Caesars Entertainment’s quest to satisfy guests with variety and good value has taken a mason-jar twist.
Sometimes a good idea can go over too well if it reaches the point where demand exceeds supply. Given the alternative it’s probably a problem most businesses would prefer to have as long as the situation can be righted in timely fashion.
That was basically the case when Caesars Entertainment started a 24/7 Happy hour at Showboat, established something similar at the Mountain Bar (now called Jim Beam Wild West Bar) at Bally’s, then began allowing property patrons to take home souvenir glassware with an initial cost of $8 and $4 for each refill.
“It was kind of an evolution that probably started around 2009,” says Ryan Coppola, director of beverage operations for Caesars Entertainment’s four Atlantic City properties (Caesars, Bally’s, Showboat and Harrahs). “We wanted to do something like a 24/7 Happy hour with a specific cocktail or beer special that ran all day every day, just to offer some sort of great value to customers no matter what time of the day.
“That was so successful here [at Showboat] that we added it to the Wild West at Bally’s, and from there we started this great keepsake offering where guests would come in and buy a cocktail like a Hurricane — a classic New Orleans drink — and get one of our specialty glasses for eight bucks and have all their refills for four bucks.
“Well, the program took off and we backed it up with a lot of marketing, but over the past year it actually got a bit too successful,” says Coppola. “The amount of glassware we were going through got to the point where it was nearly impossible to keep up with the demand, so we had to give it some thought and come up with the next logical step. That’s where we came up with this latest concept.”
The latest concept encompasses all four sites and includes signature drinks served in 23-ounce mason jars, each of which sort of captures an attribute unique to each property. The custom-made jars have handles to make them easy to tote around, and each also has a key-bar code stamp that patrons can scan with their smart phones.
“We wanted to make the mason jar the centerpiece of the promotion, so we put a key-bar code on the glass so that if we were to change the drink recipes — and we’re thinking about changing them throughout the year — you can scan the key-bar code and see what the new recipes are,” says Coppola. “You can also see videos on how to make the drinks yourself — it really makes it interactive and a comprehensive value offering that continues to evolve, and hopefully will keep guests wanting to come back.”
A $10 initial cost includes the jar, and refills for any of the four drinks — including the Cruzan Hurricane at Showboat (available at Freeze Daiquiri Bar, 12 Bar and Spirit Bar), the Absolut Gladiator at Caesars (Toga Bar), the Sauza Hornitos Cherry Lime Margarita at Bally’s (Wild West Bar, L Bar and Blue Martini), and the Jameson Gingerade at Harrah’s (Eden Lounge and X-Bar) — are just $6 for 23 ounces.
“It’s grown to the point where we’re ordering glassware in the hundreds of thousands now to make sure we have enough to go around,” says Coppola. “We got together with the Atlantic City Alliance and they allowed us to do our own spin on the DO AC logo, so we put Drink AC on the jar, which has sort of become our tagline.”
Fronted by gregarious vocalist/percussionist and consummate showman Benjamin “Dr. Cheeko” Lopez, and surrounded by as many as six others — depending on the venue size — with musical pedigrees as impressive as his own, Dr. Cheeko’s Island Soul has been aptly dubbed the “benchmark for all party beach bands on the Jersey coast.”