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2. January 2023, 5 min read

Guests want experiences: 10 tips for creating restaurant events 

Author: Birgitte Brøndum
Restaurant guests at an outdoor table

Do you want to stay one large step ahead in a world of foodies? Treat your guests to memorable dining events full of delicious surprises to make them hungry for more. With these 10 tips, you’re off to a flying start!

Restaurant events that bring guests something more than just a tasty meal are among the trends predicted for 2023. Introducing fun and creative events from time to time is a good strategy that can help bring your restaurant more revenue and many new guests.

By creating restaurant events, you offer guests unique dining experiences they’ll be talking about for a long time. Keep it classic and arrange events with holiday themes, such as Easter, Christmas, and Mother’s Day, or be as creative as you want to inspire and surprise your guests with music, entertainment, workshops and more.

We’ve created a list with 10 inspirational tips. Read on and start brainstorming with your team today!

1. Tea Party Alice à la in Wonderland or craft beer workshop – which event is right for my restaurant?

There are a billion ways to pick the right kind of event. All you need to do is let your creativity flow and glow while staying true to the heart and soul of your restaurant.

Create an event that’s true to your concept. If your place is a noodle bar going all-in with an Italian cheese workshop would just confuse your guests, but you can still stretch your creativity quite far. Has your restaurant been open for years? Then you probably have a sense of the area and know the expectations of the local crowd. Having a chat with your regulars is a good way to test the waters – do they like your idea? Do they have suggestions? Use your core concept as a starting point and branch out in interesting directions.

2. Give guests more freedom

Freedom, freedom, freedom – guests want more of it and you can grant their wishes by giving them different options to choose from when you create your event. 

When you create your event, you can make your guests feel extra special by letting them choose between a couple of different menus or packages. Is your event a Twin Peaks or Game of Thrones-themed brunch? Let your guests choose from three different brunch plates named after characters or quotes from the show. Your guests will appreciate this freedom and immediately feel more included.

Sparkling bonus tip: to get an extra star in the world of veggie lovers it’s always a fantastic idea to have a vegetarian or vegan option. This is also in line with current restaurant trends, as many guests are looking for restaurants with more vegetable-focused restaurants.

3. Make your local crowd happy

Listen to the locals! Knowing your crowd and neighbourhood gets you far when you’re planning events. What do they like? What intrigues them? Give them exactly that and more!

Do you have a rustic French restaurant near the university where students often drop in to order a cheese plate and a bottle of the house red? Create an event with a French literature theme. Find out what all the classic writers preferred to munch on and create a menu inspired by their peculiar cravings.

Do many of your guests prefer to grab a delicious little something at your deli-style restaurant before heading to the cinema around the corner? Check out the cinema’s list of upcoming premieres and start planning. A light film-noir menu that leaves room for popcorn or a tapas plate with a bright green cocktail named after the villain in the movie takes your guests’ movie night to another level. 

4. Keep them coming back for more

What’s your goal when guests enter your restaurant? We’re going to go ahead and assume that you want to make the guests happy. Events bring you more happy and loyal guests. What could be better than that?

Loyal restaurant guests are real gems. Events can help you get more of them! Surprise them, give them something special, and they’ll think of you next time they’re planning a night out. Loyal guests are also much more likely to tell friends, colleagues and the entire social media world how much they love you, and then even more bookings will start flying your way!

5. Waste less food

We all hate throwing out food! It’s expensive, bad for the climate and sad because amazing products are wasted.

No matter which restaurant you have, creating events is a good step in the direction of reducing food waste. Events translate to fewer no-shows, which means you know exactly how many guests will be eating and even what they’re going to eat. This makes it easy to buy the right amount of ingredients. You can even create events where you use rescued veggies or leftovers.

Why not create a zero-waste jazz brunch or lunch every month? Doing this lets you show your willingness to take responsibility while you save money and attract new customers.

Small, beautifully decorated cakes and sandwiches served at a high tea restaurant event

6. Fewer no-shows

Say no-no to no-shows! Empty tables are bad for business and a waste of food and time. Event guests are committed guests that fill your tables and boost your revenue.

Another amazing thing about events is that you’ll have fewer no-shows to worry about. Nobody sees them, but no-shows are an expensive crowd because they leave tables empty and make restaurants waste time and perfectly good food. Wasting anything is a shame, especially when it can be avoided.

When guests book a table for your wine-tasting, cupcake bonanza or jazz-infused meze evening, they’ll start looking forward to the moment they complete the booking, in other words, they’ll feel committed.

7. Sell prepaid tickets for your restaurant events

Sell those tickets! Guests are more than happy to pay for an experience they’ll look forward to. They won’t hesitate to pay in advance when they read about all the good stuff you’ve lined up for them.

Prepayment is another big advantage of events. Prepayment ties a nice bow around the event, making it feel much more like a complete experience.

Consider how you feel when booking tickets for a concert, a trip, or the theatre. You probably don’t hesitate to pay in advance for these experiences. Your guests won’t mind either. Many restaurants have started using prepayment, and it’s easy to make a good case for it.

8. Let other great restaurants inspire you

Who’s doing it right? Well, you, of course, but peeking at the competitors’ most popular events can get your ideas flowing. Mix and match and make it yours!

Not sure what kind of event to arrange? DinnerBooking’s event site is a good place to start. Scroll through all the current events offered by European restaurants. Grab a cup of coffee, read the event descriptions, and let yourself get inspired. Pick and choose the things you like the most and tailor your event to match the heart and soul of your restaurant.

9. Brainstorm with your entire team

Don’t let the guests have all the fun. Planning events is both fun and rewarding for a restaurant team. Include everyone, have a blast and let the brainstorming begin!

Every restaurant has a team of people with different interests, passions, knowledge, and experiences. Arrange a weekly brainstorming session where everyone can share thoughts and ideas.

Maybe one of your waiters is an expert on Japanese tea? Perhaps your dishwasher or one of your chefs is a real craft beer nerd? Put your heads together and plan a beer tasting or a tea workshop that includes a tasty menu that matches your theme. It’s fun and great as a team-building activity.

Restaurant staff preparing for an event

10. Spread the word

Shout it out loud! Make your social media platforms sparkle and shine with posts about your upcoming events. It’s the easiest thing in the world and an amazing way to attract new guests.

And the important cherry on top: show it! Your fantastic event deserves to be shared. Be loud about all the good stuff you’ve planned for your guests. See events as opportunities to surprise your existing followers and reach even more potential guests. It doesn’t have to feel like a big project.

Creating social media posts can be done in less than an hour and they give you a lot of value with little effort. Use your smartphone to snap a couple of nice pics and share them on Instagram and Facebook with a catchy title and a short description. Don’t forget to keep your followers in the loop with story teasers in the weeks leading up to the event.

Plan, set a date, and go for it – we can’t wait to hear people talking about your events!

Positive attention, less food waste, and fewer empty tables – there’s a lot to love about restaurant events. Make your event as big or small as you want.  Something as simple as planning a set menu with a seasonal theme, such as spring, summer, asparagus, or strawberries can be turned into an event. It doesn’t have to be a lot of bells and whistles and more work. There’s a good chance dining events will make things easier for you.

So what are you waiting for? Create your own unique event now!

Already a DinnerBooking customer? Then you can follow this guide to create your events.