The hospitality and events industry saw many new trends emerge in 2020 and then even more in 2021. These came in the form of COVID safe activities, and then became more of the norms we always knew in the industry as safety regulations toned down a bit. Looking ahead to 2022, there are many new things to look forward to, including experiences. Yes, experiences have been around in many restaurants and event spaces, but they are only going to continue and evolve more in 2022.
Restaurant goers want more than just a seated dinner served to them on a plate, they want a whole experience when receiving their food.
What can restaurants offer their guests in order to take advantage of the experience trend?
1. Luxury experiences
When creating an experience, why not make it luxurious? Luxury picnics, over-the-top grazing boards, and beautiful glamping excursions are all ways that experiences can be brought to the hospitality industry. Menta Graze, a New England-based luxury experiences company offers all of the experiences mentioned above, plus other add-ons for groups, like yoga, lawn games, backdrops, and more. These experiences can be for small parties of two or for larger groups, like a baby shower or bachelorette weekend. Restaurants can recreate this type of luxury experience too, using inventory they have in-house, indoor or outdoor space, and a little creativity. As the new year approaches, think of ways your restaurant can elevate private experiences in order to make them a little extra special and luxurious.
2. Event activities
How can your restaurant, venue, or event space offer event activities in your event packages? Think about what could be the best fit at your location based on inventory, space, and staff skills. Sip and paint nights, wine tastings with a sommelier, distillery tours, private chef shows, and cooking classes are all examples of how your venue could incorporate an active piece into the dining or event experience. Groups often look for what venues may have beyond the food and drink, which is where these activities will come in handy.
3. Culinary theatrics
Culinary theatrics are always a crowd pleaser and create a photo or video opportunity that is bound to get diners posting on social media about your restaurant. By definition, culinary theatrics are the creation or enhancement of a spectacle during the service of food or drink in order to excite or entertain. These theatrics can come in the form of a table-side guacamole cart, a cheese wheel where the pasta is mixed, or food cooked in front of the guests.
4. Unique atmosphere
An experience in 2022 does not just mean the food involved, but also can be the environment where the experience takes place. This could be the restaurant or event space itself. Hip restaurant-goers are always looking for the next hot spot and wow factor, even when just walking into the restaurant itself. What makes your restaurant or venue unique? Take a look at The Little Shop, a speakeasy-like bar in the Seaport District of NYC. When entering the Little Shop, you will find yourself inside a nice-looking bodega filled with your normal grocery store snacks and goodies. Walk to the back of the bodega through a door that blends into the wall, and find yourself in an eclectic bar. This bar is small, fitting just around 10 tables, which adds to its secrecy and exclusivity. The Little Shop offers fancy cocktails with fun accessories, like the cocktail below with a Starburst pinned on the glass or the purple cocktail that looks like it could be a galaxy. Elements of the atmosphere itself help certain restaurants become more memorable.
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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on the EventUp blog.