Unsurprisingly, people find more reasons to celebrate and more reasons to gather during the warm summer months. If Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Labor Day weren’t enough proof of celebration, the upswing in weddings should be—over 30 percent of all weddings happen between June and August.
To a restaurateur, this should be screaming “opportunity”—not just to get diners through your doors to celebrate, but to grow the particularly lucrative private events side of your business. The average large group or private event spends around $2,500, which is 5–20 times the average revenue that a typical table reservation would accrue. For many restaurant owners—and, frankly, many consumers—the idea of “private dining” in restaurants means corporate events or a fancy rehearsal dinner… but there are many other opportunities to bring diners in for a unique and exclusive experience.
For inspiration, turn to businesses like breweries, distilleries and wineries, who are taking advantage of their unique venues and offerings to host interesting and fun events for consumers—particularly in the summer months. Here’s what you can learn from them to boost your own private events business this summer:
A huge draw for these venues is the unique offerings from their tasting rooms. Each establishment can leverage their personalized brews, wines, and liquors to create an unparalleled experience for their customers. These venues can position their employees as experts in their craft, and create a learning experience for their customers as they educate them on their production process. Tastings offer guests an interactive element at the venue they’re visiting and allow the venue to transform from just a space to an experience.
In the restaurant industry, offering house-made beverages may not be an option, but there is ample opportunity to mimic the draw of tastings. Try marketing events that offer pairings with specially crafted foods, or swap out the drinks for food and offer “tastings” of an on-trend meal. Restaurants can leverage their foods in the way that wineries, breweries and distilleries leverage their drinks.
Breweries, wineries, and distilleries are all non-traditional venue spaces. They often span both indoors and outdoors, and are made up of spaces organized for different purposes—even the larger of these venues are often overlooking picturesque fields of hops, grains or grape vines. This variety allows for these venues to offer space for a range of different events—whether it’s a wedding or a business outing, these venues have the space and the adaptability to cater to both.
While restaurants seldom overlook a vineyard, they are not without hope for creating an appealing environment. Does your restaurant have a rooftop or space that could be transformed into an outdoor patio? It’s tempting to leave this space open for diners, but consider the additional revenue that could be generated if they’re marketed and reserved for private gatherings.
Unlike traditional venue spaces, wineries, breweries, and distilleries can offer tours of their grounds and their process. Since each venue serves the beverages that they have crafted on-site, they often offer tours to demonstrate their capabilities and how their drinks came to life. The addition of tours allows for these venues to offer their prospective customers an experience that a typical venue might lack.
Without a distillery on-site, tours might be out of the question, but, with chef’s tables, there is still opportunity for restaurants to give their guests a behind-the-scenes look. Do you have extra space in your kitchen? Use it to create an unforgettable experience for your guests—show them the people and the skills it takes to craft the very meal they will be eating. By requiring it to be booked as a special event, you’ll create an exclusive experience for your guests.
Putting a creative spin on the elements that draw consumers to fun event spaces like wineries, breweries and distilleries allows restaurants to offer unique and fun event ideas to their guests—and support a lucrative area of their business.
Libby DeCamps is the vice president of marketing at Gather, the largest and fastest-growing event management software platform. Gather streamlines the way private events are planned, empowering thousands of restaurants and venues with innovative software to grow their business.