Make your slow nights jam-packed with a calendar of well thought out bar and restaurant events. By hosting a variety of unique occasions, you’ll give new and old customers a reason to visit on a regular basis and will boost your business in the process. Not only that but every time someone promotes the event, they are also promoting your restaurant.
While most events don’t require a lot of extra expenses, you’ll need to be proactive when it comes to planning and promoting. That may require a little bit of extra effort on your end, but if even one of your event ideas catches on, it can become a regular ‘thing’ that generates a big chunk of new revenue.
Ready to plan out your calendar? Here are several restaurant event ideas to get you started:
Nothing brings a crowd like a bit of competition. Hosting a trivia night can bring scores of folks to your establishment for a night of pop culture and general knowledge questions. To make your restaurant stand out, establish a theme for your trivia events..
Karaoke is a long time classic, and for good reason: it is a crowd pleaser! You can try putting your own twist on it with a special theme, or by making it into a competition with a gift certificate given to the winner. Have karaoke on a regular basis to cultivate a regular crowd.
Bringing in a guest bartender to craft specialty cocktails is a good way to bring in new business. Not only will they draw their own crowd, but you’ll attract new customers who don’t want to miss a chance to try a few exclusive cocktails. You might consider donating a portion of the guest bartender drinks to a charity to boost attendance and sales! Everyone wants to feel like their money is going to a good cause.
Tap the Keg Night
Craft beer lovers rejoice at the chance to try a new brew. Make getting new beers on tap into a special occasion with a ‘tap the keg’ night. Beer fans will attend to be the first to try your new slate of brews. Offer a drink special on these monthly occasions to make attendance irresistible.
Need a reason to party? Explore special dates related to your concept and plan festivities accordingly. Do you specialize in hamburgers? Throw a party for International Hamburger Day on May 28. Serve Tex Mex? Celebrate Texas Independence Day on March 2. Prepare food and drink specials to match the occasion and let the fun begin!
Service Industry Night
What do service industry professional do on their night off? Go out and eat and drink with their friends, of course! Monday nights are perfect for hosting a service industry appreciation night at your establishment. Provide a discount to chefs, waitstaff and bartenders, and watch them flock to your establishment (and bring their friends, too).
Located near a school or military base? Consider a teacher or military appreciation day, as well. Offer discounted lunches to honor their service and you may just become their new favorite place to eat.
Pop Up Market
Invite local artisans and vintage sellers to sell their wares one day out of the month. This is especially great to do outdoors when the weather is nice if you have a patio or deck. Expect shoppers to work up an appetite and offer a menu of quick bites for munching on the go.
What better way to show off the fine cooking at your restaurant than with some cooking classes taught by a professional chef? Not only is this a great way to brand and promote your restaurant, but it’s okay to charge a fee for the class and make a little extra money for your business!
Arts and Crafts Workshops
Work with local art instructors to host classes at your establishment during off hours. From painting to knitting to bookmaking, there are a number of activities most restaurants can accommodate. Sturdy reclaimed wood tables are great to use for craft events, as they make great work surfaces and provide a great backdrop when showcasing completed pieces!
Bring-Your-Own Records Night
The vinyl resurgence is in full swing. Cater to local collectors and host a listening party night where customers can bring their favorite records for a spin on your turntable. Make your event even better by having a record store hold a pop-up shop at the same time, giving customers a chance to sell and swap their own LPs and 45s.
Test Kitchen Nights
Want to develop new menu items and draw in a crowd at the same time? Set aside a night to pull your regular menu in favor of newly created chef creations. Your top customers won’t want to miss this chance to come and try new items, and you’ll get a lot of feedback on which dishes to incorporate on a more permanent basis.