While people typically look at event planning from a logistical standpoint, there’s also a revenue angle that, when leveraged properly, creates a major income stream for your restaurant.
Whether you’re planning your first restaurant event or you have a few years of experience, this comprehensive guide will show you how to increase revenue without compromising the overall guest experience.
For starters, the main objective of restaurant, cafe and bar events is to connect with current and prospective customers and build relationships.
Not only do events allow you to share experiences with guests, but they’re also a great way to bring traffic on slower nights of the week.
Not enough reasons yet? Here are 7 more for why hosting events is good for your bar, bistro or restaurant.
Hosting an event is a reliable way of landing new guests. If you’re targeting millennials, 78% of them would rather spend money on an experience, such as an event at a restaurant or bar, compared to buying something from a store. Good news for your next event.
Fashion brands love launch parties and events because it gives them a chance to showcase the value of their product and brand. Your restaurant can use events to tell your brand story, too. Showcase the seasonal product on your degustation menu like Hiša Franko or highlight your dedication to your craft.
56% of diners go out to eat multiple times a week. Since your guests are already going out, use events to give them something to look forward to.
Ticket sales for an event are an obvious way to increase revenue, but scheduling staff is the one that never gets mentioned.
Since the flow of event service is different from regular dining and, thanks to the sale of prepaid tickets, prep work happens in advance, you’ll know exactly how many event attendees are coming and can schedule staff accordingly.
For most restaurant events, it’s possible to assign up to 30 guests to each server as long as preparations are finished beforehand.
“We need to start identifying what has monetary value within our restaurants that we could potentially push out of the four walls, to actually create another source of revenue.” – Matt Orlando of Amass in Copenhagen, Denmark
Events provide predictable revenue thanks to a predetermined menu and prepaid tickets. You’ll know your food and staffing costs upfront.
If your restaurant relies heavily on walk-ins, knowing exactly how many covers you have in one night can be tricky. When you host events, you’ll know the exact number of guests and the exact number of dishes you’ll serve. Armed with this information, ordering and inventory become simplified and wasted food is eliminated.
With Superb’s Guest Experience Management platform (GXM), you’ll know allergies and dietary restrictions in advance and can plan accordingly.
94% of guests research a restaurant online before visiting – more than any other type of business.
Use an event as a way to create content for marketing. From images and videos to testimonials and UGC (user-generated content), every event you host is a chance to create a bank of content to promote your restaurant or bar.
The more you view your events as a business opportunity, the more money you’ll make.
Guests are more likely to attend an event when they’re financially committed. You'll also weed out people from your marketing efforts who aren’t serious about attending.
While some events should be free – like a thank you to your community or an event catered to your most loyal customers – you should charge a ticket for all other events.
Prepayments like tickets and deposits mean your restaurant can fill its next event and you’ll know exactly how much money you have to work with.
Superb’s GXM platform puts even more of that money in your pocket.
How? By removing third-party providers and, in most cases, offering next-day payouts. Plus, you’ll have a shareable link that works across all social media channels – great to catch the 7.1 billion mobile phone users of the world.
Your ticket price sets the tone for the event. Too low and guests will wonder why it’s so cheap. Too high and you run the risk of no one showing up.
Any restaurant or bar event ticket needs to cover costs and make money. As part of your planning process, think about how much money you expect to spend on the event. Remember to include an estimate for surprise expenses, too. Like if the speaker you wanted for a lecture is suddenly unavailable and you have to book someone else for a higher price.
Next, think about how much money you want to make from the event and set your ticket price from there. Be realistic about how much you want to make and how much your guests will pay.
If your restaurant is planning an event that’s more about brand awareness, guest connection and bringing in new traffic, set your cost to meet the needs of your target audience.
If you want your event to be the best of the best and increase your profits, don’t be afraid to charge a higher ticket price. Especially if you have the brand recognition to support it.
People will pay more for an event and experience that they value.
You don’t have to offer just one ticket price for your next event. Instead, consider breaking down your ticketing structure to offer a VIP-type experience or something that the “average” ticket doesn’t cover.
Maybe there’s a special guest at your event who can do a meet and greet? Or a separate cocktail hour before the event starts?
For bar events, consider having one ticket as the entrance to the event and another for an area closer to the stage. Guests love exclusivity and will pay extra for it.
