Super Bowl Sunday Restaurant Tips

Arguably America’s favorite unofficial holiday, Super Bowl Sunday is in just two short weeks. Millions of people will be tuning in, either at home or at a bar, to cheer on their favorite teams or just enjoy the commercials. Last year, 103 million viewers were watching the event, which pales in comparison to the amount of food consumed on the day. Statistics show that over 1 billion wings are consumed, 4 million pizzas eaten, and 50 million cases of beer cracked open on game day.

If you’re a pub, grill, sports bar, pizza parlor, or sandwich shop, you should be prepared for an influx of in-house diner and delivery orders on February 3rd. We’re giving you tips on how you can prepare for a profitable Super Bowl Sunday at your business.

football with football players in the background

Offer Specials

Let’s face it, people are always looking for a good deal. Especially when it comes to special events, consumers tend to do research ahead of time to find the perfect spot to celebrate. You need a differentiating factor that will help you stand out from other local pubs and restaurants. A great way to appeal to guests is to offer hard-to-beat Super Bowl Specials.

Two for One or Buy-One-Get-One Free

Buy-one-get-one concepts work well because people feel like they’re getting more bang for their buck. Plus, Super Bowl fans will most likely be coming with fellow sports fanatics to watch the game. Offer the two for one discount on different items, like draft beer, baskets of fries, or slices of pizza. If friends open up one tab, they can take advantage of the deal together and feel like they’re getting a great discount.

Discounted Pitchers

friends watching super bowl game laughing and doing cheers with beer

Large parties will benefit from pitchers of beers, soft drinks, and other beverages. It’s a cost-effective way to quench the thirst of the crowd. With the Super Bowl game lasting a few hours, people will be looking for refills throughout the night. Instead of ordering one drink at a time, pitchers help keep the party going; pitchers also reduce frequency of your waitstaff having to run to tables for refills.

Beat the Clock Deals

Why not add more fun and games to an already entertaining event? With Beat the Clock, you can increase prices on participating items with each hour. This will inspire guests to get there early and start placing orders. Whether you choose to increase draft beer prices by fifty cents every hour, or increase the price of a bucket of wings by one dollar every sixty minutes, this event will raise the stakes and create some urgency.

football field with players running and large crowd

Game-Determined Discounts

Although the commercials and halftime show add to the revelry, the main event is the football game itself. Get involved by offering discounts based on the current status of each quarter. If one team is in the lead, offer 50% off a certain beer of your choice. Choose another brand of beer to discount for the opposing team’s victory. You can even include food items in the deal. Let’s say the Kansas City Chiefs make it to the Super Bowl – offer a discount on BBQ wings if they’re winning after the first quarter.

If you’re in a city of a Super Bowl team, create a special game day menu with the most well-known items from your region. Even if you’re not, you can create a menu that has signature food items from both cities.

Hand Out Prizes and Offer Games

Prizes

people sitting with football gear helmets and football

Super Bowl Sunday is all about fun and games, so create your own. Put together gift baskets or hand out gift cards to the person with the most festive fan gear. Make things interesting by awarding one lucky winner a mystery prize at the end of every quarter. If you want to make the crowd more rowdy, partner with a beverage company and hand out some swag. Throwing free t-shirts and towels into the crowd will increase the energy during breaks and commercials.

Games

two people playing mini foosball at restaurant

Let’s face it, not everyone is interested in the Super Bowl. Still, that doesn’t mean they can’t come to your restaurant or bar for a fun time. Designate an area for games, like giant Jenga, cards, and indoor cornhole (if space permits). Friends can gather around for some friendly competition and keep the party going.

Marketing

To get the best turnout, market all of your Super Bowl Sunday restaurant offerings ahead of the game. Make a splash on your social media pages, update your website to include any prizes, special events, or discounts, and send out an email to your mailing list about the event. The more eyes you can get on your event before it happens the better.

In your email communications, give customers a chance to receive a free drink or appetizer. Just let them know that if they show their server the email, they can receive a beer or select appetizer of their choice. This can also help you gauge readership of your restaurant’s emails.

Gear Up for Delivery

people eating take out pizza and drinking soda

Some people would much prefer to watch the game on their TV at home than in a crowded bar or restaurant. But, that doesn’t mean they won’t be hungry! Online orders have grown 300% faster than in-house dining traffic in recent years and aren’t projected to slow down. Do you have a solid strategy for fulfilling online orders, along with traditional take-out calls, and a full dining room? Dedicated delivery apps, like Seamless and Caviar, can help you with operations and transactions. To learn more about them, check out our blog on online ordering tech.

