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July 14, 2022

Why your restaurant should use prepaid tickets

Restaurant tickets help take the risk out of operating a restaurant. Explore 6 benefits of prepaid tickets and see how to get started.
July 14, 2022

No-shows are a huge problem for the restaurant industry – one table not showing up can erase the profit for the night. Because of this, restaurant tickets are helping to take the risk out of operating a restaurant, bistro or bar.

Not only do prepaid tickets stop no-shows, they also save you time and give you control of your bottom line.

And the best part? Prepaid tickets aren’t new to your guests, and they’re no longer surprised when they have to pay in advance for a reservation.

It’s normal to book and buy tickets for the theatre, the cinema and travel. Now, they’re used in the restaurant industry as a way to eliminate no-shows, ensure that the kitchen has enough food prepared and generate cash flow.

Is your restaurant taking advantage of prepaid tickets? We’ve broken down the top 6 benefits of ticketing and explain why you should add them to your website below.

6 reasons why your restaurant’s website should start selling tickets

1. Prepaid tickets put an end to no-shows

Why do more and more restaurants use prepayments like deposits and tickets?

Because they stop no-shows.

Guests commit to your restaurant and are more likely to keep their reservation when they purchase a ticket.

And even if they pull a no-show, you’ve already been paid up-front. Find more ways to eliminate no-shows and see how top chefs do it here.

2. Tickets give you control over food costs

Selling prepaid tickets is good for your restaurant’s profits.

Think about it… whether you’re serving small plates, offering a buffet or focusing on a prix fixe menu, tickets let you know exactly how many people are coming into your restaurant. That means you have total control over the food and beverage costs and can adjust your ticket price to cover them.

Even selling prepaid tickets for a wine menu or an open bar is a great way to generate revenue. Why? Because it’s unlikely someone who purchases such a ticket will actually meet your alcohol costs.

The customer gets the food and guest experience that they expect (and deserve) and you get to prepare in advance without losing money.

3. Prepaid restaurant tickets eliminate food waste

Knowing the exact number of guests means you can do more than just control food costs – you can also eliminate food waste.

Food waste is a growing problem – with over 1 billion tons of food wasted every year (17% of food produced globally) – because of the environmental impact of raising crops and animals and the greenhouse gas emissions produced as a result.

Selling tickets to a dinner service or an event means you’ll know exactly how much food to buy and not get stuck with thousands of dollars of wasted food at the end.

4. Tickets help reduce staffing costs

The same benefit of food costs extends to staffing costs, too. When you sell prepaid tickets, you’ll know how many guests are coming and can make sure you have enough staff on hand.

5. Selling tickets online saves you time in admin

Selling tickets online for your restaurant frees up valuable time. Time that you don’t have to spend dealing with emails and calls asking about tickets and reservations.

Let your website do the work for you. When you sell tickets online through Superb’s Guest Experience Management platform (GXM), you can keep track of guests and sales in one place – without having to add another app or drive yourself crazy with spreadsheets.

It’s about time that restaurant technology worked for you, right? Having everything in one place saves you and your staff time, and that means more time to focus on the guest experience.

6. Prepaid tickets generate cash flow

Offering prepaid tickets online is a great way for a new restaurant to generate cash flow – even before you open.

It’ll bring in cash that you need for the final push before opening and be a way to properly gauge your first event or service. You’ll know who is coming and how much to prepare for.

Use the moment as a way to market your restaurant on social media and generate buzz around your opening.


6 reasons why your restaurant’s website should sell tickets


Tickets aren’t just for fine-dining restaurants

You don’t have to run a fine-dining restaurant to use prepaid tickets. They’re also perfect for smaller restaurants that only serve one menu and can’t afford to lose revenue on the night.

From beer tastings to one-off special events, tickets secure revenue for any type of restaurant, bistro, cafe or bar.

  • Regular lunch and dinner bookings
  • À la carte menus where the ticket serves as a down payment or deposit
  • Holidays like Christmas, New Year’s Eve and Valentine’s
  • Tasting menus – a great way to test new items and techniques
  • Wine or beer tastings
  • Dining events – Guest chef experiences, charity dinners and Chef’s tables or collaboration dinners
  • Unique experiences – knife work or wine-tasting classes
  • Pop-up restaurant
  • Package offers – like a set menu + wine
  • If the pandemic taught us anything, tickets are a great way to respond to restrictions


Prepaid tickets aren’t just for fine-dining


How to use prepaid tickets in your restaurant

Offering prepaid tickets on your website doesn't have to be an all-or-nothing decision. In fact, with the right restaurant ticketing software, you can offer tickets on some nights (or for certain events) and not on others.

Using tickets doesn’t mean that you abandon reservations and walk-ins. Instead, mix and match ticketing. This gives you the freedom to focus on the guest experience that you’re out to create.

Does the idea of blending tickets, walk-ins and reservations seem impossible to pull off? Look at clubs and concert venues for inspiration. They sell tickets in advance when a popular DJ comes in, but they’re open to the public (walk-ins) on other nights. Tickets are sold because of the demand.

How to determine demand at your restaurant? Look back at your bookings and data. Are Friday nights consistently booked? Do you have to turn guests away when a certain menu item or wine pairing is added?

Once you’ve determined where the demand is, restaurant ticketing software (like Superb’s Guest Management platform) can help you make the most of the service. And, as we saw in the benefits above, help you reduce costs, save time and stop no-shows.

