When a group is thinking about holding an event, a restaurant is usually the first place people turn to. Events including a wedding-rehearsal dinner, a large charity function and a corporate holiday party can improve business at your restaurant.
Hosting events brings in customers who might have never heard of your restaurant or who have been meaning to visit. Depending on the event, you can have hundreds to thousands of initial visitors. The event gives those potential customers a reason to dine with you. Wow them with your food and customer service, and you’ve gained a repeat customer.
Events have potential to bring in people who use social media, which means plenty of check-ins, tweets, Facebook posts and Instagram pictures in and about your establishment.
There are many types of events you can hold, and each has a vast array of benefits.
If you have a separate area in your restaurant that can be closed off, use it as a private party room. You need only one person to take an interest in your restaurant, and the person can fill up the room as much as it allows.
Private party rooms can be used for events including rehearsal dinners, bridal and baby showers, family reunions and business meetings. Such parties take little planning and provide tremendous sales for the day.
Fundraisers are an excellent way to get involved with the community — something that isn’t overlooked by members. Provide a venue for a fundraiser, raise some money for the community and make some money for your restaurant at the same time. That’s a pretty good deal.
Hold small-scale fundraisers for a school’s athletic or arts boosters. During Thanksgiving and Christmas, raise money for soup kitchens. Increase traffic by having a week during which customers receive 10% off if they bring in a nonperishable food item to donate to a food drive.
You can also volunteer your restaurant to host participants and volunteers after charity walks, marathons and relays.
Along with Thanksgiving and Christmas fundraisers, hold a special party for New Year’s, the Super Bowl, Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day and Halloween. Encourage guests to dress up for the occasion, whether it be in costume, a sports jersey or a festive color. Create special drinks for the party, and work with customers and the media to promote the event.
Bring in guest chefs, or hold a party for the opening of a seasonal area such as a rooftop, patio or garden. Create dual dinner opportunities with a local farm, co-op or bakery. These events offer something different to your devoted guests, which they’ll remember and appreciate.
Sara Petersen is the content and marketing manager at Punch Mobile Marketing. Punch’s mission is to produce the best mobile-marketing content and solutions for foodservice providers to succeed at the mobile level. Read the company’s blog, follow it on Twitter and “like” its Facebook page.