, engage with them, know when to speak and know when to shut up.
There is also the danger of people getting DJ-itis, where they think they are hilarious. Not that many people can be that funny for two hours straight.
They need to get the right level of questions and keep it positive. It is much better to have people feel good about getting questions right than feel bad because they didn’t get any. When I set a quiz people think it will be really hard but if anything it is probably too easy. Questions should be fun, it is not about the quizmaster showing how clever they are.”