Investing your time and money wisely when it’s slow can make or break you when it comes to bringing dollars through the door.
You can either sit back and hope for the best, or you can take actionable steps to make sure the money keeps flowing.
One of the best hacks to prevent lost revenue during slow seasons is to establish an ongoing events program for your restaurant.
IDEAS FOR RESTAURANT EVENTS: YOUR MONEY-MAKING MACHINES
Restaurants who run private events typically see $25,000 – $40,000 in predictable revenue a month for about 10-15 events.
Because guest spend at events is much higher than a typical restaurant tab, the margins are much higher… about 15 – 25%.
There’s more to it than direct revenue, though.
Events also funnel tons of new customers through your door, exposing more people to your business who may potentially become repeat guests.
Additionally, large groups of people bring a festive energy to the atmosphere of your restaurant, which carries over to your a la carte diners. They stay longer and spend more money with you, too.
Events offer filled seats, additional profits, and a party-like atmosphere. And when time and energy are put into planning and organizing, your events can run like a dream.
What are the hacks to running efficient, profitable private events?
Lucky you, we put together the ultimate list of ideas for restaurant events.
Idea #1: Schedule Less Staff
The flow of service is different for events than for regular dining.
Guests choose their entrees before arriving, so the kitchen is able to get dishes ready ahead of time. Prep work is taken care of well in advance of event attendees arriving.
And unlike filling a section in your dining room, you can (and should) go into an event with a clear understanding of the number of guests you’ll be serving.
This means servers can focus almost entirely on taking drink orders and serving food and beverages.
It also means they can do more in less time.
For most events, it’s possible to get away with assigning up to 30 guests to each server as long as preparations are completed beforehand.
The benefits of this are twofold: Servers receive more money in tips, and you receive more money in saved labor costs and additional revenue.
Idea #2: Order Only What You Need
When you prepare for events in advance, quotes and proposals will communicate exactly how many people will be attending.
You’ll also have a set menu, and typically by the time you need to place a food order for the event, you’ll know the exact number of dishes you’ll be serving.
With this information in hand, ordering and inventory become a science.
You can take an accurate inventory of what you already have and place exact food orders with your suppliers based on what you have and what you need.
Not only does this ensure you have enough food to cover all the event’s guests, but it also helps you avoid over-ordering and waste.
Idea #3: Let Technology Help
Another idea for restaurant events: technology.
No longer are you restricted to using manual and time-consuming spreadsheets to organize your events, schedule staff, or take inventory.
Running private events is a beast on its own… you don’t need outdated processes making your job harder.
The tools you do need are ones that fit into your pocket and go where you go… to the kitchen to check on the dinner service, to the floor to oversee setup and takedown, and to the reservations desk to ensure smooth guest check-in.
Using a digital platform to manage your events can change the way your team performs dramatically.
Event software helps you with delegation, organization, and communication and it can empower you to grow your events business.
Gather is re-imagining the way private events are planned. The cloud-based platform simplifies event planning for restaurants so you can be more efficient and bring in more money with your events…
… which means your slow seasons are now a thing of the past.
Libby DeCamps, one of the fantastic folks at Gather, contributed this article. Learn more about Gather by visiting gatherhere.com.
And if you want to make the rest of your restaurant more efficient, feel free to get the free Orderly App, the easy-to-use, do-it-for-me restaurant app for running a smarter restaurant.