No matter how favorite your bar or restaurant is, there are plenty of ways to maximize revenue, especially in the low season. One of the choicest ways to make more return and loyal customers? Host special events. Promotional events for your own business to bring in hungry customers, corporate happy hours, workshops, bridal events, and large birthday parties take place in restaurants like yours every day. For whatever kind of event your F&B stores host, it'll take more than crafting the perfect food and drink menu to manage the perfect event. So that, all you need is a full process to not only put everything into the organization but forecast all incident issues.
Why my restaurant, coffee shop, bar should host events at my places?
- Extremely profitable activity: when performed properly, they can become a predictable source of revenue with higher margins and higher spend. According to Gather, the average party size of full-service restaurants is 3.7 guests, which returns $50 to a couple of hundred dollars per party. Gather notes that the average large group or private event spends around $2,500—five to 20 times the average revenue per table.
- Maximize the business performance in the low season: very definitely that, the low season is always the most concern of the F&B business owners. With the specific number of fixed costs, but the sales revenue is not the same as the other seasons, it’s not a good thing for the businesses. So for the slow days, providing the event service is the ideal way to optimize the business cost. With this approach, events play the role of spinning up another revenue line and bring folks differently.
- Get the new unique traffic: in any group, nearly 25 percent of guest attending the event at your places are the "new in town." So every event you have the opportunity to host, you have expanded the customer database for your F&B businesses.
- Build the Brand Image: What if you host a forgettable event at your places and all the guests feel over satisfied with your services? They will share your brands with others at the same time. This will not only strengthen the reputation of your brands but create the high position for your event services in the market.
- A long-term business: "They start with the wedding, and then they end up booking their children’s birthday parties, baby and bridal showers, dinners, etc.,” said Thierry Carrier, general manager and director of operations at Avenue in Long Branch, N.J. “It’s a lifetime of events.”
5 Steps to Build the profitable Event programs
- Understand your space.
- Explore options & competitive advantages.
- Break down details in the package.
- Dedicate a team member to the event service.
- Build a process & essential support tools.
#1. Understand your space
When looking at your restaurants for events, take a glance at the overall layout of your spaces. Where can guests meet for private or semi-private gatherings? Bars, rooftops, balconies, and separate rooms are great places to start. Every location has details that fit with every kind of events:
- What kinds of spaces do you plan for event services: standing buffer, seated dinner, outdoor area, swimming pool cocktail bar, nightclub, private room, social talking areas, etc.?
- Is the event space private or not? Do you have any options to make it private when required or open when needed?
- Do you have any flexible spaces to organize activities of events such as Dancing, Singing or Brainstorming & Discussing?
- How capacity of every space for events? Do you offer any options to connect or expand spaces?
#2. Explore options & competitive advantages
After taking the review of all the spaces of your restaurants, coffee shops, and bars; now you should move to the most critical section of your event service development. Exploring concepts and event options are always the exciting jobs since these present your creativity and understand about advantages of your F&B businesses. To be a successful event organizer, you should consider specific kinds of events and their requirements:
- Entertainment Event: Office Happy Hour, Team or Family Dinner.
- Anniversary Event: Birthday, Wedding.
- Corporate Event: Workshop, Team Meeting, Conference or Trade Show.
- Social Meetup Event: Social Talk Show, Community Offline.
The challenge is what the event type your F&B businesses should focus on and promote? Is it the brilliant decision if you want to offer all of the services to cover as much as possible the market size? "Find your advantages to put your priority" is the perfect answer for this situation:
- If you have resources and experiences for premium services required the specific and smoothy, formal events of corporate organizations are the possible categories.
- If you have the active & creative team that can turn out crazy ideas for funny and engagement parties or workshops, office Happy Hour or Anniversary Events are kinds of events you should consider.
