Host an Event to Attract More Restaurant Customers in 2024

Events at restaurants are great fun — if prepared for properly. Learn how to employ a well-handled approach to events organisation at restaurants, all at no cost whatsoever.

Want to discover more about the best events to host at a restaurant to suit your tastes? Talk to us and learn how an online restaurant reservation system has long-term benefits too.

Host Events at Restaurants

These are public and social occasions set at an established time in selected venues, including special celebrations, seasonal parties, national holidays, cookery classes, themed activities, performances, live entertainment, invite-only gatherings, and much more.

Restaurants are ideal places to host events. Not only do they serve food and beverages on premises but they also provide the space needed to host large numbers of people. Gathered together, people can easily fill a restaurant area/space almost completely, keeping restaurant tables full. Events encourage steady business.

If a restaurant wants to host an event, they need to consider:

  • Cover capacity
  • Public notices and advertising
  • Staff schedules
  • Entertainment slots (if applicable)
  • Ticket arrangements (if applicable)

Therefore, it’s advisable that a restaurant hosting an event sets up reservations for the special day ahead. Reservations allow restaurants to

  • anticipate guest demand, arranging seating accordingly
  • schedule staff as needed, balancing payroll with level of business
  • calculate earnings based on menu availability, ticket pricing (if applicable), guestlist, and more
host events at restaurants
Party Tray by Thank You via Flickr  (creative commons 2.0)

How to Host a Restaurant Party — An Example

Alternatively, a restaurant can host an open-house event, where all visitors are welcome. This requires a different set of skills and arrangements to accommodate more guests than a restaurant would normally expect.

Take the example of the Bombay Canteen, one of India’s top-rated restaurants. Between 2015—2020 the Bombay Canteen had hosted an independence day event, joining all their tables together to create a community-style seating arrangement, serving hundreds of customers at once. 

Proceeds went to charity, but the event was also good for business. The Bombay Canteen had created a memorable experience for many customers — so much so that the owners had witnessed various regulars coming back time and again in the following months.

Digital waitlists are great for handling heavy guest demand. They help teams host a restaurant party. Also, digital waitlists save staff time, helping restaurant customers avoid unnecessary disappointment, keeping restaurant tables full throughout the day.

Top 5 Restaurant Event Ideas

Some events to host at a restaurant will attract more customers than others. Our five events to attract more restaurant customers help strike a balance to appeal to all tastes and preferences.

1. Live Music Night

Music performed in a laid-back setting is sure to attract diners to a restaurant’s tables. When it comes to booking musicians themselves, go for more grass-roots related talent. Local musicians will interest diners keen to support people from their communities — plus you’re giving lesser known names a chance to step into the spotlight.

Remember to keep things fresh and have multiple acts play throughout the week. Also, check legal guidance to ensure your restaurant is all clear on entertainment licencing.

2. Host a Wine Tasting Event at a Restaurant

This is a popular option that will attract customers in their droves. To have a definite number of guarantees, accept reservations to know how much wine to order. 

With enough preparation — i.e., decorating the dining room, training staff, choosing wines, hiring a wine expert — a wine tasting event is a great opportunity for a restaurant to mingle with guests, show appreciation for their business and most of all, be a visible host. Remember six wines (three reds, three whites) is always a good selection.

Want to know more on how to host a wine tasting event at a restaurant? The Food Standards Agency provides official guidance on safely ordering wines from local warehouses, vendors, and vineyards, including key information on liaising with both regional inspectors and quality advisors.

hosting an event in a restaurant
By Leon Brocard via Flickr (creative commons 2.0)

3. Invite a Guest Chef

No doubt your restaurant already has a great chef. Though this idea is no reflection of a team’s existing abilities, bringing in a guest chef for a night can definitely spice up an event’s idea.

Forbes magazine has reported that this is popular mostly thanks to social media. Food enthusiasts like to share their experiences online, generating excitement about unique culinary experiences with talented chefs. So inviting a chef to serve up their own signature dishes can establish a restaurant’s long-term appeal, promising guest returns.

4. The Seasonal Event

Generate excitement with a season-specific event. Using seasonal ingredients, for instance, is a great place to start. On Halloween, for example, root vegetables like pumpkins and turnips are touchstones of the season. See our article “6 Ways to Attract Restaurant Business on Halloween” for more.

Also establish a mood with decorations and design. Offer deals on dishes that use fresh ingredients available at the time of year.

5. Quiz Night

It’s a well-known staple of pubs, so why not restaurants? A Friday night quiz to test your customers’ knowledge is a great way for them to kick off the weekend. This is also an opportunity for customers to tell all their friends and guarantee a full house.

There are plenty more restaurant event ideas that will work for you and your customers. Have any you can think of? Share your restaurant’s guest experiences here.

More Efficient Events Management

Many restaurants are looking for ways to tighten up their event management skills. From wine tastings to cookery classes, restaurants can use technology to give themselves a boost when it comes to greeting and providing service for new customers.

Restaurants can use Google to advertise events online. Using a markup feature strategically places your restaurant event on customer searches. An online reservations tool allows you to handle bookings with less hassle.

  • Accept bookings directly from the web
  • Attract new customers interested in events
  • Align plans better, with accurate guest numbers and party sizes

Carbonara App helps restaurants stay on top of event management. Hosts can organise reservations all in one place, including one-tap guest reminders and instant communication features using smartphone technology. 

Customers want to experience what your restaurant has to offer in the easiest way possible. When they’re looking for dining options and events in their areas, they’re doing so online. Give them the easy option to make a reservation with you. 

Still wondering how to host a restaurant party successfully? To see a full list of the benefits of online restaurant reservations see our Ultimate Guide. Discover how a free app assists your restaurant today.