Ken Burgin

Restaurant Events

25 Easy Restaurant Events to Attract More Customers

An active calendar with a variety of restaurant events keeps staff and customers engaged and shows that your business is fresh, creative and worth another visit.

Think about the customers you’d like to see more of, and those that spend well – keep them in mind as you plan ahead. Something new to talk about every month creates great word-of-mouth promotion.

Seasonal Events: Phases of the moon, first day of Spring, Summer, Autumn or Winter, longest and shortest day etc. Link them to food, beverage, entertainment or leisure…

  • Birthday of the business – not sure when it is? Make one up!
  • Famous Birthdays – check the long lists on this site
  • Famous Events – eg 40 years ago the first men landed on the moon!
  • Special events in your area – who keeps an eye out for these?

Major Public Events: New Year, Christmas, Diwali, Valentines Day, Public Holidays – the events that everyone loves need an extra twist to stand out from the noise. What can you do differently?

Food & Beverage Events: Chocolate Month, Sicilian Month, Chilli Week, Lime & Lemongrass Festival – make up your own dates. Special food and beverage events that everyone can enjoy:

  • Your Spice Club meets once a month for people who like their food extra hot.
  • Create a Gluten Free Feast as a regular quarterly event.
  • Promote the coffee or tea blend of the week (making sure staff really know what they’re serving).
  • Try ‘Beef & Cabernet’ nights every quarter and Craft Beer tastings.
  • Invent your own Wine Club and start a Sommelier’s tasting night, where customers help choose next month’s featured wines. These are more interesting than just flogging ‘wine of the month’ courtesy of the free table-talkers handed out by the wine rep.

Last Minute Events: one off, ‘seize the moment’ occasions, publicised by an email or text message:

  • Organic Lamb Dinner with a special purchase from the new butcher
  • Strawberry Harvest – timed for a season glut and featuring smoothies, scones with strawberry jam, tarts, icecream… you name it
  • Asparagus Week – using the peak harvest season (this is huge in Germany)
  • TV Events – a special menu to celebrate a cooking show eg Masterchef finals etc
  • Champion Barista Day – feature an ace staff member who just won an award

Charity Events: eg Pink Ribbon events in October, raising money for breast cancer research. Or International Women’s Day on 8 March. Sometimes these work best when you take the initiative and highlight your own special cause – make the fund-raising short and sharp, so as not to lose impact.

Special Regular Events:

  • Knife sharpening every Tuesday – leave them with our chef for extra special care.
  • Cooking classes of all types – either hands on, or demonstration style. Tie them in with a meal and suggest partners come to share the results (for a price of course) – a good idea from the smart operators at Pod Food.
  • Wednesday night is BYO Wine night, or Tuesday night is half-price wine night – the profits come from the extra food sales you make.
  • Monday Combo Night – choice of appetiser, main and dessert for only $38. This avoids having heavy discounts undermingin your marketing at other times.
  • Sunday afternoon Jazz & Cocktails, Friday night Football & Beer – some are very familiar, but always worth promoting.

Promote with Imagination: on the blackboard, in the window, on a plasma screen, through your newsletter, on the website, using Instagram and some Facebook Ads, text messaging etc. Involve your staff in creating the calendar, and make plans at least 6 months ahead so the momentum builds – spend planning time rather than spend money! And the more you plan ahead, the easier it is…

🤚 Check the weekly discoveries on Hospo Reset – information & inspiration for restaurant, cafe & foodservice operators.

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