DJ Trivia Nevada boosting business for restaurants, bars in Reno-Carson area
RENO, Nev. — It’s 2012 and Vickie Musni is at a business conference on a cruise ship out of New Orleans.
As a certified personality trainer based in Reno, Musni is there to speak and inspire business owners to understand personalities and build meaningful relationships as they grow their business.
Unbeknownst to Musni, before the cruise ends, she would be inspired, too.
“At the end of our cruise, our group had a social night and we played DJ Trivia,” said Musni, referencing the DJ-hosted interactive trivia game played at restaurants and bars across the country. “And I looked at my husband and I said, ‘Reno needs this. As soon as we’re ready to buy into another business, this is what I want to do.’”
At the time, the Musnis held the contract that managed wedding photography at the Peppermill Hotel and Casino in Reno. After that contract ended, they began blueprinting plans to launch DJ Trivia in Nevada.
Specifically, Musni wanted to bring the family-friendly trivia games to Northern Nevada to help boost business for local bars and restaurants.
And for the past seven years, that’s exactly what Vickie and Craig Musni have done.
Since kicking off in April 2013 at the Little Waldorf across the street from the University of Nevada, Reno campus, DJ Trivia Nevada has bloomed into a company with 13 part-time trivia hosts who put on 23 trivia nights a week at local businesses in Reno, Sparks, Carson City and Fallon.
“For me, what excites me is when I hear bars and restaurants telling me how much it helps them,” Musni said. “I love working with other local owners. When I walk in and I meet the owner of a bar or restaurant and I know that what I’m doing is growing their business, and that’s how they’re putting food on the table for their family … that’s my favorite thing.”
CREATING REPEAT CUSTOMERS
According to businesses that partner with DJ Trivia Nevada, the interactive game is indeed injecting more sales — and fun — into their establishments.
“They’ve made business on our Thursday nights just through the roof — it’s wild,” Crystal Bowman, manager of Telegraph Coffee & Tap in Fallon, told the NNBW.
Bowman said the Fallon-based coffeehouse/bar’s revenue on Thursday nights has increased by 60% since it started partnering with DJ Trivia roughly a year ago.
“It’s so much fun, people talk about it all week,” she continued. “People who have never been in the shop have come in for DJ Trivia and then they become repeat customers.”
What’s more, Bowman said employees at Telegraph Coffee & Tap not only benefit from the uptick in sales and tips on DJ Trivia nights, but they also are able to play along.
“My staff actually fights to work on Thursdays because of it,” she added.
For Bret Schaeffer, owner of The 395 Craft Beer & Spirits in Sun Valley, bringing in DJ Trivia Nevada was a no-brainer. After all, Schaeffer had worked at other establishments that used Munsi’s business and “saw how much it helped them with their numbers.”
With that, two months after opening in January 2019, The 395 hired DJ Trivia to brew up fun and games on Wednesday nights.
“It’s bumped our numbers up quite a bit,” Schaeffer said. “I would say it’s increased our revenue by probably 50% (on Wednesdays) from when we first opened. We got a really good group of people that come in here (for DJ Trivia).
“They keep coming back; it’s their Wednesday night thing.”
That’s music to Musni’s ears.
“That’s my goal, is to get those mid-week nights so busy for them that they feel like a weekend,” she said. “And at the same time providing something really fun for my community.”
SET TO EXPAND
With more and more bars and restaurants in Northern Nevada growing their weekday business by partnering with DJ Trivia, Musni said she’s looking at eventually expanding into the Lake Tahoe region.
First, though, Musni said she’d like to add a few more partners in Carson City and Carson Valley before “venturing over the hill.” Moreover, she said the weather of Tahoe presents an added challenge to staging DJ Trivia nights.
“That’s kind of a big wildcard: if there’s a storm and roads are closed,” she said. “I’m very aware that in the events world you just have to make it happen. And I want to make sure that I’ve got everything on my end behind the scenes so that I can deliver flawlessly.
“If I’ve got a gig in Truckee and they close I-80 and there’s people expecting a trivia game and to be entertained, and I can’t deliver? … I need to have local people that are trained and on my team that I trust.”
Musni said she’d need to hire enough DJ hosts who live in the Truckee-Tahoe region before expanding outside of the Reno-Carson area. Musni said her “fantastic team” of currently 13 hosts, which work two-hour shifts a night, range from college students paying off tuition to adults working off debt to extroverts seeking social activity and some extra cash.
To that end, Musni said she takes pride in not only helping businesses boost sales, but also providing supplemental income for local residents.
“Just the fact that I’m creating some extra part-time jobs for people and doing my part in keeping the economy going is a good feeling,” Musni said. “Being in a business like this in this area has helped me feel so much more entrenched, not just to the business community, but to the community as a whole.”
Heather Ashbridge, who started with Nevada State Development Corporation in 2008, previously served in several roles with the organization, including assistant vice president and loan officer. She is based in NSDC’s Reno office.