As you plan your event and come up with a standout concept, think about what your restaurant offers that guests can’t get access to anywhere else. Use guest data to list out who your target audience is, why they need to be at your event and what they’ll be missing if they’re not there. Then, consider what can make it even better.
One of the best ways to make your restaurant or bar event profitable is to secure sponsors and partnerships.
Finding sponsorships and partners is an excellent way to cover your costs, enhance the guest experience and align yourself with like-minded brands. Not to mention you can piggyback on their promotional efforts and reach an entirely new audience.
To get sponsors and partners, you’ll need access to guest data. This is where those prepaid tickets come in. Whether it’s a craft brewery or a local cheesemaker, they’ll want to know who your audience is to see if they align or not.
Upselling is different from creating a ticketing structure (Step #3).
Upselling is your chance to offer add-ons to an event ticket. Everything from a cheese tasting menu at a wine tasting to pre-ordered snacks at a cocktail-making class works as an upsell.
At Superb, we’ve made upselling easier by giving you the power to include it during the reservation and ticketing process.
Keep the focus on the sale even after the event is over through email marketing. When guests purchase a prepaid ticket, you’ll have access to their data and can tailor emails to target their specific wants and needs.
As a restaurant manager or owner, you’re a natural problem solver. But when you’re knee-deep in the planning process of your next event, dealing with problems on top of problems isn’t where you want to be.
To help you be as prepared as possible, we’ve compiled a list of the top 5 restaurant event challenges today, along with tips to overcome them.
What can you offer that guests won't find somewhere else? What makes a guest want to return? Is it the atmosphere of your event? The food? The entertainment or location?
The key to a successful event (and the greatest challenge) is to showcase what makes you unique.
Capitalising on what makes your bistro, bar or restaurant special isn’t easy… just ask Lorenzo Costa from Oltre. in Bologna, Italy. “Sometimes planning this kind of event could be very stressful, but is also very exciting and every time all the efforts have been rewarded.”
A restaurant event is more than just a menu and a date. It’s a collection of information and details that work together. Having the right all-in-one platform to handle and store this information is important to keep your team on the right track.
Superb’s Guest Experience Management platform (GXM) gives you all the tools to be creative and host extraordinary events for your guests.
Customise your next event as you like – set up special menus, drink pairings, seatings, rooms and even booking times. And then showcase events alongside your reservations, making it easy for any guest to choose their preferred restaurant experience.
Gone are the days when you just make a Facebook event, drop in your event details and leave it. Even if you use Facebook ads, your restaurant event is likely to go unnoticed by a larger audience. This is because FB events are mostly filtered into the same, overcrowded stream, making your event feel spammy and impersonal.
Email: Instead of Facebook events, concentrate on what you have – an email list of people who already like and have visited your restaurant. Email marketing allows you to add the personal touch that guests want.
Website: Take inspiration from Borgo Mameli in Bologna, Italy, and the way they include events on their website.
Social media: For social media, create a unique hashtag for your event. This gives you something to work with before the event and your guests something to share content via during and after the event.
With Superb’s GXM, promoting and sharing your event is even easier with mobile-friendly shareable links. This lets you market it through newsletters and social media and allows other guests to share with friends the same way.
Events are your chance to try something new. This is especially important when targeting events towards existing customers. While standard event menus are an easy way to keep costs down and profit margins high, an event is also your chance to make guests feel like they're getting something special.
Does your chef have a favourite dish that’s not on the regular menu? Is there a cocktail that your bartender would like to craft for the event?
If you’re not sure where to start, look at Collaborative Chef Dinners. This type of event is a guaranteed way to create something new, and it’s a morale booster with benefits going beyond guest satisfaction.
“So it’s just a really unique experience for the guests and it’s also a huge thing for the guys in the kitchen. They see things they’ve never seen before and it just breaks the mould of what you do every day. From an educational standpoint, it’s amazing for all involved. And that’s what keeps us fresh here, and it keeps the chefs coming in to see new things as well.“ – Matt Orlando from Amass in Copenhagen, Denmark.
There’s no written-in-stone rule that says your next restaurant or bar event must be at your restaurant or bar. Consider partnering with other spaces like hotels, convention centres, or local businesses looking for retreats or team-building events.
This opens up a new stream of customers and instantly lowers your marketing budget because you can join their promotional efforts.
Just remember to not go so big that you lose sight of the guest experience.
The goal of a restaurant event is to take the guest experience to a new level, not get lost in the crowd.