Sales & Revenue

18 Restaurant Event Ideas That Will Leave Your Guests Hungry for More

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5 min read

Jun 13, 2023

18 Restaurant Event Ideas That Will Leave Your Guests Hungry for More

It’s a Friday night in London, and your guests have more than 14,000 options for places to eat and drink. How do you ensure they choose your venue? Give them a reason to join you by hosting an event they won’t want to miss.  

Restaurant events are a very effective form of marketing and one of the key ways that establishments can separate themselves in an overcrowded restaurant market like London. As a restaurant owner or marketer, it’s in your best interest to consider your own restaurant event ideas that get people in the door and separate your business from competitors. 

Not sure where to start? Here are 19 restaurant event ideas to spark your imagination and impress your guests.

How to Create a Restaurant Event Your Guests Will Love

Shaping the right event for your establishment requires thoughtful planning, self-awareness and appropriate marketing. Follow these important steps to execute a restaurant event successfully.

1. Know Who Your Guests Are

Successful marketing is all about understanding your target audience. Who are you trying to attract — and who is actually walking through your doors? 

Data is your superpower. Take advantage of it. Guest data such as visit history, food and beverage preferences and special occasion information (birthdays, anniversaries, etc.) can help you better understand who your guests are and what they’re interested in. 

Pro-Tip: SevenRooms restaurant CRM collects data about your customers as they dine with you and automatically builds robust profiles for every guest. Beyond understanding your restaurant’s demographics further, this useful data allows your team to brainstorm events crafted specifically for attendees.

2. Spread the Word

There’s an unfortunate assumption that if you build it, they will come. But in the competitive world of restaurants, that’s not really the case.

To get your restaurant event in front of potential attendees, you’ll need to incorporate digital marketing strategies. For example, our UK Industry Report found that 92% of Gen Z is willing to travel to see popular social media venues.

This means that well-marketed events are massive traffic and revenue opportunities — especially with young people ready to spend their expendable income for years to come. Start advertising with an event landing page, first.

A well-designed landing page with all the information about your event and restaurant is an easily marketable asset that you can use in conjunction with your website, email newsletters, and social media channels.

3. Add Pre-Pay Options

In overly crowded markets, restaurant events are an effective way to get people in the door — and predicting the number of guests to expect increases the likelihood of success. Restaurant operators can plan specifics for handling food, drinks, seating and staffing … if they leverage pre-pay options like ticketing or menu sales leading up to the event. 

Encourage guests to reserve their ticket and pre-pay by adding a direct link to your event landing page or reservation widget to your marketing materials. A pre-pay infrastructure can be built directly into the event landing page or reservation process. Moreover, when a guest pre-pays, they’re much more likely to actually attend the event.

Learn More: How to Upgrade Your Guest Experience & Grow Revenue with Online Payments

4. Follow-Up with Surveys

If you’re not analysing what you’re doing — well, what are you doing? 

The best restaurant marketers understand that an event doesn’t end when people leave and the dishes are washed. There’s still a chance for data to be gathered to improve your services. 

One way is to send an email after the event to gather feedback from your guests, or even chat with them on their next visit to the restaurant.

However, we’d recommend using surveys to gather this instrumental data. They’re simple, easy, and thorough — allowing guests the opportunity to offer actionable feedback. SevenRooms customer and guest feedback software gathers private guest feedback fast with automatic post-meal surveys. The survey captures an overall rating and encourages guest feedback on food, service and ambiance. 

FYI: Don’t forget to capitialise on the data you gathered leading up to this event, such as guest dining preferences, demographics and general interests. Store it, and then leverage the data in your email marketing campaigns to reengage them for future events and experiences. 

18 Restaurant Event Ideas 

Now it’s time to party. Here are some restaurant event ideas to fuel your creativity.

Food & Beverage Centred Restaurant Events

restaurant event masterclass116 PallMall’s champagne Masterclass dinner

1. Cooking or Cocktail-Making Classes

Show the community how it’s done and host a cooking or cocktail-making class. Here, your chef or bartender can not only display their talent and skills (a strong reflection of your restaurant as a whole), but it creates a fun environment. Guests can work with high-quality ingredients, learn new recipes and explore their interests with fellow foodies.

2. Beer Tasting or Wine Tasting

To get people in the door, host a tasting. Who doesn’t love to try a variety of their favourite beer, wine or spirit? Plus, not only is it a great chance to connect with the community, but this restaurant event showcases your establishment’s taste and curation. 

For example, 116 Pall Mall designed a series of Champagne Masterclass Dinners for all levels of wine lovers. They guide guests through a trio of tastings with an expertly paired four-course dinner.

4. Guest Chefs

restaurant event guest chefJames Kelly and Matt Reade, the exceptional duo at Lyle’s, London

Guest chefs mix it up and offer a fun, temporary deviation from your typical offers — a great way to add a little variety into your restaurant programming. 

Look at what Carousel did with No. 23, their casual counter-dining experience: They invited fellow London chefs James Kelly and Matt Reade from Lyles to do a pop-up on one Sunday afternoon in April, serving a simple but elegant seasonal menu. 

4. Exclusive Dinners for VIPs or Influencers

Turn-key private dining events are simple, easy and effective. A special prix-fixe event meal created for your VIPs or influencers is an excellent way to engage the community and generate a bit of buzz. One single price allows guests to experience your restaurant’s fine dining and culinary skills. 

Pro Tip: Although organic social media posting might happen with your guests, invite and partner with an influencer. That way you can guarantee your restaurant event is widely shared on social media.

5. Wine and Paint

We’ll just say it. Wine and paint nights are like catnip for millennials. Events like these allow guests to unleash their inner child while enjoying fine wine offerings in a fun and creative environment. (Not to mention they get a souvenir to bring home that will always remind them of the pleasant experience they had at your restaurant.)

