Venue sales can play a major role in increasing restaurant revenue and opening up new opportunities for restaurants to grow.
When focusing on restaurant events, venues must take a unique approach to venue sales. Generating event bookings is different from regular restaurant management, and it often involves different team members and processes.
In this guide, we’ll explore some of the key strategies and roles involved in boosting restaurant venue sales.
Who Should Focus on Venue Sales?
Venue sales for a restaurant refers to the process of selling or renting out the restaurant's space for events, parties, meetings, and other gatherings.
If your restaurant is also part of the events industry, then it’s important to have somebody in charge of pushing venue sales. While most restaurants won’t have a full-scale venue sales team, there could be multiple roles involved in venue sales. Let’s break these down.
Owner or General Manager
The owner or general manager plays a crucial role in overseeing all aspects of the restaurant's operations, including venue sales.
They are responsible for setting sales goals, creating pricing structures, and ensuring that the restaurant's space is effectively marketed and utilized for events.
Event Sales Manager
Many restaurants hire an event sales manager or coordinator whose primary responsibility is to promote the restaurant as a venue for private events.
This individual should have strong sales and customer service skills, as they will be the point of contact for potential clients and event organizers. They need to establish a clear sales process and manage the entire venue sales strategy to ensure event venues maximize bookings.
The restaurant's marketing team plays a vital role in promoting the venue as an attractive event space.
While not directly involved in managing the sales funnel, the marketing team creates marketing materials, such as brochures and online content, to showcase the restaurant's facilities and capabilities for hosting events.
This team can also manage social media advertising and email marketing campaigns targeting potential event clients. This is key for effective sales processes.
Chef or Catering Team
The culinary team should work closely with the event sales manager to design event-specific menus and catering packages.
The quality of the food and beverage offerings can be a significant selling point for event planners, so it's crucial to collaborate with the chef and catering staff. Catering sales and venue bookings are closely linked, and you need to have the chef involved when it comes to managing catering sales.
The restaurant's front-of-house staff, including waitstaff and hosts/hostesses, should be aware of the restaurant's availability for private events.
They may interact with customers who inquire about event bookings and can relay information to the event sales manager. While these people are not focal parts of the venue sales team, they do play a vital role in advertising the restaurant and initiating sales opportunities.
The operations team, responsible for maintaining the restaurant's physical space, ensures that the venue is clean, well-maintained, and equipped with the necessary infrastructure to host events.
They play a critical role in providing a positive experience for event clients and making sure the venue looks good for any potential customer.
The finance department should be involved in setting pricing, tracking revenue, and managing contracts for event bookings. They ensure that the financial aspects of venue sales are handled properly and profitably.
How to Increase Venue Sales at Your Restaurant
Many different roles contribute to venue and catering sales. This means there are many different processes restaurants can refine to increase activity in their sales pipeline.
Here are some of the key strategies to help you increase venue sales.
Promote Your Unique Selling Points
Highlight what makes your venue special. Whether it's a beautiful view, a unique interior design, a spacious patio, or a central location, emphasize these features in your marketing materials.
Not only will this help to make your venue stand out, but it will also make it a more compelling choice for particular event planners looking for something unique.
Use the Right Software
Venue management software is essential for maximizing sales opportunities.
These software solutions can help you save time, streamline venue management, and improve communication with potential customers. Restaurants can use all-in-one event management platforms to help them understand clients better, provide more positive client experiences, and ultimately, generate more venue booking revenue.
Create Attractive Packages
Develop event packages that bundle various services, such as catering, décor, and entertainment. Offering all-inclusive packages can simplify the planning process for clients.
You could create wine packages, catering packages, and event bar packages to make it easier for potential customers to choose your venue for their needs. This can make a big difference in speeding up the decision-making process of new leads.
Networking and Community Involvement
Building relationships within the local community, event planning industry, and local businesses can be essential for venue sales.
Networking and community involvement can help attract potential clients and event partners. So, ensure your event sales team is actively involved in the community and focuses on maintaining strong relationships relevant to live events.
Your restaurant’s online presence plays an extremely valuable role in generating new leads and attracting new business.
Maintain an updated and user-friendly website with a dedicated section for event bookings. Include high-quality photos, virtual tours, and detailed information about the venue's capabilities.
Making the most of social media is also important for creating new sales opportunities. Use platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn to showcase your venue's events, share client testimonials, and engage with potential clients. Paid advertising can also help reach a wider audience.
Restaurant email marketing is also one of the most reliable and impactful strategies. Build an email list and send out regular newsletters to potential clients, updating them on upcoming events, promotions, and success stories from past events.
Network with Event Planners
While a good marketing campaign can help you attract new leads, having strong connections with event planners is even more valuable.
Build relationships with event planners and professionals in your area. Attend industry events, and trade shows, and join local event planning associations to connect with potential clients. These people can play a major role in generating new business for venues.
Host Showcase Events
Consider hosting open-house events to showcase your venue to event planners and potential clients. Offer tours, tastings, and demonstrations to give them a taste of what you can offer.
This can be especially valuable for new event venues looking to make an impact and establish a name for themselves.
Positive Client Experiences
One of your most valuable sales tools is your existing customer base.
Provide exceptional service during events to generate positive word-of-mouth marketing. Happy clients are likely to recommend your venue to others.
Online Reviews and Testimonials
Following on from happy customers, generating social proof through online reviews and testimonials plays a major role in building your venue’s credibility.
Encourage satisfied clients to leave positive reviews on platforms like Yelp, TripAdvisor, and Google. These reviews can significantly influence potential clients. Reviews like this can also play a major role in boosting your restaurant’s visibility on search engines.
Engage in Local Partnerships
Collaborate with local businesses, such as florists, photographers, and transportation services, to provide package deals or cross-promotions. Not only does this make it easier to find the right vendors for events, but it also helps you become a go-to venue for any events they’re involved in.
Offer Incentives and Discounts
Consider offering discounts or incentives for clients who book multiple events or refer new clients to your venue. This could help you generate brand advocates and improve awareness around your restaurant venue.
Refine Pricing Strategies
A large part of restaurant venue sales comes down to pricing.
Regularly review your pricing strategy. Be competitive in your market while ensuring your pricing covers all expenses and generates a profit.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Tools
Using CRM software, restaurants can track inquiries, manage client relationships, and keep records of past events. This helps in building long-term relationships with clients who may book multiple events.
The data available from CRM software can also help refine your marketing and sales strategies.
Be aware of current event trends, such as themed parties, sustainable practices, and unique event formats. Incorporate these trends into your offerings when relevant.
Increasing venue sales at your restaurant requires a strategic approach, consistency in marketing efforts, and a commitment to providing top-notch service. By effectively promoting your unique offerings and creating a seamless booking process, you can attract more clients and expand your restaurant's presence in the event industry.
One of the most important strategies for increasing venue sales is using the right event venue management software to streamline processes, save time, and make the most of all sales opportunities. Try Perfect Venue for free to see how the solution can help grow your event sales.