Delicious Food to Their Doors

As Super Bowl Sunday nears, don’t forget to consider the customers that will be ordering takeout meals. Consider creating Super Bowl specials like large meal deals and party packs. As mentioned above, people host parties and invite family and friends over to enjoy the game; they’ll be looking for value on food and drinks in order to feed large crowds.

Popular packs include wings, pizzas, and appetizers for one competitive price. Throw in a few liter bottles of soda to sweeten the deal and give customers more for their money. If you have an offer they can’t refuse, people will keep you in mind for future Super Bowl festivities.

Inspire Feedback

If you’re delivering food to homes, consider adding some restaurant collateral with the receipts. You can hand out information cards that have your social media handles, website, phone number, and address. Use this to also ask customers to leave reviews online in order to build up your online reputation. Consider throwing in some coupons, like 10% off their next meal, to inspire repeat business.

Some people also love good old fashioned paper menus, so include one on every delivery. Next time, they may just call you on the phone to place an order so you don’t have to worry about fees charged by a middle man.

In Closing

fully stocked bar with spirits and liquor

In order to score a touchdown at your bar or restaurant this Super Bowl Sunday, you need to prepare ahead of time. Think about your discounts and offers for the day, decide if you want to host a special event or hand out prizes, and keep delivery orders in mind. Along the way, remember to post on social media and other marketing channels to get the word out as much as possible before February 3rd.

What are your business’ plans for Super Bowl?

3 Winter Brunch Ideas to Use at Your Restaurant

Brunch. Do your ears perk up just from hearing the word? This bridge between breakfast and lunch is a weekend dream and a popular social outlet for friends to catch up over eggs and mimosas. If your restaurant offers a brunch option, you already know it’s a great way to rake in some extra profit before the weekend dinner rush.

But, just like anything else in your restaurant, you want to keep your brunch fresh and exciting to inspire repeat business. We’re giving you three winter brunch ideas to use at your restaurant this season.

The History of Brunch

outdoor restaurant with customers ordering brunch

Before we dive into some winter brunch ideas, I’ll give a brief history of how brunch got its start. According to the Smithsonian Magazine, brunch began as a way for families and friends to convene for a meal after church. The phrase “brunch” was first seen in print around 1895, and was described as cheerful, sociable, and exciting (which still rings true today).

Brunch rose to greater popularity in the 1930s when Hollywood’s elite stopped along their train routes for a midday meal. And then, after World War II, it became an activity of respite for both men and women, as more women joined the workforce during the war.

Despite the time period, it’s clear that brunch has always been seen as a way to gather with friends and family, to enjoy a lighter meal, and to take a break from an otherwise busy work week.

And although the brunch rush may be tough to pull off for restaurant workers just coming off of a busy Saturday night, it is a popular treat for consumers who are willing to pay for the experience. Plus, as mentioned, it’s a great way to bring in additional revenue to your restaurant.

Winter Brunch Ideas

Alright, now that we’ve covered the history, let’s dive into the ideas! How can you warm up your brunch offerings for winter? Here are three ways:

Introduce New Menu Items Inspired By Cooler Temperatures

butternut squash soup with bread in a bowl

Releasing new menu items gets your customer base excited to try new things. Quarterly changes to your offerings help to keep your brand fresh and allows you to incorporate seasonal ingredients. Although you may have core brunch items you want to keep year-round, like a signature omelette or classic pancakes, try swapping a few dishes out for something more winter-focused.

A warm oatmeal bowl filled with hearty fruits and grains is a healthy option to include for the colder months. French toast with a winter compote of pomegranate and mascarpone puts a new twist on a classic breakfast order. And to incorporate lunch items, introduce a new soup and sandwich combination with classic flavors like tomato bisque paired with a turkey and cranberry club, or an Italian wedding soup with a pesto chicken panini.

To sweeten the brunch deal, you can even throw in a free offering to each table. A warm loaf of bread or basket of muffins can help appetize your guests and give them a glimpse of the deliciousness that will come next. Plus, it’s a low-cost way to provide more value to the meal.

Swap Mimosas and Bloody Marys for Winter Warmers

wooden table with cider and coffee on display

Okay, maybe you don’t want to get rid of the classic brunch cocktails completely, but add a few more to the list that are season-specific. If you serve bonafide brunchers, they’re probably tired of drinking traditional mimosas each week. Keep your loyal clientele engaged and excited. Change it up with a pomegranate champagne punch, a hot toddy, or some mulled wine to soothe the soul. These flavors won’t appeal to everyone’s palette, but you still have your tried and true backups to satisfy the rest of the crowd.

