Top 5 Ways to Drive Your Private Dining Business


Sophia Banay from Forbes.Com recently wrote an article titled “Ritzy Private Dining Rooms” about the allure and profitability of Private Dining in Restaurants. Banay writes

“Private dining rooms, the hidden hallmark of any haute eatery, are in higher demand than ever. Consumers–business and leisure alike–have gotten a taste of the privacy, service and extravagance of private dining, and they want seconds. “

Banay goes on to quote Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of research and information services at the Washington, D.C.-based National Restaurant Association.

“The business demand for private rooms is related to higher corporate earnings.”

So, is your Private Dining Business not generating the revenue you budgeted for? Are you worried that the threat of recession will decrease your Private Dining Business? Well, here are 5 tried and true tips to help you jump start your sales and get you on track to booking more Private Dining business.

1. Mine the database – If you are the lucky few that have a database of contacts, now is the time to leverage it. Look for contacts that have booked with you in the last six months and call them. Yes, that’s right, call them. In sales it is called P.U.F.P. (Pick Up the Freak’n Phone). E-mail is to impersonal and not very effective in communicating your message.

2. Hit the bricks – Take a team of 3 to 4 servers, chefs, host/hostess and map out a 10 mile radius of all the business in your area. Simply walk in, leave a menu, maybe some tasty morsels of your food, and a business card. This approach works and will brighten up the day of everyone. Who do you think they will think of the next time they need to have an off site meeting?

3. Become a member of some local business chapter – You choose which one. Try to pick the one that fits your type of restaurant. Once a member, network, and add value at every meeting. You are part of the community also, so you should have some relationship with the surrounding business. Don’t be pushy and try to book business at these meetings, but leaving your business cards is o.k. and strongly recommended

4. Host a meeting – Communities are always looking for places to have a meeting. It could be your church, your kids sport team, anyone. Host a meeting for free (ouch I know that word hurts). Your ROI (return on investment) will be short and well worth it. By hosting a great meeting you are giving people a chance to “try it before they buy it”. This is a great way to hit a large diverse group of people for little upfront money.

5. Talk to your customers – Dining room full of customers? That is a perfect chance and excuse to do a table visit and tell them about your ability to do private events. My bet is that your customers don’t even know you have a private room (is it tucked away in the back somewhere?) Don’t expect them to book on the spot, just leave them your business card and if you feel the timing is right, ask for their contact information.

I have used all these methods and more. They work, they are easy, and do not cost a bundle. Give it a try…