Our friends at event management software company Gather are sharing ways you can make your private events a knock out success.
Whether you’ve got an expansive banquet room or a small semi-private space, hosting private events at your restaurant can provide a significant boost to your bottom line. If you’re looking for ways to stand out from your competition, offering customization options to event prospects is a great tactic.
Below we’re highlighting a few creative ways you can ensure your private events are one of a kind.
1. Mix up the menu
Having a private events menu that’s separate from your regular restaurant menu is a great way to help your kitchen staff work more seamlessly during a party at your space. Event menus are typically pared-down from your usual menu, meaning chefs can better anticipate what they’ll have to fire off during the course of the event.
It’s best to customize the menu for the event. For example, for holiday events incorporate seasonal dishes and flavors. For a networking event, offer dishes that are easy to eat and can be enjoyed sitting or standing.
2. Play into the theme
Small touches can make a big impression on your event client. Showing attention to detail takes the customer service experience to the next level and helps create a lasting relationship, potentially resulting in repeat business, word-of-mouth recommendations, and positive public feedback.
It can be something as small as offering to supply themed decor, renaming menu items to reflect the soiree (“Kayla and John’s Soulmate spaghetti squash” for an anniversary celebration, anyone?), or having servers’ uniforms align with the theme (wearing red poinsettia pins during holiday events, for example).
3. Offer special cocktails
Signature drinks aren’t just for weddings. Let your bartenders flex their mixology muscles by concocting some special cocktails. Offering your event client a signature cocktail option makes them feel valued and like their input truly matters.
You can simply rename a common mixed drink to go along with the party’s theme, or you can go so far as to incorporate the client’s favorite liquor or fruit flavor into a sipper they’ll surely be boasting about all night long.
4. Provide add-ons
Add on packages are a great way to increase the revenue your restaurant makes from private events. Many businesses offer tiered pricing for different levels of event offerings. While a classic event package may include no customization, a top-tier package could include all of your available customization, from string-light rentals to a pair of included onsite bartenders.
This is a great way to leverage common nontraditional event elements too. You can offer a made-to-order omelette station for a morning event or an onsite cotton candy machine for a birthday party. You work with the vendor, the vendor supplies the fun add-on, and the event client has one less item on their to-do list.
5. Suggest preferred vendors
Having preferred vendors is win-win—you bring more business to a company you trust, and you help narrow down options for your event client. Some restaurants have a formal preferred vendors list they work with for things like photo booths, florals, linens, and decor. These should be people who have successfully worked with your location before, ideally on more than one occasion.
If you don’t have a formal list, you can simply pass along contact info. If you don’t have preferred vendors, consider reaching out to those you’ve partnered with in the past to see if you can strike up a mutually beneficial relationship where you recommend them to clients when it’s appropriate, and vice versa.
6. Don’t forget about social media
It’s no secret that leveraging social media is one of the most effective—and affordable—marketing strategies around. First, make sure your business name and location is up to date, so guests can properly geotag your space.
It’s also a good idea to craft a unique hashtag (like #EatatJoes) and encourage followers to use it. This helps give your online presence more organic exposure. A common tactic for this? Note in your Instagram profile that guest posts featuring your hashtag could be reposted on your account, giving the original poster more exposure and supplying you with great content.
Want to learn more about how to market your restaurant? Check out our ultimate industry marketing guide.