Punches and ciders are great for bottomless brunches because they can be batched ahead of time and served quickly. With table turns and a limited time frame in mind, you want to be as efficient as possible. Plus, no guest likes an empty glass, especially when they’re being timed.

When it comes to non-alcoholic brunch beverages, entice diners with winter specials like peppermint mocha lattes, spiced chai teas, and fun milkshakes like marshmallow and dark chocolate. With enough variation, there’s something appealing for everyone.

Bonus Tip: If you already have a loyalty program, consider making brunch part of it. For every weekend brunch attended, your guests can get points. After a certain amount gained, they can enjoy a free brunch entree on you!

Entertain the Crowd

live band performing at a restaurant

Introducing new types of entertainment keeps customers engaged during the meal. This varies with each restaurant concept, of course, but there’s sure to be something to fit every atmosphere. People who are dining out want the full experience, not just a simple meal. And attending brunch definitely proves that. Guests don’t just join you because they want a few eggs; they come for the unique menu offerings, the ambiance, and the chance to get together with family and friends.

You can take your brunch to the next level by securing recurring entertainment. Scour the surrounding area for an impressive local band and feature them throughout the winter. Maybe you want to make your brunch a DIY craft gathering; invite guests to make a different take-home treasure each week, like a wall painting, a planted pot for spring, or a signature winter cocktail with a recipe card. Something that they can bring home with them will help them remember the awesome time they had at your restaurant.

DIY flower jars with potted plants

If you’re a family-focused establishment, consider hiring a children’s entertainer, balloon-maker, or caricature artist. If you’re a sports bar or a brew pub, make sure the sought-after weekend sports games are streaming. On the higher end of fine dining? A simple cellist or pianist can help set the tone.

Even something as simple as a brunch raffle to win a restaurant gift card or branded item basket can get your crowd excited about your restaurant. Ask all brunch attendees to throw a name and email address into a hat. Announce the winner via email each week. This is a great way to stay engaged with your guests after the meal.

In Closing

aerial view of a brunch spread with juice pancakes eggs and chicken and waffles

Brunch is a popular meal with a long history. And it’s also a great way to earn some extra profit during an otherwise slow time of day. If you offer brunch at your restaurant, you should always think of ways to keep it fresh and appealing. Whether it’s a new seasonal menu or incorporating creative entertainment during the meal, there are plenty of ways to keep customers coming back for brunch.

5 Holiday Preparation Tips for Your Restaurant

‘Tis the season for more restaurant business – whether it’s a company holiday party or just a celebration among friends, your restaurant will probably be experiencing an uptick in busyness in the coming weeks.

Although it’s a positive to bring in more customers and higher profit, it’s also wise to be prepared for the rush.

To get you in the spirit, and to prepare you for a busy season, we give you 5 holiday tips to incorporate into your restaurant strategy.

1. Make Your Staff Schedule & Check It Twice

Santa’s making his list, and you should too. Plan ahead when it comes to staffing for the holidays. Plenty of people will be requesting off for travel and hoping for earlier hours, so make sure you’re ready to roll throughout the season.

If you’re old school like Mr. Claus, you may still be using a pen and paper to write out daily schedules. This is both time-consuming and unreliable – it’s easy to lose a paper schedule and forget when your shift begins.

Utilizing a staff scheduling tool will help to make your operations easier and will keep employees informed about when they’re expected to work. If an employee needs the day off, they can request it easily through the system and wait for approval on an app.

Plus, with the app capabilities, any changes in your schedule will be reflected in real-time, ensuring everyone is in-the-know about last minute changes. Learn more about employee scheduling tools at 7shifts.com.

2. Make Sure Your Cupboards Are Fully Stocked, But Not Overloaded

There would be tons of disappointed kids on Christmas if Santa Claus forgot to load his sleigh with toys. And you’d have some hungry customers on your hands if you forgot to fully stock your kitchen with necessary ingredients.

Making sure your inventory ready for an influx of customers is key – and you can check your levels with the help of a point of sale inventory tool, like Toast. Utilizing a tool within your point of sale system again eliminates the need for pen and paper or convoluted spreadsheets.

Plus, inventory reports will give you a clear picture about your food cost and waste, helping you make better informed decisions. Although you want to make sure you have all the ingredients needed to serve your customers, you don’t want to throw out rotten food or unused goods because you ordered too much. Learn more about the benefits of a POS here.

