10 Strategies to Increase Special Event Bookings at Your Restaurant

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If you’re looking to increase your restaurant’s bottom line, event bookings are a sure-fire way of bringing in large crowds and boosting profits. However, it can be difficult to promote your restaurant to a wider audience, especially if it’s a new venture, or you’re only a small business. 

In this article, we’ll outline some of the most effective ways to market your restaurant and start bringing in the event bookings that will take your business to new heights. Let’s go!

#1 Create a separate events team or web page

If you’re serious about bringing in more clients through event bookings then it makes sense to separate this offer from the rest of your business:

  • Hire an event manager – Hiring a specific event manager is a great way of creating a focus to promote your restaurant as an event venue. Having someone focussed on marketing your venue, creating promotions, and advertising the restaurant free from any other possible distractions can build a business quickly.
  • Create an event page – Whether you’re able to hire a dedicated event manager or not, creating a specialised events page on your website is another easy way of advertising your restaurant as an event venue. Here you can list all the various packages and promotions you’d like to offer, alongside contact details, reviews, and availability, as well as links to your social media.

#2 Concentrate on specific groups and events

When it comes to booking a whole restaurant for an event, there are certain types of events that you should focus your marketing strategy towards. Here are some of the most important:

  • Corporate events/parties – Large corporations and offices are often searching for convenient places with food, drink, and exceptional service for specific events or parties. These kinds of events can bring in huge profits as corporations tend to have larger budgets than most, so it’s important to present your venue in a stylish manner, while also offering high-end food and drinks packages. 
  • Business meetings – Restaurants are becoming more and more popular as venues for business meetings, so if your restaurant has a private space, it’s a great opportunity to bring in customers and establish a reputation for your venue as a place for business as well as leisure.
  • Private parties – Restaurants are a go-to location for all manner of private parties and celebrations, including birthdays, engagements, and graduations. Whether you’re offering a private space or even whole venue hire, this is a great opportunity for you to spread your wings and focus on party packages that will entice clients and make it a night to remember.
  • Small weddings – Depending on the size of your venue, you may even get some requests for small wedding ceremonies or receptions. While this may require adapting your space, this presents another fantastic opportunity to welcome high-margin guests and provide a bespoke service that crowns the bride and groom’s day in style. 

#3 Volunteer your space for local events

An effective way of bypassing the need to bring in customers yourself is via volunteering your space within the local community and offering free venue hire. Doing this will give you a great experience in using and adapting your space during events, while also creating a positive reputation for your business amongst the local community. As a result, you’ll be more likely to generate event bookings in the future, fill your restaurant on quiet days, as well as improve your online profile with positive reviews and testaments. 

#4 Take advantage of social media

You’re likely to already have some kind of presence on social media, so it’s vital that you use this to your advantage. Coming up with some unique ways to advertise the fact that you’re now offering whole venue hire, private spaces, and specialised event packages is an easy way of quickly spreading information to your followers and bringing in larger and more regular bookings. 

Some ideas for unique advertisements could be using videos with behind-the-scenes footage of the venue, creating polls and contests, or offering special deals and promotions that will entice your audience and impress future clients. Don’t forget that in doing this you’re also marketing your restaurant, so consistent and eye-catching pictures of your dishes and restaurant space will also help greatly. You can also make an agreement with event organisers that allows you to use images from events that previously took place in the restaurant and include them on your social media profiles.

#5 Reach out to former clients

One of the best ways to broaden your outlook is through contacting previous customers and returning customers in particular. Having already had an experience of the restaurant and seen how everything operates, happy customers are especially likely to consider your venue for larger-scale events such as birthday celebrations or corporate gatherings. In addition, you can create a snowball effect whereby these former customers will let their friends and families know of the services being offered by your venue, increasing your exposure and heightening your chances of receiving large bookings. 

#6 Create special promotions

If you’re just starting out with marketing your restaurant for larger events, a great way of bringing in punters is by offering special deals and promotions. This can be anything from half-price meals, free drinks, or discounts that will help attract larger groups, as all it takes is one successful night to leave a good impression and encourage clients to come back for more.  You can utilise the data gathered from your social media or your POS to build a database of clients that you can target with special promotions and incentives.

Targeted promotions can also be offered through a variety of different platforms that appeal to a wide range of audiences. For example, you can choose three different promotions: one to be sent via mail to previous customers, one through a Facebook competition, and one on Instagram. Overall, these efforts will encourage people to engage with all your different marketing platforms and increase the likelihood of bookings from large groups. 

#7 Host your own events

Another way of showing off your business as a sleek and effective event venue is by organising your own events. Organising a weekly pub quiz, cookery class, or themed party is a great way of filling your restaurant, gaining experience in event hosting, and improving your reputation as a well-organised and efficient event venue.

#8 List on a specialised venue booking marketplace

Consistently generating event bookings for your restaurant, while also finding the time to keep all aspects of your business running smoothly can be time-consuming work, so there’s no harm in getting some extra help along the way. Online venue booking platforms, like Tagvenue.com, are numerous and can help give your space that extra bit of exposure, while also boosting your chances of receiving large-scale bookings for just a small sign-up fee or commission charge.  

#9 Stay open-minded

Depending on the style of your restaurant, you may only have one or two dedicated event spaces, while keeping the rest of the venue open for regular business. In some cases, however, you may receive requests from people looking to book the whole venue. In situations such as this, while you may be reluctant to close the whole venue for business, it’s important to think about the long-term benefits of hosting a private event. This is an opportunity to broaden your horizons and focus fully on the running of a specialised event rather than being occupied with many things at once.

 #10 Target slow nights

Filling your restaurant and organising events on weekends should be much easier than during the week. With this in mind, try and put some emphasis on quiet nights where business may be slower and come up with themed ideas or promotions to accompany this. These promotions are especially good when targeting groups of people, as this will help fill your restaurant easily and hopefully generate more event bookings in the future. Example ideas could be to offer 2-for-1 meals, group discounts on bills over a certain sum of money, or free starters or rounds of drinks for parties in excess of a particular figure. While you may be offering cheaper rates, a full restaurant is far more profitable than an empty one and the exposure will lead to more group event bookings and opportunities for further growth. 

List your restaurant venue at Tagvenue for free today, and start earning more tomorrow.

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