As temperatures are rising, you may find your restaurant’s private events program is heating up — or cooling down.
Either way, there are plenty of creative ways to refresh your event offerings for the season. Now’s the time to highlight things like your seasonal menu, newest cocktails, and other drink offerings, along with any outdoor options like a stellar rooftop or expansive patio.
While the bigger holidays are obvious choices for event hosting, there are a ton of other seasonal opportunities to help your events program to thrive.
Below, we break down just a few of our favorite excuses to celebrate summer at restaurants.
Fourth of July
Independence Day celebrations are some of the most popular (and elaborate) of the season. The great thing about these events is that food, drinks, and decor and pretty straightforward. If you’ve got the capability of having a standing grill outside, you can have a chef on hand grilling up fresh hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken, veggie skewers, and other tasty treats.
As far as drinks go, venues can offer anything from cold beers to holiday-themed cocktails — think blue curacao as a mixer, or watermelon chunks as an on-theme garnish.
But beware of pyrotechnics: having sparklers permitted is a fun, Instagram-worthy perk, but there’s always the risk of injury or something unintentionally being set aflame, so proceed with caution.
Promote the opportunity to commend a newly-earned degrees by hosting parties for recent graduates. There are plenty of opportunities to discuss customization with these events, since you could be throwing a party for a high school, college, grad school, or trade school graduates.
This is also a great opportunity to mention potential upsells, like food stations, photo booths, a Champagne toast, extended hours, and other appealing meal add-ons.
You may be surprised to discover how easy it is to turn even a small amount of outdoor space into a perfectly suitable event venue.
Whether it’s a patch of green space, a spacious parking lot, a rooftop, or a patio, you can make outdoor events happen successfully, with little more than a vision and some creativity.
Add some string lights, a few high-top tables with linens, an easily accessible food and drinks table (passed apps are ideal for outdoor events), and you’ve got a bonafide, bookable event area. Now all you need are some cool drinks and a breezy summer day to complete the perfect package.
If you’re in a climate that gets a little too high in temperature during summer days, consider opening your event space for nighttime or evening events.
Not looking to host an event that lasts till 2AM? Even if your restaurant is open for full dining service during these times, you can still create semi-private spaces, book your banquet room, or rope off the patio or reserve the rooftop without worrying about guests passing out from heat stroke or complaining about the lack of shade.
Whether or not you happen to be situated by a large body of water, your venue can still totally pull off a beach-themed bash with success.
Customization opportunities are feasible for a range of budgets: paper umbrellas, frozen drinks, and a few large beach balls will go a long way when it comes to special touches. For the more elaborate events, you can look into renting water features, booking a DJ who will spin island-inspired jams, filling baby pools with floats, and even bringing in sand for a truly authentic experience.
Just make sure you don’t get in over your head with the options, leaving your staff to sweep up sand for months.
Wedding season is already in full swing, which means it’s the perfect time to remind potential clients about why your space is ideal for wedding celebrations, from engagement parties and bridal showers to rehearsal dinners or day-after brunches.
Even though the season is already underway, there’s plenty of value in reiterating your options, particularly for people whose other venues may have double-booked, fallen through or had some other issue.
With all the great things that summer brings, some may want to throw a party just to commemorate the season itself — think “endless summer,” “summer solstice” or “end of summer” themes. Again, these events can be super customizable to be as low-key or elaborate as the client might want.
It’s the perfect time to highlight seasonal menu options, since you’ll want to offer fresh ingredients and dishes that complement the weather (see: no soup unless it’s gazpacho).
Christmas in July
If you think this event theme is outdated, think again: millennials have revamped this idea by throwing their own version of a Christmas in July party, complete with holiday decor, tacky sweaters (or Christmas-colored tanks) paired with jean shorts, holiday candy and all the other bells and whistles.
Want to get to this customer base? Consider marketing in social media spots like on Facebook and Instagram — it’s easy to customize your audience, plus the cost and creation is generally low-maintenance with low overhead. It’s a fun excuse to shout Christmas songs and your kitchen can get creative with dessert dishes that mesh warm temps with a festive feel.
Annual City Events
Whether it’s a local organization, a nonprofit, a university, or a traveling event, it’s likely that there are plenty of annually recurring events happening in your city. You can capitalize on these opportunities in a few ways, like reaching out to your local tourism bureau, local colleges, churches, and other institutions and sending them some brief info about your offerings.
Even if you don’t have the capacity to host the actual event, this can put you in the running for options like cocktail hours, networking events, after-parties and everything in between.
Make the Most of This Summer
Whether you’re looking for help managing increased bookings, keeping organized or comparing last year’s lead volume to this year’s, restaurant event software is a perfect solution.