Reward Responsible Drinking with These 8 Designated Driver Promotions

Reward Responsible Drinking with These 8 Designated Driver Promotions

Alcohol is a huge part of American culture. You know what's not part of American culture? Busses. Public transportation is seriously lacking in the US, the land of the freely flowing spirits. 

Did you know that almost everyone who goes out for a night of alcohol-induced fun would have even more, safer fun if designated drivers were readily available? We’re talking nine out of ten people surveyed. Those missed drinks are a huge missed opportunity for your business. 

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There’s a massive market demand for the highly important designated driver. Unfortunately, being the designated driver… kinda sucks. That’s why customers would rather drink less and drive themselves home in the first place. 

But what if there was something you could do to keep customers safe, make more sales, and encourage more people to take on the critical role of designated driver? 

The answer? You need to make a night out appealing to everyone, including the person who isn’t drinking. Establishments that use designated driver promotions find that their patrons increase their use of a designated driver by 13 percent. And each party with a designated driver means higher tabs on average. 

So, be a hero with these top fun and exciting campaigns for encouraging designated driving and responsible drinking. 


Group of people clinking glasses together, cheers.


Top 8 Designated Driver Promotions 

The benefits of a designated driver for your customers and other people on the roads are obvious. But what about your small business’s bottom line? 

Offering designated driver promotions encourages more people to frequent your establishment because the designated driver won’t feel left out. These promotions can pull in a higher market share from your top competitors. 

1. Freebies 

If your business can take on a loss leader, offering free food and snacks for designated drivers is a strong starting point. Free coffee, soft drinks, teas, and snacks encourage people to take on the responsibility of being the designated driver (DD). 

People will be more likely to refrain from drinking if they know they won’t be thirsty or hungry waiting for their friends to finish up. Also, offering free drinks and snacks makes the night more fun (and cheaper) for the DD. 

2. Discounted Meals

Take a look at your menu and see if you can offer a discount on some or all of your menu items for DDs. Someone who would normally like going out for drinks with friends will be more likely to abstain if they know they can get something out of it. Remember, the idea is that if you keep the DD happy, their friends are likely to order more than they would otherwise. 


Designated driver promo for a free non-alcoholic drink.


3. Host a Special DD Promotional Night

Are there certain days of the week, month, or year when people are more likely to drink at your establishment? Then, consider making these a special designated driver promo night. 

This serves several purposes:

  • Keeps people safer 
  • Gets more people through your doors
  • Elevates your business reputation

This is a win-win for everyone involved. Consider offering a creative giveaway that’s on-point for your brand and customer base. 

Here are some examples:

  • Complimentary non-alcoholic drinks for the designated driver of each party that arrives together – you can identify the designated driver with a wristband or marker. 
  • Complimentary appetizers or desserts for groups with a designated driver.
  • A raffle or prize giveaway exclusively for designated drivers, such as a loyalty card, gift card, or branded merchandise.
  • A VIP seating area or exclusive access to a desirable venue area for parties with a designated driver.
  • A contest where designated drivers can win prizes for showcasing creative and fun ways to have a night out without drinking.
  • Creating a social media contest that encourages customers to share their designated driver experience and stories to win prizes or discounts.

The key is ensuring that the promotion or giveaway emphasizes the importance of having a designated driver and its role in promoting responsible drinking.

4. Social Media 

Want to generate increased buzz for your business online AND encourage responsible drinking? Then, a social media campaign is an effective strategy. 

Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Create a unique hashtag for your customers to share their designated driver experiences. For example, #DDheroes or #SoberDriverNight.
  • Post about the campaign across your social media pages, encourage your followers to participate and use the hashtag.
  • Incentives are everything. Offer a prize or discount to customers who participate in the campaign.
  • Feature selected customer posts on your social media pages to showcase the positive impact of designated driving and to inspire others to do the same.
  • Make graphics sharing tips and reminders about the importance of having a designated driver and encourage customers to make a plan before they go out.
  • Partner with local designated driver services or taxi companies to provide resources for customers who need a ride home.

Consider running the campaign for a couple of weeks. That way, you can track its effectiveness and impact on customer behavior. Then, tweak, optimize, rinse, and repeat. 

With a DD-focused social media campaign, you can reach a broader audience and engage customers in promoting responsible drinking and designated driving.


Athletic Brewing Company non-alcoholic beers.


5. Non-alcoholic Beers Promotions

If you own a brewery or beer is an otherwise heavy-hitter on your beverage list, then consider offering DDs a free or discounted non-alcoholic beer. If you’re feeling industrious, you could even create a non-alcoholic beer specifically to celebrate your designated driver patrons. 

You could also go all-in with a designated driver promotional package that includes non-alcoholic beers and tasty snacks at a reduced price. But for this tactic to work to the best of its ability, you’ve got to generate some buzz. 

Display signs, posters, or a brewery banner highlighting these options for designated drivers. Providing information about the benefits of non-alcoholic beers (fewer calories and less alcohol, same great taste) could also encourage customers to choose them over regular beers.

6. Design a Mocktail Menu

The Shirley Temple is a classic. But why not spice things up a little? Allow your bartenders to showcase their creative sides and promote safe, designated driving with a special mocktail menu

One way to make this strategy even more effective is to generate a special campaign just for the mocktails. For example, a mocktail of the month that uses premium ingredients. Consider offering the mocktail for free or discounted for the DD of a group. If your location is more of a gastropub, the mocktail menu can also appeal to families looking for something more than standard sodas. 


People playing games at table with beers.


7. Entertaining Activities 

One of the biggest reasons people don’t want to be the designated driver is that it can be boring. When your friends are having a rip-roaring time with no you-know-what’s given, it can be a drag. 

So, allow your establishment to save the DD’s day with fun activities they can join to stay engaged. 

  • Karaoke
  • Bingo
  • Trivia 
  • Darts
  • Pinball
  • Pool
  • Foosball
  • Shuffleboard

8. Designated Driver Loyalty Cards

Designated drivers are the unsung heroes of the community. They keep their friends and neighbors safe while also helping your establishment maintain a responsible drinking environment. 

So, reward them with a designated driver loyalty card. This can encourage customers to visit more regularly and willingly DD when they do. 

Help Stomp Out Drunk Driving 

Designated drivers are critical to the community. But asking someone to sacrifice a night of drinking after a long week at work is a big ask. Make it easier for them to say yes with freebies, promotions, loyalty cards, and fun activities exclusively for them. With these promotions, you can do your part to help Stomp out impaired driving. 

Get started with our free design tool that makes it super easy for you to design branded brewery products like loyalty cards, banners, and other promotional items to encourage safe drinking.


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  • Nashira Edmiston