Competitive advantages (resources, experiences, teams, other capabilities) will support to viral your event services and position your brands on the market. Thus, instead of offering all of the event kinds at the fair level; your places better to build the excellent service level for at most three types of events. Doing the best of what you are good at will make your sites be the top-of-mind choices when customers have the demand.
#3. Break down details in the package
With every of event kind you offer, it always has specific components to sharpen the event. These components not only support your cost planning but make customers have an overall look at what they get when booking your services. Typically, the general event will include at least two necessary components: Space & Meal, others play the addon role that customers may or may not include based on their demands.
- Space: Outdoor, Private Room, Pool.
- Meal: Set Meal, Buffer, Tea Break, Cocktail Party.
- Entertainment: Dancing, Singing or others.
- Conference: Stage, necessary equipment for the talking, discussing or brainstorming.
- Reception: Staffs to welcome guests
- Decoration: Stage, Standee, Backdrops or other decoration materials.
- Door Gifts.
Customers always come to your places with mixed of many ideas; so instead of hiring a specific event planner with additional cost; they seek for your role to be the advisor to support them manage all their requirements into one general concept. Moreover, the way your concept can stand out and be memorable, ironically, is if your guests won't remember anything about planning their event at all. Now, and again, the concept you orientate requires your creativity and trending catching competency.
- For corporate events, what concepts you should advise for your customers? A formal meeting with a traditional style or an open social sharing that guests feel free to share their ideas or discuss?
- For entertainment or anniversary events, what are the popular party trends that customers prefer? A Boho, Tropical or Vintage wedding style, A Colorful or Seasonal Party Theme?
Besides researching for requirements of specific concepts, you should also update party trends or innovate new ideas frequently to refresh your services. Last but not least, determining the event concept will affect particular elements of the above components: space layout/diagram, foods & drinks for the menu, decoration styles.
Finally, matching the concept with the above components will support you offer options for specific components and plan the cost for every kind of event.
#4. Dedicate a team member to the event service
There are many moving parts when scheduling and organizing events, so it’s essential to have someone in charge who can respond to inquiries on time. This staff will be a key in charge person from receiving customers' requirements to making everything happened as plans. To optimize the resource, he or she can be your current restaurant manager taking event responsibilities in part-time, and being back to her or his roles in the rest of the time. Besides that, you can assign one more staff to coordinate with him or her to communicate well with kitchen, reception, and service team when having event bookings. So what is the scope of work of an event manager?
- Receive event bookings including requirements from customers.
- Check the schedule, work with other functions for customer requirements.
- Send the detailed event proposal for customers.
- Get the customer confirmation and send the deposit invoice.
- Plan the event in details and coordinate with other functions to make all happened.
- Monitor in the event and respond to the guest’s requests immediately.
- Send the post-event evaluation including additional cost if have.
#5. Build a process & essential support tools
From the servers to the kitchen staff, to the front of house, your entire team needs to be prepared for every event. The best way to do this is to create a standard event planning process for each team.
- How about the approval process to get the agreement from all functions and customers?
- What roles of every team to run events smoothly?
- What essential skills, requirements, responsibilities of every staff in the events?
- When having incidents or additional requirements, who have the authority to solve?
- What kinds of official documents (service quotes, contract, acceptance reports, additional requirement records) to work with customers?
Fortunately, there are many online free apps to support your event planning and keep on track every detail of the plan as well as coordinate with other relevant functions well. There are some recommendation apps for specific functions of event you can consider for your work:
- Get Event Booking Requirement: Google Form.
- Lock Event Schedule: Google Calendar.
- Task Management & Team Coordination: having many apps for this function, but strongly recommend Airtable for your event planning because of their essential features to support make everything in details from event job to do list, cost sheet to artwork jobs.
In conclusion, by hosting events, you’re exposing your restaurant to new guests who then have a higher chance of coming back. So that, to create new unique and memorable experiences, you should build the event process to put everything in details, show the responsible and caring from every staff of events as well as keep exploring the new creative concept for your event service. That is the way you make your F&B brands premium.