If you’re introducing a seasonal menu, you’re probably using in-season ingredients, like those we mentioned in a previous blog. Keep tabs on the availability of these items, which could be compromised by weather conditions or other outlying factors. For example, there’s currently an avocado shortage, which is proving to be a challenge for Mexican restaurants and other businesses that rely on avocados for many recipes.

If you do in fact find out there is a pomegranate or clementine shortage, you’ll have to improvise and make menu adjustments to substitute the ingredient in your recipes.

3. Make Your Guests Feel At Home With Holiday Decor

‘Tis the season for decorating! The days are cold and the nights are long, it’s the time of year when most people opt for ordering in instead of dining out. Although you probably (or should) have a plan in place for online ordering and delivery, you still want guests to come through your decked out doors in the winter months.

An inviting, cheerful ambiance will help to inspire diners to join you. I know I’m partial to sitting home by my Christmas tree during December, but going to a place that’s draped in holiday cheer might just get me off the couch.

Show off your own personal style by incorporating holiday decor that suits you and your restaurant. Hanging lights, a tree, and some ornaments can liven up your space without breaking the bank. Something as simple as a festive place setting can make a subtle impact.

Rolf’s German Restaurant in New York City takes holiday decor to the next level and is well-known for their over-the-top Christmas displays.

  Rolf’s
Rolf’s

Although this may be a little extreme for your establishment, you can take some cues and put your own spin on holiday cheer.

For example, the Refinery Rooftop is more, well, refined. Simple string lights and a few sprigs of greenery immediately transform the space into a winter wonderland.

  via In Good Company
via In Good Company

Whatever decor you choose, make sure it keeps with the theme and atmosphere of your restaurant. And of course, make it merry.

4. Ensure Your Staff is Merry & Bright

Having disgruntled Grinches as employees won’t heed great feedback from your customers.

The season is about happiness and merriment, so make sure your staff is putting their best foot forward throughout their shift. You should have greeters welcoming each guest, attentive waitstaff ready to answer questions, and a well-oiled system for getting food out fast, not only to please guests, but to efficiently turn tables.

Creating a solid company culture can help inspire your staff to be at the top of their game. Make sure that seasonal employees are well-trained, call frequent staff meetings to ensure everyone is on the same page, and keep everyone updated on any new seasonal menus or bar items. The better informed your employees are, the better the guest experience will be.

Show your employees you care by hosting a holiday gathering or putting on a Secret Santa event. Making work fun is a way to increase staff positivity and loyalty, and it’s great for your company culture.

5. Give the Gifts That Keep on Giving

Of course you want to fill seats at your restaurant during the holidays, but what about after the trees are taken to the curb and the string lights are put in the attic? The winter months following the end of the holiday season are quite dismal, but you should strive to keep business alive during that time.

Think of ways to encourage repeat business after the holidays – gift cards are a great way to do this. People are always looking for present ideas for family members, friends, and co-workers. A gift card to their favorite restaurant (yours, of course), is a more personal option than just a generic gift card or cash. You get the profit ahead of time, and the recipient gets to enjoy a delicious meal.

Don’t offer gift cards? There are other ways to get customers to come back. Ask them to sign up for your email mailing list to receive exclusive offers and coupons throughout the year – if diners hear they can get free stuff or discounts, they’ll be more willing to give you their contact information. This is email collection is a great addition for your marketing efforts.

Keep the holiday high going by releasing an event series for the happenings you plan on hosting in early 2019. Get patrons excited about what’s to come in the new year so they can mark their calendars ahead of time.

In Closing

The holidays are here – is your restaurant prepared? There are plenty of ways you can set yourself up for seasonal success and ride on the high of holiday revelry.

From tasteful decor to checking inventory levels, make sure your restaurant is properly prepared for the most wonderful time of the year.

Find Restaurant Success This Thanksgiving Weekend

Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on what we’re most grateful for, to be with family, and to introduce the upcoming holiday season. It’s a notable time of year for many people, and some argue it’s their favorite holiday all year. The days following Thanksgiving have, in recent times, become part of the holiday weekend celebration. Black Friday is the largest shopping day of the year, followed by Small Business Saturday, which allows local businesses to shine.

As a restaurant owner, you have many opportunities to take advantage of these three days. Read on for ways to find restaurant success this Thanksgiving weekend.

Thanksgiving

Let’s start with the official holiday that will be taking place on November 22nd. Thanksgiving, besides being focused on family and friends, puts food as the focal point. Some families choose to serve a home cooked meal, but others opt to skip the fuss and dine out. It’s expected that 1 in every 10 adults will take their turkey day celebrations to the restaurant dining floor.

