How to Increase Restaurant Revenue with Events and Classes

How to Increase Restaurant Revenue with Events and Classes
A night out is something special and it should always feel that way. One easily overlooked way to drive customer satisfaction – and the revenue it brings – is by doubling down on the centrality of that experience with special events.
by Austin Tedesco Aug 30, 2023 — 3 min read
How to Increase Restaurant Revenue with Events and Classes

A night out is something special and it should always feel that way. Customers return to your restaurant with their hard-earned cash, time after time, not just for the food and drink but because of the experience you sell them. One easily overlooked way to drive customer satisfaction – and the revenue it brings – is by doubling down on the centrality of that experience with special events.

55% of millennial consumers say that they’ve purchased items aside from food
or drinks from restaurants in the past year. The Square 2023 Future of Restaurants report found that, on average, restaurants make 16.2% of their revenue outside their core offerings, with products and services such as retail items, classes and events. 45% of restaurateurs say they started to offer products outside of core restaurant service because of consumer interest. With customers open to paying for more experiences from restaurants, below is what you need to know to get in on the special event game.

Classes, cuisines and celebrations: Choosing the right event

An event at your restaurant should reflect its personality, strengths and clientele. Below are a few types of events to start the creative wheels turning, but don’t let these limit you in planning a unique and memorable night for your guests.

Theme nights

Theme nights are a great way to inject personality into the dining experience. Themes can vary from a current holiday or sporting event to an evergreen option, such as tropical escape night or a Roaring ’20s party. Simple festive elements like themed decor, attire, music or a special event menu can transform your venue and transport your guests to a faraway time or place.

Culinary tours

One of the greatest gifts of a restaurant is the ability to offer diners access to foods and concoctions they’re unlikely to experience at home. Foodies and fine diners alike will love the opportunity to sample culinary delights from a limited-event tasting menu.
This can also serve as an educational experience. Give it the flavor of a special cooking class, with a chef or other host to inform diners about the dishes they’re trying and how they’re prepared.
As a bonus, a special menu or tasting event gives your kitchen team a chance to have fun, to be creative and to challenge themselves to discover new top-notch offerings.

Mixology mixers

Much like a dinner tasting menu, a beer, wine or liquor tasting event gives guests the opportunity to sample new and intriguing tastes. To add an educational twist, your event can tap into guests’ inner sommeliers or ciceroni with lessons on pairings, pourings and other nuances of beverage expertise. Your top bartenders likely have at least a few tricks (and cocktails) up their sleeves to teach curious consumers.

Best practices for planning your restaurant event

A great event can bring in a surge of revenue, build customer loyalty and introduce new visitors to your brand. However, a hastily organised night may cost your establishment money, drive away new business or leave a bad taste in customers’ mouths – literally. Before opening your doors on the big night, consider a few best practices to ensure your event is delightful for attendees and lucrative for your business.

Making it special

Remember, you’re creating a premium experience for your loyal patrons. The last thing you want is for guests to feel like they paid extra for an ordinary night. The setting, offerings and atmosphere should blend to create a one-of-a-kind experience. Focus on putting together something that attendees will remember for a long time and be excited to tell their friends about.

Planning the logistics

Be sure to involve your key team members in planning and preparing for the event’s logistics. Depending on the nature of the event – and how far it wanders from your traditional day-to-day business operations – you may need to plan ahead for additional staffing or resources on the day.
Set expectations with team members for the event. How will the day differ from their usual workday? What can they expect? Setting the stage in this way will help everything run more smoothly.

Getting the word out

Filling the room is one of the core pillars of success for your event. Build excitement and awareness for your event through all your available marketing channels, such as social media, email lists, traditional advertising or physical posters around the venue and nearby areas. Start early and be loud to drive up demand, build excitement and aim for a sold-out event.

Monetising the event

While a delightful customer experience should drive your approach to planning an event, the goal is still to create something that will drive revenue to your business. Consider how you will monetise your event:

Putting a premium on experience

Special events, classes and parties are a great way to wow your customers and build your business’ loyal base while earning crucial revenue. There are countless ways to put on an event, but try to focus on what best suits your brand, venue, team and customers. With a bit of creativity, strategy and the right tools, your business can host a magical night that your customers (and your bottom line) won’t soon forget.

This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute professional advice. For specific advice applicable to your business, please contact a professional.

Austin Tedesco
Austin Tedesco is an editor at Square covering all things management — from the technical aspects of payroll and taxes to the soft skills that lead to strong teams for any business.

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