Tag Archives: restaurant ideas

10 Ways to Liven Up Slow Nights at the Restaurant

Is there a certain night of the week where your restaurant is consistently slow? We have brainstormed & searched high and low to find the 10 best ways to increase business on those slow nights. Give them a try and let us know how much they increased business!

1. Charity Events

Between local little leagues, homeless shelters, youth groups, or other organizations, there is always an opportunity for a ‘charity event night’. Customers have to show a flyer to support the cause and a set percentage of all sales go towards the charity. Another great tip for these events – require a few representatives from the charity to help around the restaurant to pick up trash, greet guests, etc. This way, they can also share more about their cause and interact with customers!

2. Kids Eat Free

What parent doesn’t want a delicious meal and a night off from cooking? Offering free kids meals with the purchase of an adult entree draws in families who want a fun night out.

3. Trivia Night

Trivia Nights are always a hit! Have weekly/month themes and offer drink or appetizer specials. Have fun interacting with customers while allowing them to have a fun night out!

4. Neighborhood Events

How well do you know your neighbors? For great repeat business, take a slow night and make it a party! Set up tents, games, drink specials, and a limited delicious menu. Pass out flyers around the neighborhood and spread the word about your block party! They’ll remember your restaurant for the delicious food and the fun times.

5. Guest of Honor Night

Whether it’s Teacher Tuesdays, Veteran’s Wednesday, Nurses Thursday or so on, treat your special guests like royalty and offer a percentage discount or free drink. They deserve the honor and delicious food!

6. Coupons!

Why not advertise coupons in the local paper? You’d be surprised what people will do with a coupon. Everyone is looking for a good deal, and let’s be honest, it is hard to pass up good food. Be clear in your wording, and meet your money savvy neighbors!

7. Deal of the Day

$0.25 Wings Wednesdays, $1 Craft Beer Nights, etc. The possibilities are endless! We have to emphasize it: people love a great deal and people love great food! Add a midweek special to draw in the crowds.

8. Battle of the Bands

Let’s really liven it up with some live music! Host a Battle of the Bands competition and let local musicians compete to win a grand prize. This will draw in music fans, friends and family of the bands, and will make for a ton of fun!

9. Student Discounts

Live near a campus? Offer student discounts on food and drinks to draw in the younger crowd – we all know they need the discounts and the good food!

10. Mug Night

Allow customers to bring in a reasonably sized mug of their own and receive discounted drink prices all night! A fun way to interact with the customers and make new customers!

Dining Events: Bringing in New Customers to Your Restaurant

Is your restaurant looking for something fun to bring in new customers? Do you need to create a little buzz for your dining establishment? Here are some ideas to consider that will help your restaurant stand out and develop a following.

Dining Events

Photo by: Sonny Abesamis

Photo by: Sonny Abesamis

On Monday, a semi-annual event will kick off in downtown Indianapolis. This two-week event, called Devour Downtown, gives diners a chance to take advantage of dinner and lunch specials from restaurants around the downtown area. Participating restaurants offer a three-course meal, priced between $20-40 per person (some restuarants will offer a meal for two for $20-$35). This has been a wildly successful promotion, and the idea has spawned similar events in other areas of the city.

The benefit of offering a special menu is that it allows you to offer a sampling of your best items to potential new customers, with the hope that they’ll not only come back, but spread the word among friends. Typically, your menu should include an appetizer, entree and dessert. Offering a vegetarian/vegan or gluten-free option will open your place up to more potential diners. Of course, depending on what kind of restaurant you have, your options may vary (for example, if you specialize in tapas/small plates, you may offer more courses).

Now, there may or may not be an event like Devour Downtown where your restaurant is located. If there is, great! Check with the organizers to see how your restaurant can get involved. If there isn’t an event, don’t let that stop you! If your restaurant has a website or a social media presence, you can always promote and spread the word that way. Make it your own event!

Pairing Dinners and Tasting Menuswine pairing

Another idea to bring buzz (and business) into your restaurant is to offer a pairing dinner. Team up with a local winery or brewery and offer a private dinner where each course is paired with a beer, wine or other potent potable. Teaming with a winery/brewery allows you to draw upon their customer base as well as your own, bringing potential new customers to both sides. Meanwhile, attendees of these dinners learn a thing or two about complimenting their food with the right type of spirit.

Tasting menus have become quite popular as well. They consist of several courses of small portions to create a single meal. You can choose to do wine or beer pairings with these as well. This is an opportunity to show off your creativity with your presentation and your ingredients. Other options include bringing in a guest chef to conduct the tasting menu.

Be CreativeTasting Menu

Don’t be afraid to think outside the box, either! There are a ton of different ideas you can try to bring in new business. Offer a house specialty only on a specific day or weekend (Grandma’s famous fried chicken! Catfish Friday!). Come up with an eating challenge where winners get a prize (gift certificate, t-shirt, picture on a wall, etc.) if they complete it. Schedule a fun theme night with a themed menu. The options are almost endless!

Have an idea that worked for you? Share with us in the comments section. And as always, shop Central for all of your restaurant needs.