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24. October 2022, 5 min read

New Year’s guide for restaurants: sparkle into 2023!

Author: Birgitte Brøndum
Smiling people with sparklers and confetti at a New Year's event.
Smiling people with sparklers and confetti at a New Year's event.
Photo: Canva

Bubbles, sparkly outfits, glitter confetti and delicious food — the last evening of the year has more party energy than any other! Invite your guests to a memorable New Year’s Eve at your restaurant and make them remember you whenever they want to dine out in 2023.

As is the case with Christmas Eve, more and more people want to celebrate New Year’s Eve while dining out. Perhaps it’s the temptation to be freed from having to plan, shop and cook. Or simply the hope of getting an experience beyond what’s possible for most people to create at home.  

Hosting a New Year’s event at your restaurant is the perfect way to attract new guests while reminding regulars how good you are at what you do. Moreover, it’s a day when many diners are willing to spend a little more to experience something special while getting ready to welcome a new year. 

Although each European country has its own special New Year’s traditions, New Year’s Eve is not nearly as tied up in traditions as Christmas Eve. This means that you can be creative and tailor an event that’s unique to your restaurant while still ensuring that your guests have the best evening of the year!

Here are some ideas to get you started!   

Create irresistible prix-fixe menus 

One of the best ways to attract guests to your New Year’s event is to create a delicious set menu with a fixed ticket price. By doing this, you also protect yourself from no-shows. Moreover, it’s much easier to plan when you know exactly how many guests will be sitting around your tables.  

Consider offering a plant-based menu option. This won’t only increase your bookings from vegetarian and vegan guests. It also means that meat-eating guests will be able to invite their veggie-loving friends and loved ones to your restaurant’s New Year’s event.  

A simpler children’s menu at a lower price will be welcomed by families with kids. Include a little surprise with the dessert to make it more fun! 

Can you adapt the menu in case of allergies? Don’t forget to mention this in your event description! 

A plate of soup decorated with herbs and fried vegetables
Photo: Mads Eneqvist

The takeaway New Year’s menu 

Even though dining out on New Year’s Eve has gained popularity, some people still prefer to stay at home. Why not give them the same chance to enjoy a gourmet menu from their favourite restaurant?  

Create a takeaway version of your New Year’s menu where you make sure that diners can easily assemble and add the final touches to the dishes. You can do this in many fun and personal ways, such as by including a link to a video where one of your chefs demonstrates every step of the process. A festive card with written instructions in a stylish layout will also do the trick. 

Adding a few extras such as homemade pralines or a box with fun New Year’s accessories will no doubt add a joyful element of surprise to the experience. 

Share your restaurant’s New Year’s programme 

Creating a programme for your restaurant’s New Year’s event will let your guests know what to expect and look forward to. What is more, having dedicated time slots for each part of the event will help elevate the feeling of it being a special evening.  

Have your programme ready when you’re sharing your event on your social media channels, website and DinnerBooking. Guests are more likely to buy a ticket for your restaurant’s New Year’s event if they can read about what you have planned for them.  

Get your various channels glowing with teasers and information about your amazing New Year’s event. There’s a lot of competition out there, and your goal is to increase the chances that guests discover your event first!  

Here’s a suggestion:  

Naturally, your New Year’s event doesn’t have to last until midnight. Some guests might want to drop by friends and family for hugs, funny hats and champagne after they’ve dined and wined at your restaurant. In that case, the last point in your programme could be: 

22.30 23:00 A glass of Happy New Year bubbles — see you in 2023! 

Pick your restaurant’s New Year’s theme 

Your event can be everything from a set menu with a glass of bubbles to a glitter party with live music and a disco-ball-adorned dance floor. What’s important is that you stay true to your concept and restaurant philosophy, but that still leaves plenty of room to play with creative ideas and themes!

Here are a few suggestions:  

You’re worth it!  

Go for classic luxury with champagne, oysters, truffles and caviar. This kind of event will always have appeal. If there’s any time your guests deserve some extra luxury, it’s no doubt New Year’s Eve – after all, they made it through every single Monday in 2022!  

Dress code: suit or evening gown   

Let’s keep it chill  

Make your restaurant the no. 1 hangout for guests who want to have a laid-back New Year’s Eve. Aim for a lounge mood, a DJ playing vinyl, cocktails and a three-course bistro menu.  

Dress code: Second-hand treasures 

Bring the kids!  

Many guests with kids will welcome a chance to enjoy your New Year’s menu instead of having to cook at home. Offer a children’s menu that includes entertaining surprises such as glow sticks, glitter pens and party hats. And why not hire a magician to entertain the kids with New Year’s tricks?  

Dress code: Let the kids decide 

A sneak peek at the future 

You don’t have to be a kid to enjoy a bit of magic! Bring a touch of foresight to your New Year’s event by offering homemade fortune cookies, or a top hat full of cards with fun predictions that may or may not involve visits to your restaurant.

Dress code: Everything with crystals

Traditions on the screen  

In many European countries, it has become a New Year’s tradition to watch the 1960’s black-and-white comedy sketch Dinner for One, also known as The 90th Birthday. Why not make a big deal of this? Get out the projector and show it after the dessert plates have been carried out. Get a fake tiger-skin carpet to complete the experience!

If there’s another TV show that’s a must-see on New Year’s Eve in your country, you can also include this in your programme. In Denmark, for instance, many people gather in front of the TV to watch the queen’s New Year’s speech before dinner, and some restaurants, such as SALT at The Admiral Hotel in Copenhagen, have made sure to include this in their New Year’s events.

Dress code: something to match your TV show of choice

Fireworks in the night sky over a city
Photo: Jonathan Petersson

Plan your New Year’s event early 

Time and schedules are essential when you’re planning your restaurant’s New Year’s event. The last thing you want on the last night of the year is confusion. When the big night arrives, things should be smooth sailing for your staff and a seamless experience for your guests. 

Start early by jotting down all your ideas and brainstorming with your team. Make sure to create a schedule for everyone who’s working on New Year’s Eve. If you expect to be busier than your team can handle alone, hire extra hands well in advance, so none of you needs to worry about whether carrying out all tasks is realistic — December is already a busy month.

Does your plan include a live band, a stand-up comedian, a magician or any other act? Find and book these before you make your event programme.  

Host January’s first event — come as you are

On the first day of the new year, nobody wants to cook, but everybody wants to eat. That’s great news for you because it means that you can host a relaxing event with hangover-soothing foods and drinks. 

As January 1 is a day when many New Year’s resolutions are kicked off, you could offer two different menus; one that’s perfect for hangovers (salty, greasy, sweet) and one that’s in line with most resolutions (fresh, healthy, green).  

Invite guests to come as they are, even if that means pyjamas, last night’s makeup and tangled hair with bits of confetti!

Happy New Year’s planning!