Hosting a restaurant special event is one of the best ways to attract new customers, develop new revenue streams, and generate more awareness around your restaurant.
No matter what kind of restaurant you run, there are loads of great restaurant event ideas you can try. Each different restaurant event has its own unique ambiance and provides its own opportunities to grow your business.
To help you figure out which event is best for your business, we’re going to unpack some of the best restaurant event ideas for any kind of venue.
Why Run a Restaurant Special Event?
If you want to attract more customers and grow your brand, then hosting restaurant events is a great way to do it.
You’ve already got the venue, so there are all kinds of different restaurant event ideas you can run without too much effort. Hosting these events keeps your restaurant business exciting, and lets you showcase new reasons for people to visit your restaurant.
Here are four of the main advantages of hosting a restaurant's event.
Attracts New Guests
The right restaurant event idea can help you attract new guests who have never been to your restaurant before. This is a great way to build up brand awareness and increase the reach of your restaurant.
If event attendees have a positive experience, they could likely recommend your restaurant and come again for future events. So, the more events you host, the more your potential customer base increases.
Builds Your Network
Hosting events in your restaurant's space is a great way to increase your hospitality network.
When you hold events, you’ll deal with different vendors and partners. This helps grow your hospitality community, which offers a range of benefits. Most importantly, your restaurant might receive additional marketing coverage from this community. You’ll also have a wider net of potential collaborators and partners for future events.
Helps Your Restaurant Stand Out
The hospitality industry can be highly competitive.
By hosting regular events at your restaurants, you keep your venue exciting and unique. This helps your restaurants stand out from the competition, giving people more reason to visit your business.
And if you host events regularly, it means there;’s always something new happening at your venue. This gives your customers more reason to keep coming back and supporting your business.
Brings in More Revenue
Beyond just attracting new customers, special events in your restaurant can help you generate a big turnover on event nights.
This is because you can charge more than you usually would for ticket sales or special meals. Your guests will probably also drink more, which is a great revenue booster.
18 Restaurant Event Ideas You Can Try
Interested in hosting a restaurant special event? No matter what kind of restaurant you ruin, or how big your space is, there are all kinds of restaurants event ideas you can try. Here are some of the best ones.
Host themed nights where you serve cuisine from a specific country or era. This can excite your regular customers and attract new ones who are interested in trying something different.
Theme nights are a great way to showcase different types of delicious food or cocktails that your restaurants don't usually serve. You could also include themed entertainment - like a movie, musicians, or fancy dress. This is a fun way to do something unique in your restaurant.
Chef's Table Experience
Restaurants are all about delicious food. So, why not host exclusive events that offer unique food experiences?
Offer an exclusive dining experience where guests can interact with the chef, learn about the dishes being prepared, and enjoy a specially curated menu. This is one of the best event ideas to attract repeat customers, as you can offer an exclusive, once-off menu for each event.
You could also bring in guest chefs to prepare food that your restaurant wouldn’t usually serve. This keeps your restaurants exciting and will keep diners coming back for more.
Beer or Wine Tasting Event
Collaborate with local wineries or a local brewery to organize beer and wine tastings. This can draw in enthusiasts and help showcase your restaurant's commitment to quality pairings.
Wine-tasting events are always fun, and you could offer a free meal to go alongside the tasting (included in the ticket price). Offering tastings is also a great way to showcase new beverages that your restaurant stocks, which can help you boost drinks sales on these products in the future.
Arrange cooking workshops where participants can learn to prepare signature dishes from your restaurant. This can foster a sense of community and loyalty among attendees. It’s also a fun way to showcase your restaurant’s food and get new customers interested in what your restaurant serves.
Cooking classes are a great way to fill up quiet times in your restaurants. For example, you could host cooking workshops in the morning if your restaurant usually operates at night. You could also make this an ongoing event, where participants sign up for a weekly cooking class.
Live Music or Entertainment Nights
This is always one of the best restaurant event ideas for any kind of venue.
Host live music performances, stand-up comedy nights, an open mic night, or other forms of entertainment that create a fun atmosphere. These events keep your regular customers coming back for more and help you attract new customers.
You could team up with a local musician to offer weekly entertainment, or you could try to book popular acts once-off and attract huge crowds. Whatever the case, these events will help you get more feet through the door while boosting food and drink sales on the night.
Promote the event online and via local media, like your local radio station, to generate some buzz.
If you’re passionate about local produce and your suppliers, then this is a great restaurant event idea.
Collaborate with local farmers to create a special farm-to-table dining event.
Highlight the freshness and sustainability of your ingredients to appeal to environmentally conscious diners. This gives your diners a chance to get to know where their food comes from and what makes the quality of your ingredients so good.
