Boost Customer Footfall: event ideas for restaurants and other food businesses

Running a food service business will definitely keep you on your toes as you look for inspiration to keep customers happy. Hosting a cool event can mix things up. It's a fresh draw for your regulars and a magnet for new faces. Think seasonal, cultural, or local themes – they're perfect for amping up your usual routine, increasing footfall, and getting the word out about your unique spot.

Snack bar events

For smaller snack bars on a tighter budget, leverage what's already happening in your city. Capitalize on big exhibitions, city-wide celebrations, or local themes by adding a related menu item. If there’s a museum marketing push, for example, then consider adding a matching Italian/Spanish/French/ [insert exhibition theme here] special. For city-wide celebrations, consider themed dishes and a 'recovery menu special' for the following week. Prominently display these specials in your snack bar or on the menu to maximize visibility and encourage sales.

Café events

For medium-sized food businesses, think about hosting a cool indoors-or-outdoors local pop-up event with musicians and performers. Or again team up with existing events in your area for collaborative business combined with fun. Local areas usually get governmental budget for neighborhood events, and it could be good for promotion and business to create and serve the meal. Yor local council would have a full list of upcoming possibilities. Make sure you print up or display the promotional materials a few weeks before the event date.

Restaurant event ideas

For larger restaurants, use your busier evening hours to host events like open-mic nights or pub quizzes, especially on quieter nights. Different nights are popular with different audiences, a fun pub quiz can usually pull in a younger student crowd, whereas for an open-mic or comedy night the audience will probably be more mixed in age.

Promotion and restaurant marketing event ideas

For all your event plans, remember a few key points for success. Your food service location is your best ad space. Use it well to let everyone know what's happening and when. You should always factor in a marketing budget when you’re starting something new to help promote it where you can and make it success!

Staff preparation is key for any events

It’s wise to ensure your staff are both engaged and aware about any event you plan to put on. They should be trained in extra sales of your specials (which includes how to talk about it when taking orders at the table), what to do or how to handle customers if it becomes extra busy, and ideas to up their service productivity. Rest assured, if you get it right you should get some extra great reviews along the way from happy customers.

Vendor partnerships are essential in food events

For larger events, including city-based or cultural events, consider partnering with other suppliers to help reduce the outlay costs, and make sure there is even more choice for customers to enjoy. For example, in an Italian-themed event you could have a specially sourced Italian coffee, or an Italian beer to serve alongside your dish. It becomes win/win for both in the partnership.

Think about your event logistics and layout

Plan your event layout and logistics carefully, especially for smaller spaces. Ensure there's enough room for both regular service and new event sales as you don’t want one to encroach on the other. You will still want to serve your regular customers as well as attracting new ones around your event.

Get customer engagement and feedback

Engage with customers during the event and gather feedback. This can provide valuable insights for future events. Consider setting up a hashtag and put it on promotional materials, so you can see if anyone posts about it on their social channels. But apart from that, just do a walk around and talk to people to see what they’re enjoying and why.

Follow up restaurant event activities with data analysis

After the event, analyze its success based on foot traffic, sales, and customer feedback. Use these insights to improve future events and also to decide which ones you want to get involved with in the future.