One of the best ways to promote your restaurant and attract customers is by hosting interesting events. It helps customers from all walks of life and different age groups to discover your restaurant, its food, and its excellent service. In this blog, we have compiled a list of innovative restaurant event ideas to entertain your guests and convert them into loyal customers.
A great restaurant experience goes beyond just food and beverages. It entails guests feeling the time they spent at your restaurant was worthwhile. Hosting engaging events so your guests have a fun time while enjoying their meals guarantees good word-of-mouth publicity. It also leads to increased customer visits and higher restaurant sales. So it easily covers up the money invested in organizing the event.
But it is important to note that you can’t be hosting the same events every week if you want your guests to keep coming back. You need to get creative with your event ideas so customers feel compelled to visit. If you’re not able to figure out how to offer variety to your guests, implement some of the following creative entertainment ideas for your restaurant:
1. Singles night
With more than 16 million people aged 16 or over who are single, putting together an event for singles is an excellent idea to fill restaurant seats. Hold a “Break The Ice” event to help them discover singles around them. Make sure the ambiance and decor are fun so it encourages them to mingle with each other. You can also get an online dating website on board as a sponsor for the event. Don’t forget to promote it online because that’s where all the singles are!
2. Couple’s night
Hosting an event for couples doesn’t have to be limited to just Valentine’s Day. You can host a couple’s night on the 14th of every month with special discounts and offers on dine-in. Combine that with a wine tasting and you have the recipe for the perfect date. Request local wine merchants for a collaboration by sending their wine for tasting. Enhance the mood with music and set aside a small space for couples to have a romantic dance.
3. Quiz night
A collaborative event for both singles and couples is a quiz night where groups can participate and win coupons. Make each table a team and ask entertaining trivia questions that are relevant so the guests don’t get bored. A classic choice is movies and TV series questions. You can also ask questions about the local area and its landmarks.
Pro tip: Get a local emcee with a good social media following to host the event and promote it on Instagram to increase your followers.
4. Guest chef takeover
This is a very interesting and unique way to draw crowds to your restaurant. Invite a popular chef at the restaurant and let them take over your kitchen. Create a limited menu that features their signature dishes so guests can experience new dishes. This way, the chef can be available to meet the guests as well. A lot of people take great interest in meeting the chef who created their meal. Getting to meet & greet a well-known chef can enhance their overall dining experience.
5. Mix things up
It’s quite obvious that more drinks get consumed over the weekend as compared to the weekdays. So hosting a bar themed event on a weekend helps in drawing more crowds. Inviting a celebrity bartender to take over your bar is an epic idea for bar theme nights. To make better, get them to come up with new and special drinks just for the night. Structure the bar for the night in a way that customers can come and interact with the bartender and learn how to create some of the drinks.
6. Mom’s night out
Instead of a girl’s night out which is very common, plan a mom’s night out once in a while. Working women with children juggle a lot of responsibilities and giving them a relaxing evening experience is a great way to earn a customer for life. Organize it on a weekend so the moms have the father taking care of the baby and offer discounts on drinks so they can have a gala time. You can rent a few massage chairs and add them to the waiting lounge so they can enjoy a massage while waiting for a table.
7. All or nothing
Create your own mini Olympics by putting a huge menu item as bait. Set the timer and let guests compete to finish the menu item in the shortest possible time frame by consuming it alone. Only if the guests finish the entire dish will they be considered a winner. If they are able to finish it, wave off the amount of the dish, and if not they pay for it. Offer the winner discount coupons for their next visit to the restaurant so they have a reason to come back.
8. Food holidays
Every restaurant has promotional events for the common holidays, but you can give customers an excuse to dine out by creating events around offbeat occasions like food holidays. For instance, utilize World Chocolate Day and National Hot Chocolate Day to serve some sinful chocolate desserts. On International Beer Day, National Wine Day, and National Martini Day, host exciting games focused around these drinks, e.g. Drinking Roulette or Beer Pong.
9. Pet Day’s
With over 470 million pet dogs and about 370 million pet cats around the world, having an exclusive event for animal lovers is a great way to fill restaurant seats. Collaborate with local pet businesses like organic pet food creators, pet grooming companies, and animal toy makers to be a part of the event. Host the event on a lazy Sunday afternoon so guests can spend long hours at the restaurant and spend some quality time with other pet owners. You can also take inspiration from Puppy’s Gastronomy who invite you to meet their dog Tony every Thursday.
10. Awards Night
Host a private event for a local business’s annual Awards Night. Create a red carpet event setup at the entrance to impress the guests. Offer them a curated menu and ensure that your staff is dressed impeccably for the event. Set up a small stage for the award ceremony and bring in local music bands for their entertainment. Offering your restaurant space for such events not only exposes it to newer customers but also brings more corporate event orders your way.
11. Open Mic
Hosting an open mic event for local musicians or stand-up comics is a successful crowd-puller. You can take things a notch higher by inviting a popular musician or stand-up comic to judge the open-mic participants. Request them to share the event on their social media handle so their fans also visit the event as an excuse to meet them. Reward the open mic winner with an opportunity to give a solo performance at the restaurant in the near future.
Pro tip: Host the stand-up comedy open mic on April Fool’s Day.
12. Bromance Night:
Girl’s night out events are extremely common in almost every restaurant. Change things around and throw a men’s night out by offering Buy-One-Get-One discounts on drinks so men can have a fun time with their bros. Hosting a screening of a sports event so men can watch the match together is a winning idea. Moreover, the longer they stay, the more they order. This will get men searching for events at your restaurant every time there is an upcoming exciting match. What better way to create a loyal fan following?
13. Book Club Party
A book club meeting over an afternoon brunch is a great way to lure guests who want to meet fellow book lovers. Start a free book club in your restaurant where club members meet once a month and talk about the books they have been reading. This is a great event idea for filling up your restaurant on weekdays since there are usually fewer walk-ins and space is calmer. Set up a round table for everyone from the book club so they can sit and chat together while enjoying multiple light-hearted snacks.
14. Deal of the day
Just like happy hours, you can offer discounts on food during the quieter days to give customers a reason to visit. Once a week, have a “Deal of the Day” where one menu item is available for unlimited consumption at a flat price. For instance, unlimited mini-burgers for one guest at just $5. You can make it a trend by announcing the deal every Monday on your social media handles and sending text messages to all your customers. This will make your restaurant a hot favorite amongst employees of nearby businesses during lunch hours.
15. 90s themed party
The 90s were undoubtedly one of the coolest decades – be it the fashion or the music. Hosting a 90s themed costume party will fascinate people from all generations to come and participate in the fun event. Make it an invite-only event to give your guests the feeling of a VIP. End it on a high note by giving an award to the guest dressed head-to-toe as per the theme.
Pro tip: You can host a 70s or 80s themed party as well and encourage guests to bring their parents dressed in the clothing from those decades.
These are some of the top restaurant event ideas to attract more customers and keep them entertained. Keeping things fresh with these creative ideas will ensure your customers are always looking forward to visiting your restaurant. Don’t forget to create a social media promotion strategy to ensure your guests are aware of the ongoing events at your restaurant.
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