Organising a Pub Quiz Night (or Day)

Initially, organising a pub quiz night is just a matter of deciding what the best day and time probably is, and then asking potential players what they think. Start advertising for players as soon as possible. Make sure an employee takes their names, phone numbers and emails during this period. Then you can let potential players know what fixed day and time has been set for your pub quiz.

Our advice for organising a pub quiz night is laid out below. It will help you choose the best timing and frequency for your pub quiz. If you have good reasons for making other choices, discuss it with us. We both want this to work seemlessly.

How many trivia players are needed?

To work out your target number of trivia players – count the number of the chairs at the tables you can fit in your event room. To establish a Trivia night of 40-50 regular players you need a rotation of 80-90 regular players.

To establish a Trivia night of 40-50 regular players you need a rotation of 80-90 regular players.

After you start the quiz, you will attract different types of people. People who play weekly, fortnightly or monthly, according to whim or other commitments. The rotation number compensates for those people who do not attend every week. Once you have built up your target rotation of regulars, then you can set a consistent day and time. Some people just drop in when they can. If trivia is on a different day – they miss out. Next time, they might not come again.

So, once this day and time is set, it is best not to change it.

Establishing the Pub Quiz

When you start establishing your trivia quiz comp, there is usually a six week lead in period. This gives more and more trivia players time to discover your event via advertising. During the first comps, the host may survey new players to see if the day you chose, is the best day and time for them. If a toastmasters group, or a group of rotary members wish to play, but the day or time conflicts, you can adjust to accomodate them. It isn’t possible to please everyone, but at this stage you can adapt.

In this teething period you can also watch for any problems that may occur. Do you have enough tables and are they placed well? As the advertising continues to bring in new people, you can adjust the seating in your trivia room to best accomodate them. Can the restaurant make enough meals the day they come or will they need more staff? Does the pub quiz conflict with another group of patrons, if so, can the players be relocated to a better trivia room. Does too much noise, spoil the trivia players enjoyment of the quiz, and what can be done help them hear the clues and questions more clearly.

Best day/night of the week to run a pub quiz?

To start you have to choose either a day or night pub quiz outright. The day and time may be adjusted a little, until you have the best time. If you do this, let the new players know what you are doing. They will understand as long as they realize this is temporary (and it doesn’t affect them too much).

which day pub triviaMonday to Wednesday are the most popular day and night choices
Thursday and Sunday are less often chosen but still ok.
Day trivia is well attended on Friday.
Saturday is rarely a good choice for day or night quiz competitions.

Choosing a day or night quiz depends on your target audience.  Some venues run both types, usually on different days. A day trivia quiz for seniors who prefer not to drive at night and like to go to bed early, and a night trivia quiz for workers who are unable to attend in the day.

What time should I start the trivia quiz?

The pub quiz takes two, to two and a half, hours to complete. The timing of your quiz should be discussed with your restaurant staff, as this product will make you the most money from your attendees and bring them repeat business if handled correctly.

trivia nightsNight Time

Trivia Night competitions draw people who work. Complete Trivia or Quizwiz is more suitable for people coming to evening competitions.

Some start early at 6.00 pm. People may eat during the quiz, or stay to eat after.

Most start later between 7.00 pm  and 7.30 pm. Players come earlier and eat before or during the quiz.

8.00 pm is probably the latest starting time you should pick, in order to finish by 10.30.

Day TriviaDay Time

Trivia day competitions draw seniors who are retired, and people actively looking for daytime social entertainment. Memory Lane Trivia is the perfect day trivia show for seniors.

Some venues do a 10.30 am start before lunch. They offer morning or afternoon coffee and cake. They offer juices or mocktails with dips and crackers. Some charge a “meal + quiz” entry fee.

Some start at 12.00 am + include lunch.
Most do a 2.00 pm after lunch quiz start.

Why are pub quizzes run Weekly?

A Weekly pub quiz brings in regular paying customers as often as possible. It is also the easiest way to remember to come for trivia players. Any other frequency requires people to look it up on a calendar. If Tuesday is Trivia Night – people know this automatically. If people invite them elsewhere – they only need to ask “Is that on a Tuesday? Because Tuesday is my trivia night.”

Is a fortnightly or monthly frequency ok?

Some venues do run a monthly pub quiz competition.  Make sure you run it on the same day of the week, say the first Tuesday in the month. This is the easiest to remember. People will probably adjust to the second Wednesday, or the third Monday, or even the last Thursday in a month, but it’s harder for them.

Our experience tells us, that fortnightly is just too hard for people to remember. They have to work out which is the on or off week. This makes them have to think, people forget, and if they fail to turn up a few times, it goes in the too hard basket.

Can I change the day or time after its set?

If you have a loyal crowd and have had one for a year or more, you probably shouldn’t. You might get away with a half hour change relatively easily. Or switch the day by apologetically saying we absolutely have to change the day because…

But if it’s not absolutely essential…  NO! Don’t do it!

People are creatures of habit. Habit automatically tells people what they have to do on Tuesdays. Part of their trivia team do rotary on that new day you are proposing, another member has soccer practice. Some members can’t make it on time if you do it earlier. Players don’t want to change, it’s a hassle. Many will adapt, but sometimes many will drop out.

Set up the trivia quiz and keep it fun and regular, that’s all you have to do! Great quiz, same time-same place, this simple formula is what keeps players happy.

Change the frequency, the day, the time and the room location and people stop coming. Why? Because they can’t remember, have to think, have to call their friends and tell them, have to remember again every week. They get lost – and then they get cross.

It’s not worth it! The primary key to keeping your Trivia event well attended, is to not risk breaking people’s habit patterns once they are set. They are like Hem in the empty cheese station. Just let them have their cheese.

Trivia: “Who Moved My Cheese?”, by Spencer Johnson was a business bestseller published in 1998. It describes change, and typical reactions to change, in a parable about two mice, two “little people”, and their hunts for cheese.

More information is also available on our Frequently Asked Questions page about organizing a Pub Quiz night


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