If you’re offering a Thanksgiving menu this holiday, you should already be making your customers aware of it. By now, you should have a solid list of reservations and should turn your focus to staffing, food supply, and the overall flow of the day.

Posting your Thanksgiving-exclusive menu online will help guests get acquainted with their options and ensures you’re reaching a wider audience looking to dine out on the day.

When it comes to the service on Thanksgiving, you should plan ahead and train your staff accordingly. If you have any specials for the day, brief all servers ahead of time. Get them acquainted with your holiday-specific desserts and drinks as well so they can upsell during the meal. Make sure you have enough people on staff to handle the crowds and plan for any last-minute call-outs.

Your guests have chosen to celebrate the holiday at your restaurant – and Thanksgiving is all about being grateful after all. Let your customers know that you’re appreciative of their business by giving them a little something extra. You can create take-home goodie bags for children or offer a discount coupon for the next meal. You can even serve a complimentary dessert to each table. Giving back shows that you’re thankful for the patronage and inspires customer loyalty.

If you want to get extra-creative, prepare your guests for their Black Friday shopping sprees by offering a to-go cup of coffee. If you have time, get some disposable cups with your restaurant logo on it to serve the coffee in. What better way to spread the word about your business than having customers as walking advertisements?

Thanksgiving is a time for celebration, reflection, and of course, food. It’s a golden opportunity to make your guests that are dining with you on November 22nd feel welcome. Go above and beyond their expectations to make the holiday truly special.

Black Friday

Millions of people brave the cold weather in early morning hours to score some Black Friday steals. Although your restaurant probably won’t be opening at midnight like some of the big box stores, you can be the fuel to get shoppers through the mid-day shopping slump. In fact, the most popular shopping time on Black Friday isn’t in the wee hours, but instead at 4pm. Prime time for you!

Statistics show that 174 million people hit the stores during Black Friday weekend. As a restaurant, you can join in on the fun. Offer discounted lunch meals and BOGO coffee deals to delight hungry and tired customers. Want to make it more interesting? Host a “beat the clock” event, where your prices on select food and drink items increase at the top of each hour. Market this ahead of time on social media to inspire people to visit you.

Bonus Tip: Make sure your gift cards and other items for purchase are on display at your registers and hostess station.

Online Shopping

The truth is, more and more people are turning to online shopping to complete their holiday purchases. It’s much easier to wake up and walk to your laptop than to travel to a shopping mall! Although the official online shopping day is on Cyber Monday, the sales typically start earlier and earlier each year. In 2016, people spent $3 billion on online purchases on Black Friday alone!

This cyber-shopping phenomenon doesn’t have to hurt your business. The shoppers still need their fuel. Offer discounts on delivery or special Black Friday-only coupons to be applied to online orders. Delivering meals right to these shoppers doors ensures they won’t miss a beat (or a sale).

Small Business Saturday

Created in 2010 by American Express, the goal of Small Business Saturday is to give local businesses and purveyors a chance to shine. Big box, commercial chain stores take center stage on Black Friday & Cyber Monday, and American Express knew there needed to be a day to honor the thousands of small businesses that exist across the country.

As a small business owner, this is the perfect time to get involved in your community and take advantage of the day. Promote the hashtag #smallbusinesssaturday on your social media channels before November 24th and keep your followers informed on any offers or discounts you’ll have.

You may want to consider discounting gift card purchases (or adding an additional coupon to every gift card purchase), discounting any other items you sell at your restaurant (food items, cookbooks, swag), or donating a percentage of every meal to a cause you care about. It’s the perfect time to give back to your customers, and your community, while marketing your local business.

Get involved with other local businesses and find opportunities for a partnership. This cross-marketing effort can help you spread brand awareness and create a community alliance. Maybe a local boutique is hosting a sale on Saturday – be there to sell coffee and snacks to shoppers. You can also hand out free swag items, like pens or mugs, with your logo on it. This is a great way to keep your restaurant’s name top-of-mind.

In Closing


Thanksgiving is around the corner, and following the holiday is a weekend full of fun and holiday season preparations. You can make the most out of each day by planning ahead, getting creative with your offerings, and most importantly, showing your gratitude toward your loyal customers.

Creating an inviting atmosphere to dine in on Thanksgiving, providing the energy hungry shoppers need on Black Friday, and bonding with your community and fellow local businesses on Small Business Saturday, are all ways to find even more restaurant success for the holiday weekend.

Have any of your own unique ideas for the holiday weekend? Comment below! 

