Running a restaurant can be a lucrative endeavour, however, when you start to see a pattern of empty tables during the midweek it might be time to take action. But what to do? The most surefire way to draw a crowd is with an event (and discounts!) Whether you are hosting a one-off charity event, an annual fathers day celebration or even weekly open mic nights and student nights, events catering to specific groups of people is always the way to attract a crowd to your business. Offer tailored discounts along with your events or donate some of your profits to charity to really give people incentive to come along and try out your food. Here are some events you might not have thought of to promote your business and get those checks flying again all through the week.
- Speed dating
A classic event for any business that is sure to draw a crowd: good old-fashioned speed dating. Whether you hold an hour or so of speed dating before you serve a meal, offer appetisers and drinks or even move people’s seats after each course, there are so many ways you can structure a speed dating event around a restaurant setting. Advertise it in your local paper or even offer people a discount on their meals that evening to boost the event even more.
- Charity event
What’s a better feeling than being able to support a local charity that means a lot to you? Raise money for a local charity by hosting an event in your restaurant. You can offer a special charity dish or cocktail where all proceeds go towards the charity or even donate a percentage of the whole night’s profits to the charity of your choice. People love to support a local cause, so this is a great way to get more people through the door and into your restaurant. If they enjoy the experience, they’re much more likely to come back again soon!
- Fathers/mothers day
Hosting particular events to celebrate fathers day or mothers day can be a great way to increase customers on these lesser-celebrated holidays. Treat dads to a free scotch with their meal or find some great fathers day brunch ideas to celebrate the dads in the community, and offer mums a free cocktail or dessert for mothers day. This is sure to make the parent over the moon, and will likely put a smile on the face of whoever is picking up the bill too!
- Student nights
A great way to bring along crowds of people who may not otherwise visit your restaurant is to offer student nights. This could be weekly, monthly or even a one-off event, but offering discounts on set menus, drinks or a whole bill with a valid student card is a great way to draw out droves of students who are always hungry for a bargain. Perhaps you could collaborate with a local bar to send students after their meal for a discount if they show a receipt to your restaurant.
- Wine tasting nights
If you’re feeling more sophisticated, why not put on a wine tasting night? Whether you host this later in the evening served with some of your restaurant’s finest sides and light bites, or you offer a wine tasting menu where each dish is paired with a decadent wine for an additional fee, this can be a great way to attract couples looking for a romantic date night with a twist or those looking for a fancy night out.
To take this to the next level, you could always collaborate with a local drinks supplier or winery to host an event that will bring you both business. Partnering with other local businesses like this can be extremely beneficial for both companies, as there is the opportunity for each business to cater to a new market segment and gain a wider audience, and it is a great networking opportunity for your restaurant to work with other local suppliers.
- Karaoke night
Everyone loves a karaoke night! Whether you’re a performer or you just enjoy watching other people sing off-key in front of a crowd, a karaoke night is sure to attract an audience. Offer performers a free dessert or drink to really get people lining up to take part. You could even offer discounts for large groups such as birthday parties, or bachelor and bachelorette parties to make your restaurant a prime location for any great night out.
- Put on live entertainment
Putting on live entertainment is always a winner. Whether you hire musicians, host a resident band, hold weekly open mic nights or even put on some live theatre if you have the space, people love to be entertained while they eat. Work with local musicians and advertise well to ensure a packed restaurant each week when you are offering live entertainment.