The global COVID-19 pandemic changed many things, most notably the restaurant industry and what consumers want with their food. Just take a look at the rise of the eatertainment industry in recent years.
To make your mark in the eatertainment industry and draw consumers to your unique dining experience, you first need to establish the best eatertainment concept for your business and budget.
Browse the below eatertainment concepts and choose the one you like most. Whichever option you choose, these concepts are sure to boost your restaurant revenue.
What is “Eatertainment”?
Eatertainment, a play on the words “eat” and “entertainment”, refers to a section of the restaurant industry that combines food and entertainment. While the eatertainment industry isn’t new (Chuck E. Cheese has been around for decades) it is seeing a resurgence among Gen Z.
Eatertainment is about the restaurant experience more than anything else. The concept favors group activities and socializing, which makes sense in the current climate. Gen Z is the loneliest generation and is increasingly looking for third places to meet and socialize with other people.
It’s only natural that play and food, both of which are great bonding experiences, are growing in popularity.
What Makes Good Eatertainment?
Before you choose a concept for your eatertainment venue, let’s take a quick look at the pillars of good eatertainment.
Social Media Worthy
Consumers enjoy eatertainment venues that have social media-worthy picture opportunities. 30% even avoid restaurants that have no social media presence. So, create social media-worthy photo opportunities and encourage customers to geo-tag the restaurant for a marketing boost.
Just because eatertainment venues place a greater emphasis on the dining experience doesn’t mean you can ignore the food quality. Good food is still a must, even if your eatertainment concept is fun.
Shareable menus are on the rise, but the concept is especially attractive at eatertainment venues. Sharing food is a bonding experience. It’s also much easier to manage a table of food instead of individual meals when enjoying other activities. For consumers looking for light fun and social experiences, shareable meals are a major plus.
Eatertainment is about creating a unique experience for consumers. Lean into the entertainment concept and let creativity reign. Your entertainment venue should have a vibe unique to your brand – one consumers will be hard-pressed to experience anywhere else.
Because eatertainment prioritizes social interaction, create seating that encourages social interaction. Opt for booths instead of chairs and don’t create isolated clusters of seating. Keep the booths open and facing toward the larger restaurant, and create a fluid design that makes chatting with other groups easy.
11 Eatertainment Concepts to Implement
With the definitions out of the way, let’s take a look at eatertainment concepts sure to win you customers and boost revenue.
While themed restaurants have been around for decades, eatertainment restaurants get to go the extra mile. Instead of a normal diner concept, you can have fun with the restaurant theme and create entertainment surrounding the theme.
For example, a horror-themed eatertainment restaurant. It’ll provide many photo opportunities, be a unique experience from the get-go, and entertain guests during their stay.
Pottery art eatertainment is great for artsy groups that want to enjoy a more laidback type of entertainment.
Customers reserve seats for their party before choosing and buying blank pottery. Inside, while eating, they decorate the pottery with the art of their choice. After customers leave, the pottery is baked and shipped to or collected by the customers.
While you’ll have to provide the painting supplies, the food and beverage costs, entry fees, and pottery purchases are still lucrative.
Arcade and gaming concepts are very popular eatertainment activities. They’re mentally stimulating and hark back to a time when arcades were the place to be.
So, deck your eatertainment space in arcade games like Pac-Man, Street Fighter, and Space Invaders. It’s also a great opportunity to create a full eatertainment experience. Decorate the restaurant in a retro fashion and lean into the arcade theme.
Live shows, like live music, stand-up comedy, and other open-mic-night type events are one of the cheaper eatertainment options. All you need is a small stage, lights, and an audio system.
It’s also a high ROI opportunity.
With so little investment and the ability to make money from tickets, food and beverage purchases, and participation fees, you can rake in the money. However, remember to bring your best food and to continually improve the experience as your restaurant grows.
Another one of the most popular entertainment options is ping pong.
Also known as table tennis, ping pong is a great idea if you have a lot of open space in your restaurant. Ping pong tables are relatively cheap, and you only need a few to decorate your eatertainment setting. Don’t forget to set out tables for customers to sit and eat while watching people play ping pong.
Mini golf lets you bring an outdoor favorite indoors. Or, if you’ve got the outdoor space, you can create an outdoor-style eatertainment restaurant with outdoor seating. Mini gold requires a bigger budget but it has massive eatertainment appeal, especially if you create a cohesive mini golfing theme for your restaurant.
Whether you opt for a sports bar with a mini golf eatertainment segment or a multi-level, high-tech mini golf zone like Puttshack in St. Louis, your options are virtually endless.
Shuffleboard is fun and versatile. You can opt for a full shuffleboard restaurant build, with seating and dining room space in between. Or you can convert your current dining room with table shuffleboards, a more budget-friendly option. It’s physically stimulating but laid back enough to attract a diverse crowd of consumers.
Who doesn’t love good food and a movie? While not as physically stimulating as the other options on this list, the resurgence of outdoor cinemas speaks volumes about the power of cinema after the pandemic.
Differentiate your cinema by making it true eatertainment. Offer meals instead of just snacks and popcorn. There are also a variety of movies to choose from, from old classics to new indie films. Tap into niche films to draw in crowds who don’t get to enjoy their movies at traditional theatres.
When it comes to eatertainment, karaoke is a most well-known option. Good food, adult beverages, and the opportunity to sing your heart out will always attract a crowd. Like live entertainment, it’s also relatively cheap to host. All you need is a mic, a stage, and some sort of prompter for the lyrics.
Another budget-friendly option with mass appeal is board games. All you need is big enough tables, a good atmosphere, and a diverse selection of board games for customers to choose from.
Give your customers the chance to be kids again with an adult playground. Combine the experience with good food, a fun theme, and a bar program (one that utilizes event risk management to ensure safe drinking and play) for a truly unique eatertainment experience.
Eatertainment, the combination of food and entertainment, is gaining popularity among older Gen Z. Eatertainment restaurants are dining experiences that promote fun and socializing, which is especially important after the global pandemic.
Say goodbye to traditional venues and try one of the above eatertainment concepts for your restaurant. Use event project management to establish your goals and business plan, and prepare for an increase in revenue.
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