When it comes to events at your restaurant, you may be comfortable going with standard reservations. But that’s where ticketing can turn a night with a guest chef into something truly special. By turning the service into an event and selling tickets, your guests will feel like they’re a part of something exclusive.

Worried that your guests won’t jump on the idea of prepaid tickets? Offer a ticket that includes the full cost of the meal – including the tip and the tax. You can have a wine or beer pairing as an add-on. This way, your guest won’t get surprised at the end of the night when the bill comes – it’s already paid for.

Your restaurant can also sell tickets as a down payment on the meal. This is great for restaurants focusing on à la carte. The cost of the ticket is subtracted from the final bill.                    

How to use prepaid tickets in your restaurant


Selling prepaid tickets for events at your restaurant 

There’s a whole world of revenue waiting for you when you sell prepaid tickets for events at your restaurant. Selling tickets in advance brings in cash flow and allows you to plan for the exact number of guests.

Your guests are already online. Offering tickets online means that you meet them where they are and makes the purchase experience that much easier.

With Superb’s GXM platform, you can customise your next event exactly like you want – set up special menus, drink pairings, seatings, rooms and even booking times.

And the best part... you can showcase your events alongside your reservations on your website. This makes it easy for any guest to choose their preferred restaurant experience.

Interested in using prepaid tickets at your next event? Check out 6 steps below to create and market a successful restaurant event.


Selling prepaid tickets for restaurant events


How to create and market a successful ticketed event at your restaurant, bistro or bar

You can provide a guest experience that goes beyond the usual service you offer. Look at events like the Blackout Dinner at Copenhagen’s Amass restaurant or Dining Amongst the Tanks at Broaden and Build for inspiration.

1. Decide what kind of event you want

Do you have a masterful sommelier who could offer a class about South African wines? Is your bartender interested in showing off his cocktail making skills? Can you invite another chef into your kitchen for a one-night-only tasting? What about Picnic Sundays like at Locanda? Yoga classes on the terrace with brunch after?

These are just a few examples of events you can offer. Consider teaching classes, too. If your restaurant has the space to teach or demonstrate, use that to your advantage for an educational event.

2. Choose where to hold the event

It’s important to plan the event around a time that works best for you and in an area that can fit the number of tickets sold. Do you need the entire bar? Will you require all of the outdoor seating?

This may sound easy… but if you run your event alongside normal service, you don’t want it to disrupt the guest experience of other diners. And you want to make sure that your staff can handle both the event and service without problems.

3. Put your event online

It’s time to put your event online so people can find it.

With a platform like Superb’s GXM (that has restaurant ticketing software built in), you can create an event on your website and start selling tickets in minutes. And you won’t have to worry about leaving out important details because our customer support team is here to help.

Make the event title informative but catchy – something like ‘Bad Boys are Back in Town’ by Weinskandal and MOCHI. In the description, be clear about what is offered and don’t forget the location, date and time.

By offering tickets directly from your website, you’ll have control over the entire process – from collecting guest data and overseeing transactions to seating times and add-ons – in one place.

4. Create a marketing strategy

When you use Superb’s GXM platform, you’ll have a shareable link that you can use to spread the word across social media and in your newsletter.

This link makes it easy for interested people to find more information and ultimately book a ticket for the event. As each event has a designated link, you can even use paid ads on Google AdWords and track the performance in Google Analytics.

But for guests to find the link… you have to market the event. Here are 3 marketing ideas that won’t take up a lot of time and will generate the interest you’re after.

1. Social media – Nothing is better than social media platforms for promoting your upcoming event. Focus on Instagram and Facebook and use photos and videos to catch people’s attention. Remember to include the ticket link so they can book.

If you don’t want to hire a designer to make a special flyer or poster for the event, check out free sites like Canva. This lets you create something eye-catching without spending extra money.

2. Printed flyers – Not every guest is on social media. Display a sign about your event at your restaurant, bistro or bar. If you have to-go orders, drop a flyer in with the takeaway.

3. Word of mouth – Your servers, bartenders and front-of-house staff are your greatest marketers. Have them communicate to your guests that you have an event coming up. They’ll be able to answer questions and help guests with booking.


How to create and market an event at your restaurant 


5. Hold the event

One of the best reasons for selling tickets through a platform like Superb’s GXM is that you'll have the guest data needed to successfully hold your event before the guests arrive.

This includes valuable information like dietary restrictions and allergies. And it’s easy to see the full guest list and track attendance.

While the event is happening, remember to take photos and videos. You can use these when promoting your next one.

6. Learn from feedback and prepare for the next one

Once the event is over, ask for feedback from guests to find out what to do differently next time. How did the guests find the spacing? Was the booking process easy? What would they like to see next time?


Sell restaurant tickets with Superb


Sell restaurant and event tickets with Superb

In addition to being the world’s first Guest Experience Management platform (GXM), Superb has helped some of the world’s top restaurants sell tickets online.

Are you interested in using Superb’s GXM platform?

Contact us for a free demo and learn more about ticketing, events and how we can help increase your revenue while maximising the guest experience.

Are you already a Superb user?

Start offering prepaid tickets today. Whether it’s a special event, set menu or à la carte, ticketing helps eliminate no-shows and puts cash in your hand up-front. Contact customer support to get started.

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