You could also create a special menu for these events, giving guests a chance to taste unique food offerings from your chef.
Organize brunches centered around holidays, seasons, or pop culture themes. This can attract families, friends, and brunch enthusiasts looking for unique experiences.
This is one of the most popular restaurant event ideas as brunch always feels like a special occasion - so new customers will be excited to join you. If your restaurant usually only operates at night, hosting a weekly (or monthly) brunch service is an exciting way to bring more feet through your door.
Outdoor BBQ or Picnic Days
If your restaurant venue has an outdoor space, then use it to organize BBQ or picnic events. This can be a particularly successful event idea during warmer months, offering a casual, relaxed dining experience.
You could also combine a BBQ with other types of restaurant events, like holding live music or doing a beer-tasting event. This is a fun way to offer a casual experience in your restaurant space.
Celebrity Chef Collaborations
If you’ve got the connections, you could invite renowned chefs for one-off collaborative dinners. Hosting a well-known guest chef can create a buzz around your restaurant and attract food enthusiasts eager to experience something special.
It also showcases your restaurants as a go-to food destination, which will help you to attract more new customers looking for amazing dining experiences.
Loyalty Program Celebrations
Offering a restaurant loyalty program is always a good idea for keeping your customers coming back. One excellent way to enhance your loyalty program is through regular loyalty events.
Host exclusive events for your loyal customers as a way to thank them for their continued patronage. This can reinforce customer loyalty and encourage repeat business. It also gives you a chance to develop a stronger network of regular customers, who can socialize and feel like they’re part of a special community.
Big Holiday Events
Mark off any major holidays on your calendar and use them for restaurant event ideas.
For example, you could host a Christmas party, a New Year’s Eve bash, a Halloween party, a Valentine's Day dinner, and so on. People are always looking for special event experiences during these dates, so focusing on these events can help your restaurants gain a lot more visibility.
This is one of the best restaurant event ideas to attract new crowds of professionals.
Consider holding networking sessions at your restaurants, where professionals in different industries can get together and network. This could be done through coffee mornings, business lunches, or networking evenings.
You could combine this with other event ideas - like hosting a guest speaker or offering a food-tasting event alongside the networking. Not only will it bring new customers into your restaurant, but it could showcase your restaurant as the perfect setting for business meals.
Cocktail Making Nights
This is one of the most fun restaurant event ideas for a hands-on experience.
Consider hosting a cocktail-making evening, where guests can socialize, enjoy your restaurant’s food, and try new drinks. Introduce guests to cocktail basics, and offer them interactive cocktail-making lessons.
You could combine this with a free meal included in the ticket, or offer a food tasting while guests make cocktails.
Weekly Trivia Nights
Weekly trivia nights are a fun way to attract customers to your restaurant space while offering a sociable and relaxed experience. This usually works best in bars, but any kind of restaurant could host these events.
Get a quiz master to host a trivia night, and reward the winning team with a free meal, or any other relevant prize. You could combine this event with a special menu to give guests even more reason to join.
Hosting charity events is always a fantastic way for restaurants to attract new customers and create greater brand awareness.
These events are when you use your restaurant space for fundraising for a local charity. They might not always be the most profitable restaurant event ideas, as you end up sacrificing profits for charitable donations.
However, charity events help your restaurant show support for your local community - which is a great way to build up a base of loyal customers.
If your restaurant is usually quite upmarket, it could be a fun idea to host family-style food nights.
This makes your restaurant more casual for a day and helps you attract customers who wouldn’t normally frequent your restaurant. You could combine this event with entertainment - like a local comedian or invite local musicians to perform.
Big sports matches are always a good opportunity to host a restaurant event.
A sports event could be as simple as showing the game on a big screen while you serve your regular menu. Or, you could offer a special themed menu for the night, and continue the night’s entertainment with local musicians after the game.
Restaurant owners could display a local artist’s work in their space, turning the restaurant into a kind of pop-up art gallery. You could do this on special occasions, or just keep an ever-changing display of art up on the walls.
This is one of the best restaurant event ideas to keep your restaurant interesting, as you get to offer something new to guests without putting in too much effort. You could also auction off the artwork, which could align with another event you host - like a charity event or wine or food tastings.
Using the right restaurant event ideas could open up new opportunities for your restaurant business growth. As a restaurant owner, it’s always a good idea to try different event ideas and see how your guests enjoy them. Once you find the right event, it could make a big positive impact on your business.
If you’re running events in your restaurant space, then you should be using an event management platform to streamline your operations. Try Perfect Venue for free to see how much it can help you grow your restaurant business.