As the world is largely re-opened post-COVID, people are eagerly out and about dining in restaurants and bars to reinvigorate their social routines. According to Morning Consult, 77 percent of all polled adults are comfortable dining out at restaurants or cafes as of June 2022.
While there is a satisfactory level of comfort for patrons to return to in-person dining experiences, businesses should consider the dining experience as a whole – people crave togetherness in their social settings now more than ever. To capitalize on this, it is important for establishments to create experiences focused on gathering to match patron desires.
Businesses that create interactive experiences for patrons attract and retain customers. A fun social environment boosts food and drink sales due to customers staying longer, all while creating positive memories associated with an establishment. A space can elevate itself by implementing the following amenities that do not require downtime for construction or high capital investment.
Host a Speed Dating Event
COVID impacted everyone’s love life. Businesses should consider a singles night where everyone can mingle with others. A speed dating event is a fun and classic way to meet new people. Other options for designated singles nights could include themed nights based on niche interests like sports or music.
Turn up (or Down) the Music
Restaurants and bars should maintain a curated playlist that aligns with its vibe, atmosphere, and aesthetics. Managers ought to spend time developing thoughtful playlists in place of playing generic terrestrial radio for their patrons. A soft background soundtrack is best for a relaxing or fine-dining experience, whereas something louder would better fit a more energetic atmosphere – all depending on the space’s service style and aesthetic. Establishment supervisors, given more freedom, can consider the atmosphere the patrons themselves create and allow them to set the tone for the night using connected jukeboxes.
Make Your Bar the Spot for Trivia Night
Trivia brings out people’s competitive side like nothing else. An incentive-based activity like trivia gives customers a reason to come into a bar or restaurant. Owners can consider hosting trivia on a night that sees less business such as Monday or Tuesday to draw in more customers – choosing a weekly, bi-weekly, or even a monthly cadence for hosting. A gift card for the winner/winning team is a great incentive to guarantee return customers and draw excitement. Establishments that choose a theme ahead of time and advertise accordingly will drum up interest for patrons as well.
Present Quarterly Tasting Nights
A tasting menu offers an exclusive and exciting experience for all guests.
Establishments hosting a quarterly tasting event allows patrons to try the new flavors of the season with:
- Sample new menus: A preview trial for a rotating menu provides chefs and owners with a foundation of what’s popular, as well as allowing patrons to try something exciting.
- Offer limited edition samplings: Patrons will clamor for something exclusive and limited.
- Feature local provisions: This could include cocktail mixes along with produce and baked goods.
Businesses should also consider local collaborations for hosting events that can draw patrons to multiple restaurants at once.
Invest in Games
Board games are no longer just for the kids table. Elevated table games from Chess to Clue can promote intentional interaction amongst guests and allow them to create special memories in any establishment. Spaces supplying a variety of games with different player number requirements allows everyone to get in on the fun.
Any social event is a branch of the establishment itself, so businesses will succeed by implementing something that speaks to the truth of the business and fits its own atmosphere. As ambiance can make or break an experience, restaurants and bars staying on top of the social needs of customers is a great and affordable way to attract and retain patrons while helping business.