6. Brunch!

Who doesn’t love brunch? And at this point, you’re leaving money on the table if your restaurant doesn’t offer a brunch menu modern diners crave. Allow this limited weekend offering to showcase the range that your restaurant can offer. Plus, if you’ve already got a good reputation for your food offerings, people will be excited to see your new menu. 

restaurant event brunchShanghai Brunch

Park Chinois, the iconic Chinese spot in London, transforms into Club Chinois every Saturday and offers Shanghai Brunch, an event featuring live performances from dancers, singers and cabaret performers.

7. Food Tours

London is a culinary mecca, offering a diverse range of cuisines and flavours. One restaurant event idea is for restaurant marketers to create their own food tour at their establishment. Craft a program that highlights stories about the city or neighbourhood’s past and present. If you’re feeling really creative, consider partnering with neighbouring bars or restaurants to create your own travelling food tour experience.

Calendar Restaurant Events

uk restaurant marketing calendar

Learn More: 2023 UK Restaurant Marketing Calendar

8. Holiday-Themed Dinners

This one is a no-brainer. From Valentine’s Day dinner to Halloween parties, holidays carry huge potential for restaurant owners. Give your guests a New Year’s celebration or Christmas feast that’s so memorable, they make it their yearly tradition. 

9. Family Days

Similar to holidays, family days like Father’s Day or Mother’s Day are revenue slam dunks for the restaurant industry. On these days, offer special menus for kids and adults and everyone in between, helping foster a relaxed family atmosphere. 

10. Sporting Events

Premier League Championship? World Cup? Wimbledon? These are huge opportunities for restaurant events because they happen regularly. Create a special appetiser menu and offer drink specials to keep people happy. If you don’t offer sporting event viewings on a regular basis — this is a smart way to show off the diversity of your space and create special occasions.

11. City Celebrations 

In the vibrant city of London, there’s always something happening. Pay attention to your neighbourhood or city event schedule, and create your own restaurant events to go with the programming. A potential guest might make their way to a block party on your street — and end up spending hours in your establishment, simply because they noticed your great drink special.

Themed Restaurant Events

restaurant event live musicA theme night at SUSHISAMBA

12. Live Music or Entertainment

Food and live music or entertainment — is there a better combination? YOPO in London hosts a live music session every other Thursday, showcasing up-and-coming musicians from London while offering their unique South American forward dishes and cocktails. Another example is SUSHISAMBA in London, who doubles down on entertainment. The exclusive venue offers unique programming such as disco nights, soul experiences and other eclectic options. 

FYI: Regularly scheduled and budget-friendly live entertainment such as open mic nights or stand-up comedy is an easy and effective way to drum up engagement with the community on slow nights. If it’s promoted well, your lacklustre Monday night might turn into one of your most profitable.

13. Weekly Trivia 

Trivia encourages fun and friendly competition, and helps generate activity on typically slow nights (for example, Tuesday is a common trivia night). Partner with a trivia host and create a great experience for your guests perfect for socialising, learning and eating.

14. Costume Parties or Theme Nights

How about a 1920s decade night? Or a tropical beach event? Or a silly hat party? Whatever the case, costume parties are an interactive experience for your guests. People get to pretend to be someone else for the evening — a night of unforgettable memories in your restaurant.

15. Karaoke Night

When in doubt, lean into the classics. Karaoke, a tried-and-true crowd pleaser, proves that deep down, there’s a rockstar in everyone. Host a karaoke night and encourage everyone to cut loose. You might learn that one of your regulars has a voice like Paul McCartney.

16. Game Night

Game nights don’t have the pressure of a costume party or trivia night, so guests can enjoy a casual evening of food and friendly competition. Encourage groups to hang out with their friends and play a board game while your team serves them snacks and refreshing drinks.

17. Networking Events

Tap into the professional development world and host networking events. Your restaurant can be a place where like-minded people meet and expand their networks, whether it’s tech, finance, the arts, or something completely different.

18. Movie Night 

If your venue can support an outdoor movie screen, consider hosting a low-key movie night for families. Create programming of contemporary or classic films while offering food and drink specials.

Experience Growth with These Great Restaurant Events 

Hosting well-planned restaurant events is a proven way to drive business. When done right, you positively impact the community, capture customer data, and create reasons for people to return to your restaurant in the future. Moreover, positive experiences create positive memories — and that’s the best kind of restaurant marketing

SevenRooms event management software helps restaurants create, market and measure the success of events and experiences. See how our platform ensures restaurant owners and marketers have a full grasp of their offerings and can pounce on any opportunities they might be missing. Book a demo today.

Event Marketing Frequently Asked Questions

What Attracts Customers to a Restaurant? 

Attracting customers to a restaurant starts with an enticing menu offering a range of flavours, dietary options and interesting and marketable dishes. Guests value customer service and will remember an attentive and knowledgeable staff. But think beyond food. Offer unique restaurant events, promotions, discounts or loyalty programs.

How Can Restaurants Increase the Number of Customers? 

Optimising a restaurant’s online presence is vital. This includes a well-designed website built upon a strong SEO foundation and a digital marketing program. Collaborate with local influencers and other establishments (such as local breweries or wineries) for omnichannel marketing. Event programming, such as live entertainment or special dinners, generates organic growth.

What Are Effective Marketing Strategies for Promoting a Restaurant Event?

Restaurant events provide opportunities for targeted promotion — and create memorable experiences for your guests. Depending on the type of event, there’s also a chance it might get covered by publications. These events can also turn your guests into marketers when they post on their personal social media accounts.

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