The First Steps to Add a Private Events Program to Your Restaurant

By Caroline Cox

Private dining invitation tucked inside bill fold

There are plenty of reasons why restaurants of any size – from one-off eateries to giant multi-location groups – would want to implement a private events program. Even without a designated event space, events can be a goldmine for boosting revenue, increasing traffic during off-seasons and slow hours, as well as attracting a new customer base. 

As FSR Magazine reports, “savvy restaurateurs know the benefits of private dining, a side business that will typically boost the bottom line, enhance a brand’s reputation, and keep staff busy and happy.”

So if you’re thinking of dipping your toes in the pool of private events, use these tips to ensure your program is nothing short of a success.  

Keep Your Online Menu Updated

Take advantage of your restaurant’s menu – both in-house and online – as a platform for promoting your new private dining options. By using your menu to advertise your private dining offering, you’ll be able to give the program more exposure to people who are perusing your menu online and all the guests who flip through your menu while at your restaurant. In addition to letting your customers know about your private dining program through your menu, also let them know how to get more information and who to contact for booking.

Do a Soft Opening for Your Events Program

If you’re a newbie to the private events scene, it’s only natural to have some kinks to work out. Consider conducting a soft opening for your events program with friends and family. This will allow you to start off at a manageable rate and get honest feedback from people who have your best interest at heart. To make the most of a soft launch, collect feedback from your attendees. Whether you hand out surveys to your guests at the event, or give them a call afterwards, make a point of gathering feedback about their experience and how likely they would be to recommend your events program to a friend.

Take Advantage of Social Media

Social media is a great way to promote a new offering at your restaurant. Take to Instagram with #privatedining hashtags and drool-worthy photos. Leverage Pinterest to feature your events space so prospective attendees can start picturing themselves there. Better yet – create a Facebook page dedicated to your private dining program. This way, you’ll have all of your event updates in one easy to access place for your followers.

Allow Guests to Inquire About Events on Your Website

Responding to booking inquiries can be a laborious task if you don’t have a solid system in place. Don’t let fruitful requests fall through the cracks. Many restaurants have avoided this by implementing a lead form or widget button at the top of their website’s homepage, so prospects can easily explain the details of the event they’re inquiring about, such as the date, occasion and capacity, which saves time normally spent messaging back-and-forth.

Consider Event Management Software

Once your private events program is live, consider which technology will help ensure you’re running smoothly. A cloud-based event management software platform can be your saving grace for a few reasons. Whether you’re hoping to improve team communication, efficiently manage leads, eliminate menial paperwork, or gain online access to real-time insights – event management software can help you do all that.

Launching a private event program can be a great extra source of revenue. Be sure to follow these tips to ensure your success for events to come.

Photo of Caroline Cox
by Caroline Cox

Caroline Cox is the content marketing manager for Gather, an event management software platform. She spends her time crafting blogs, thought leadership pieces, case studies, social media content and more.

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