There’s a pub down the street from where I live that I’m addicted to and it’s not because of the food.
Every week, they host musical bingo, a Cards Against Humanity Night, karaoke, and sometimes special locally sourced dinners. My friend Denise and I arrive every Thursday at 8 pm on the dot to play musical bingo. We’re there to hear the mix of disco, ‘80s hair bands, and ‘90s hip hop and to dance in our seats. And we’re there to win – we’re both really competitive and the prizes are gift certificates to the pub. I won twice one night so dinner was on me.
In short, I visit this pub because of the experience.
That’s what people are looking for right now. My Facebook feed is filled with stories about how people aren’t interested in buying things anymore. They want to spend money on experiences. And that trend has moved to the restaurant industry.
So what can you do as an event planner to make your restaurant stand out with experiences? Here are three ideas from Tripleseat customers:
1. Pair an event with a meal
Pinstripes – which offers a bistro, bowling, and bocce – does a great job of pairing experiences people are looking for with traditional meals. Their Facebook page lists events such as Brunch and Barre, Yoga and Brunch, paint nights, four course beer dinners, movie nights, and bowling nights where you can compete against teams from local breweries. Guests will be focused on the activity instead of the awkward silences at the dinner table.
2. Get active
Why go to the gym when you can exercise and grab a drink at the same place? Monday Night Brewing has figured out how to mix workouts and cocktails. Their Facebook calendar includes beer yoga, 5K and 10K races, and more. Partner up with local gyms, yoga studios, or running clubs, promote the event to both audiences, and watch the RSVPs roll in.
3. Host classes
A love of learning is something that never goes away, especially if you’re hooked on a certain topic or hobby, or want to try something new. Restaurants have tapped into this by offering classes on all kinds of things: paint nights, cooking classes, tastings, and the experience of doing what your venue does (such as winemaking, how to pair food and drinks, baking, or mixing cocktails). North By Northwest Restaurant & Brewery created a Beer School for customers who would like to learn more about how beer is made and want to become beer experts.
What experience will you create?
Try one of these trends or tap into some of the traditional experiences that have worked well (such as trivia, game nights, or musical bingo). Once your restaurant establishes itself as a gathering place where people can be social and make memories, you will become the go-to for a night out. As these events grow, think about using Tripleseat to manage your calendar and provide the best experience possible.