Should Your Restaurant or Bar Host an Oktoberfest Event?

It’s that time of year again. High-spirited diners and drinkers will be dusting off their Lederhosen for Oktoberfest celebrations. Taking place during September and October, the German revelry has become part of America’s party culture.

Should your restaurant host an Oktoberfest event?

The History

 Via Muenchen.de Via Muenchen.de

The official Oktoberfest is a 16-18 day festival held yearly in Munich, Germany. The celebration got its start in 1810 and now attracts more than six million people from around the world. It usually begins in mid-September and the party rages on for over two weeks.

Traditional Oktoberfest celebrations included horse races, but those became obsolete in 1960.

In modern times, the focus is on the festival. When it comes to food and drink, the centerpieces of Oktoberfest are German beer, bratwurst, and pretzels. Live music and polka dancing provide entertainment, and contests like stein holding competitions keep guests engaged.

The American Adaptation

 Via USAToday Via USAToday

We couldn’t just let Germany have all the fun! Americans have made our own versions of Oktoberfest celebrations, taking place in the same timeframe as the original. Major cities like New York, Cincinnati, and San Francisco host their own versions of the rowdy event. According to the Insider, some of the most authentic events in the U.S. take place in Frankenmuth, Michigan, Salt Lake City, Utah, and Fredericksburg, Texas.

Some take place in large halls or open fields, while some restaurants choose to host their own events. Regardless of where it takes place, you can guarantee there will be plenty of German beer flowing and European fare being consumed.

Should You Host One?

Events are great for attracting large crowds and making bigger profits. But, should your restaurant consider hosting an Oktoberfest event? We weigh in.

It Depends on Your Concept

This one is pretty obvious. We just can’t see an Italian fine dining establishment throwing an all-out German bash. But, you don’t need to be a German pub or restaurant to get in on the fun.

Sports bars, casual grills, and even Irish pubs and other drinking holes can consider hosting their own versions of Oktoberfest.

Zum Schneider on the East River in New York City has been putting on their own Oktoberfest event for five years. Guests are required to buy tickets for a select date within the ten day celebration period.

 Via Zum Schneider Via Zum Schneider

The restaurant describes their celebration as “an unforgettable and traditional Munchen Oktoberfest experience.” There is a decorated tent, original Oktoberfest beers, and traditional food as well as music and games.

Although not German, Bull McCabe’s Irish Pub in Durham, NC also throws a biergarten bash. Contrary to the sixteen day tradition, Bull McCabe’s event is only on one day, but still boasts traditional elements like beer, food, and music.

If you believe your restaurant or bar concept is capable of hosting an Oktoberfest event, you may want to consider it.  It’s a smart way to draw in large crowds who are willing to purchase tickets, sometimes even just for entrance with nothing else included in the fee. From there, they will be purchasing food and drink to help get the party started.

Consider the Food, Drink, and Entertainment

In order to make your celebration authentic, you should have the authentic German cuisine and beverages people will be looking for. Hofbrauhaus Munchen and Radeberger are a couple of the popular German brands of beer typically served. Do you already serve those brands? If not, can you get enough of those brands to keep the drinks flowing? How much will it cost you?

If large pretzels, bratwurst, and schnitzel aren’t a part of your regular menu, you’ll want to consider whether or not you’ll be serving it.

Having German food isn’t necessarily a requirement, but it boosts the authenticity of the event. And some die-hard Oktoberfest goers may be upset not to see their favorites on the menu.

When it comes to food, you could consider bringing in external vendors to serve up the sausage and Schweinebraten. This way, you can give some authenticity to the event and continue to also serve your usual menu. Of course, you’ll have to calculate the cost of bringing in vendors and decide if it makes sense based on the profits you project to make.

Delight revelers by consider the entertainment you’ll be providing. Will you bring in a live band or play traditional Oktoberfest tunes from a laptop or smartphone playlist? Weigh your options when it comes to entertainment.

Folk music and polka dancing are reminiscent of the original Oktoberfest celebrations and can help liven up the affair. You can even incorporate games and contests.

Decide whether or not you want to charge an additional fee for contest entrance and let guests know about all additional costs.

Think About the Aftermath

Unlike a typical busy dinner time rush, Oktoberfest may require more clean-up than you’re used to. Do you have the manpower and time to ensure your restaurant or bar will be in tip-top shape for the next day of business?

When it comes to transportation, you may want to team up with some local cab companies to provide rides for attendees.

Uber Events also allows you to purchase ride passes for a specific event. Guests will then have access to an event-specific code that is good for a discounted or free ride. Let guests know that the option is available and encourage ride-sharing.

