One of the best ways to increase your restaurant revenue is to offer private dining. Not only do guests consume more when they are a party to a private event, but it's a great source of reliable revenue since you will know your head count before the event. This will also allow you to order an appropriate amount of ingredients and have the right number of staff on hand. Plus- you can offer fixed per person options instead of having the same offerings as the dining room. Most clients will appreciate being able to control the cost and menu. If you do participate in the private dining market- here are a few helpful tips on how to make sure both you and your clients are satisfied with the outcome!
1. Make sure you include the right people in the private event meeting. Most restaurants have a manger or head caterer who is in charge of setting up private event contracts. This is usually the person who emails with and meets with the client. Then they generate a contract based on that specifications of the meetings, emails and conversations. But here's where it usually goes wrong- the person that is connecting with clients is not the person that will be at the restaurant while the clients event is being set up, nor will they be there when the event is taking place. This quickly becomes a burden for the client who has gone over the details with you for what seems like a million times and the staff on hand legitimately have no idea what the client is asking about. What cake table? What slideshow? You now have two legitimately confused and frustrated parties. There are a number of ways to prevent this issue but the simplest and quickest is to include one or two of the actual service professionals that will be on hand at the time of the event in the actual meeting with the client and head of catering or private events. What I usually hear is that this isn't possible because as the restaurant owner you don't know who will be working on the day of the event that is set to take place well over a month from now. That's totally fine. But, when you do figure it out, make it a point to have a confirmation meeting, not only confirming the details, but allowing the client to meet the head server and allowing the head server to understand first hand what needs to be done and what the clients expectations are.
2. Establish necessary limitations for additional vendors. Unless your client is booking a large space for a regular sit down dinner, they are more than likely celebrating something. With that, they are possibly going to have at least a couple vendors they are hoping to work with- a bakery for the cake, a florist for a few centerpieces, a rental company for some chargers and candlesticks. If you don't allow vendors to come in and set up- make sure you let the inquiring client know that from the beginning. If you do allow it, then make sure you communicate to the client in writing and verbally what the expectation are for the vendors they choose. It's best to ask for a final list of vendors at least a few days ahead of the event, and if time permits, you should call and confirm the timeline and services/products being performed, left and picked up
3. Follow up with clients. There's a good chance that a client wanting to host a birthday party, graduation celebration, or anniversary celebration at your restaurant is willing to come back and host another event at your restaurant- if you leave them with a good impression. There are a number of ways to make the end of the experience just as good as the beginning, but the easiest and quickest ways is to follow up with them after the event. Ask them how things could have been better, what was great, what wasn't? What met expectations? What didn’t? Not only will this help you make sure your private event dining remains popular and profitable- but it will give you good insight on how well your processes are working. Lastly, they will make the client feel like care about their experience and incentivize them to come back.
If you need help creating a private dining contract or want your existing contract reviewed then contact us to schedule a free phone consultation today!