The hospitality industry is getting competitive, and it is no longer enough to serve a delectable menu of gourmet food, offer loyalty programs and provide an impeccable service, to stay at the top of your game. You should do something interesting and something vastly different that will catch your customers’ interest and hold it for a long time.
Hosting event nights at your restaurant is one such solution. It keeps the guests entertained, and makes them come back for more. Having said that, you need to know what kind of events you can host at your restaurant and the things to remember while hosting them. Here is a list of 5 such restaurant events ideas that will liven up the slow nights at your restaurant:
1. Food Tasting Event
Why not utilize the core of your restaurant, i.e. the FOOD? Food tasting events are chef-driven and usually offer items that are not regularly found on your menu.
- The trick is to offer something special and unique.
- Contact a renowned chef and ask him to devise a few special recipes exclusive to your restaurant that you can feature at the food tasting event.
- Build a theme and feature the menu around the theme. The theme can be vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, based on a specific meat, about promoting local ingredients, centered on a specific region, and much more.
- Create bite-sized versions, samplers, or mini portions of food so that it becomes convenient to taste for your guests.
- A food tasting event should not precede your busiest or most profitable nights. So, you can arrange such tasting event on a night when you don’t get as much traffic. Conducting such an event once a month keeps up the uniqueness quotient.
With food tasting events, not only you will draw new customers, but also build the loyalty of your regular patrons.
2. Wine Tasting Event
If you serve alcoholic beverages at your restaurant, hosting a wine tasting event can be the perfect way to keep your cash register ringing. However, such events demand time and effort both.
- Although the best days for hosting a wine tasting event are Friday and Saturday, you can surprise your guests by organizing it on a weekday. An interesting event like this will see patrons flocking in.
- If you have a wine expert in your team, engage his services or hire a sommelier for the event. He can provide interesting tips and teach your patrons the right etiquette to taste and consume wines.
- Make sure to keep the right glasses for the event – wide bowled glasses for the red wines, narrow goblets for the white wines and flutes for your best champagne.
- Offer an interesting menu of cheeses and other food items that pair well with the wines.
- Avoid keeping flowers and scented candles near the tables as the fragrance might overpower the smell of wine and ruin the experience for your guests. A nice arrangement of glasses and grapes is just fine.
Make sure that you choose heavier wines in the winter and lighter varieties in the summer time.
3. Comedy Nights
Who doesn’t love humor, after all, people want to be entertained! Lately, comedy clubs have become an all new rage, with guests looking for a great time along with some delicious food.
- Invite a celebrity comedian, however, if the budget is an issue, engage a good local standup comedian.
- Get involved in the script to avoid any unpleasant or offending jokes.
Pay attention to the kind of audience that you entertain. For example, a family restaurant must dodge any kind of adult humour.
4. Ladies Night
Organizing Ladies Night is one of the more popular tricks in the book to attract customers during slow nights. Ladies love to hang out with their girlfriends over good food and great music.
Announce some cuisines special for that night.
- Offer discounts and special offers like buy one get one free or unlimited free cocktails.
- You can also announce prizes for Ms. Evening, Best Dressed, Ms. Smile and other such criteria.
- Conducting this event twice a month, will not only gain the attention of ladies but will also help spread your brand name in their social circuit.
Similarly, you can also experiment with men’s night or bachelors’ night.
5. Karaoke, Live Music, DJ or Theme Night
Musical nights is one of the most conventional, yet effective ways to enhance your customer base. According to a study published in the journal Appetite in 2006, listening to music increases the appetite, amount of food consumed and duration of the meals.
You can experiment with karaoke, live music, DJ or theme nights and give a variety of music entertainment to your customers.
- In live music nights, you can invite local musicians to play at your location. Promoting local artists will build a positive image of your brand and also gather their fan following. For example, you can dedicate a night to a local band and publicize it on their fan page or fan club.
- Theme nights are extremely popular too. 80’s, 90’s, Mardi Gras, Disco, Pajama, Crazy Hat, Toga, Gangster – theme nights are only limited by your imagination.
Apart from these, charity events, singles’ night, kids eat free night, and open mic night other engaging events that can be tried upon.
Restaurant event ideas may sound brilliant, but can totally backfireif not executed properly.
Here are a few key considerations to keep in mind while hosting events in your restaurant
Contact a trusted music band- Always check their social media pages and take reviews on their performances. A bad experience may turn your event into a failure and may damage your business.
- Involve press and media- Conducting regular events may create a recall value in their mind about your brand and if you get lucky, they might write or broadcast a story on your upcoming event. You can also request them to list your event in the “Events” section of the city journal.
- Pay attention to the ambiance keeping in with the theme of the event- For example – you can change the lights, curtains, table covers, flower arrangement, etc to match the look and feel of the event.
- Promote the event well. Make sure that you promote the event before and after your event. Post your invitation and all other details on your social media and business website pages. Take plenty of pictures during and post event, post them online, thank your patrons and invite them to tag themselves.
By hosting regular events at your restaurant, you give your customers a new experience every time, so, they look forward to visiting you again and again.