Although you want your customers to have a great time, it’s also important for them to get home safely when the party’s over.

In Closing

Oktoberfest is a traditional German celebration that is steeped in history and provides a ton of fun to attendees. If your restaurant or bar concept is fitting for the event, consider hosting one of your own. Feel free to put your own spin on it and create your own traditions, but incorporate some of the authenticity that makes it one of the most popular and boisterous events of the year.

You Need These Restaurant Event and Promotion Ideas to Win More Business this Football Season

Whether you’re excited or not, football season is official back in America. After last week’s kickoff, games are in full swing and fans are in full celebration mode. If you’re running a sports bar or laid-back grill, this is the perfect opportunity to capitalize on the revelry.

We highlight restaurant event and promotion ideas that are perfect for football season.

Events

NFL Sunday Ticket

The most obvious, of course, is offering a place for rowdy fans to cheer on their favorite teams. Millions of Americans tune in each Sunday to watch their favorite teams play. Why not invite them to your place? Host an NFL ticket event each Sunday where you stream multiple games throughout the day. You can ask guests to pay a cover charge to access the live action but promise drink and food specials for select timeframes.

Make sure you market this event beforehand by sending out email blasts and doing some local paid advertising on social media. People will be looking for places to watch the game and you want to let locals know that your restaurant or bar is the place to be.

The Anti-Football Corner

Let’s face it, not everyone wants to sit around for hours and watch a sporting event. But, that doesn’t mean you don’t want them in your restaurant. Create a space for the non-sports enthusiasts to kick back and have a good time. You can offer a special menu for those who choose not to watch the game but still want to enjoy some good food and fun. Put some board games and icebreakers on tables to encourage group activity and let them pick the channel on the television. Football season can still be fun for everyone!

Make sure customers know you’re offering something for everyone by including this offering in your email newsletters and other marketing. Being inclusive and not just football-centric can help bring in larger crowds.

The After Party

The fun doesn’t have to stop when the last games end, keep guests around until closing time.  Release a “post-football” late night menu to keep guests ordering. Offerings can include fried food platters, beer pitcher specials, and dessert. Offer discounts on select food and drinks until closing time to keep the party going. You can even incorporate some fun post-football games like NFL trivia or bingo to keep guests engaged.

Promotions

Pick a Side Promotion

If you want to make things more exciting during the games, ask guests which team they’re rooting for upon arrival. Stamp their hands or give them a colored wristband based on the team they choose. If their team takes home the win, offer up a discounted drink or free appetizer for next time they visit.

If you incentivize guests with a prize that can be used later, they’ll want to come back next Sunday to redeem their winnings. Restaurants’ current customers spend 67% more than new customers, so you want this return business.

Right-Priced Platters and Buckets

Aside from the game, the most exciting part about football season is the food and drinks. Fan are looking for delicious things to drink and eat while they intently watch the screen. Create game day platters filled with football fan favorites like mozzarella sticks, wings, and potato skins. Shareable platters are perfect for large group events like these. Beer buckets are also great for game day. Offer deals on these platters and buckets to encourage more orders.

Referee Raffle for a Cause

Give guests a chance to enter into a contest to win a grand prize. Keep the raffle going for all of football season and choose a winner right before Super Bowl Sunday. And make it about charity! Ask participants to make a predetermined amount donation for a local charity with each ticket. Let guests know that they can enter once per visit; if they’re excited about the prize, they’ll be encouraged to come back multiple times in order to increase their chances to win.

The lucky raffle champion will receive an ultimate Super Bowl Sunday package, including everything they need to have a fun-filled celebration. The charity you select will also benefit from all the collected earnings.

Raffle basket item ideas include chips and dip, party noisemakers, promotional items from your restaurant (t-shirts, hats, and mugs), gift cards to other local businesses, and a gift card to your own restaurant.

If you want to take your raffle in a different direction, offer up a television as the grand prize ahead of Super Bowl Sunday. You can also provide runner-up prizes to two other guests.

**Before running a raffle, make sure you’re adhering to the laws of your state.

Plenty of people are pumped about the beginning of football season. The games have just begun and will be continuing on for a number of months, so use it as a chance to get more business!

Use marketing, events, and promotions to get famished fans into seats and stools. Keep them coming back all season with offers they can’t resist. Football is more than just America’s favorite game, it’s an opportunity for you to attract more guests and boost profits.

5 Restaurant Events to Host this Fall

Looking for some fresh ideas to bring in new customers this fall? Plan an autumn restaurant event! As summer winds down, people are returning from vacations, going back to school, and feeling an uptick in busyness at work. As everyone gets back into their routines, they’ll be looking for ways to take a break from their hectic schedules. Restaurant events can help take the edge off for them and bring in more business for you.

Below are 5 unique restaurant events you should consider hosting this autumn.

Fall Food and Wine Pairing

Nothing says autumn better than a hearty meal and robust wine to match. The summer beach body season has ended, so more people will be more willing to indulge than they were in the previous months.

Craft a creatively delicious fall menu with wine pairings for a prix fixe price. Appetizers, an entree, and dessert can be matched with complimentary drinks to create a memorable menu journey. Host the event on select nights and offer a limited amount of seating. This will encourage customers to purchase tickets in advance to secure a spot.

Is wine not a shining star of your restaurant concept? No problem. Change the narrative and make it a food and cocktail tasting event. Create autumn-inspired aperitifs to serve with your food selections. This will give guests a taste of your bar offerings for the season.

Local Taste Showcase

Are you surrounded by an agricultural goldmine? Know local farmers who sell product at the town market? Aware of a really great home-baker that hasn’t taken her talents to the next level? Host an event to pay homage to the talent that exists in your town. Reach out to these local businesses and individuals to purchase product from them. Utilize these ingredients in a special menu created for the event. Make sure that the menu descriptions showcase where the items were grown or who provided them.

Hosting an event of this kind is a great opportunity to get into the local press. You can also do some co-marketing efforts with the companies and people who get involved. Invite the contributors to dine at the event, and even mention them at some point in the night.

Being inclusive of others in your community helps to establish your presence within it. Utilize this event to build relationships with diners and contributors, and look for partnership opportunities for future endeavors.

Harvest Happy Hours

Happy hour is a common event at most bars and restaurants. And people love it! I consider myself somewhat of a happy hour connoisseur – I scour the area in search of them for a Friday night fix.

According to Statista, the top three reasons people attend happy hours because of food prices, drink prices, and because it’s an easy way to relax. Give your customers what they want! Offer great prices (while still considering your profit) on food and drinks and create a relaxing atmosphere for people to enjoy.

Something as simple as rebranding of an event can help you drive more business if you market it right. Maybe you switched up your specials for summer to offer more Mai Tais and Daiquiris and less cranberry and mint cocktails. It’s time to revamp the menu again to offer drinks and eats that people get excited about in autumn. Incorporating spiced elixirs and ingredients like pumpkin, apple, and cinnamon can entice those who are already in fall-mode.

Let customers know that you’ve introduced a new happy hour menu by posting on social media and updating your online menu. You can even make it a spotlight in your restaurant’s email newsletter. The more excitement you create will attract more eager people looking to eat, drink, and take the edge off.

Cozy Cooking Class

When the weather turns colder and the days get shorter, people look for ways to be entertained indoors. Draw in ambitious crowds by offering a cooking class. Host an autumn-inspired instructional that allows amateur cooks to create a memorable meal. Cooking classes are highly popular right now, so capitalize on the interest by having your own. Use recipes that are easy enough to teach to a large crowd, but still impressive enough for attendees to post on Instagram.

When it comes to executing the event, it’s wise to pick a time that’s usually slow for business. A mid-day class from 2-5pm could work well, or offering a weekend gathering from 10-1pm with a brunch how-to may make the most sense for your restaurant.

Encourage guests to post about the event to social media and tag your restaurant’s social channels. If you see an overwhelming success, consider putting on the event multiple times per year.

Murder Mystery Dinner

Things start to get a little eerie once October rolls around. Feed off this frightful revelry by hosting your own murder mystery dinner. Of course, you’ll want your food and service to be the spotlight of the event, but the element of thrill is sure to add a bit of excitement to the night.

Hire a crew that specializes in murder mystery to provide props, staff, and storyline. Charge guests a fee for the event that encompasses the experience and the food and drinks and make the menu fixed for the event to avoid any confusion or hiccups. Usually, murder mystery events are split into three acts, so you can serve a different course during each segment.

This event should be heavily pre-marketed to ensure you fill seats and sell out of tickets. Plan to start marketing at least a few weeks in advance of the planned date. This would be a great event to host around Halloween when people are in the spirit of spook.

In Closing

There are plenty of ways to drum up business in autumn, and hosting a unique event can help draw in large crowds looking for entertainment. Get creative when planning and executing your events in order to impress attendees. If you find success with the first event, you can host more in the future to keep bringing in additional business.

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