There are some spectacular restaurant experiences all over the Midwest, clearly demonstrated by this year’s 2023 James Beard Awards list of semi-finalists. We counted six best new restaurants and outstanding restaurateurs located within the Midwestern states in these two categories alone!
With the new year underway, even as a successful Midwest restaurant, you most likely have goals to grow your revenue. As an alternative revenue driver, events and catering should be your next move. According to a recent Tripleseat survey, the profit margin for events is 25-35% higher than normal operations. On top of that information, we found out that 55% of Midwest events are being planned at restaurants or unique venues requiring catering. This is reason enough to take a look at our list of reasons to grow revenue at your Midwest restaurant through events and catering.
1. It adds opportunity during down times
During any slower times at your restaurant, booking a private dinner, a larger event, or a catering order can be a great way to use that opportunity for added profit. Whether your available times are during the week for a few hours before or after the lunch or dinner rush, or perhaps you experience a slower season, offering your space for events or adding catering services can be a great way to overcome any disproportion of incoming business.
2. Event groups spend more
What you may not realize is that for events and catering menus, pricing can be higher. Did you know that both for social and corporate events, groups will spend more, especially on high-margin items like appetizers and alcohol? Tripleseat’s event survey divulges that the average event budget amongst planners having events in the Midwest is an average of $6,385. Opt to price your event and catering packages with this in mind. While on the subject of budget, keep in mind that events require deposits, and catering can be pre-paid. This will help your restaurant with cash flow.
3. Orders are bigger
It is common for events and catering clients to order more food and beverage. Celebrations and work meetings alike lend themselves to party-sized portions. And this bulk ordering also allows for uncertain headcount, which can be a challenge for event planners, whether for a birthday party, a wedding, or a business meeting. This is a win for you as the host. No planner wants their guests to leave hungry.
4. It reduces food waste
Part of running your restaurant is managing your food inventory, costs, and your daily sales report. Not only does it feel bad to throw unused food in the garbage, but it truly impacts your bottom line. Events and catering will not eliminate all your food waste, but they can certainly help. Because you’ll have a limited event and catering menu and you can plan ahead on numbers, you’ll be able to control how much food you order and reduce the overhead food waste cost.
5. It expands brand visibility
You can leverage your loyal restaurant customers as you launch your events and catering. A portion of your restaurant regulars may opt to use your event and catering services and help spread the word. Additionally, you will increase visibility and gain new customers. Your customer base will be widened far beyond your restaurant guests. At every event you host, you have the opportunity to reach new event planners, both social and corporate. In turn, these event and catering guests may return as restaurant guests. A win all around!
6. It helps with developing staff skills
Expanding your services means you are creating more opportunities for your staff. The different settings and experiences that events and catering provide will also give your team valuable career skills. Whether it’s new staff experiences in food presentation, bartending a wedding, delivering and setting up catered lunches to a local company, or serving for a large private birthday party, your team will broaden their hospitality skills. You may also be able to provide your staff with more hours to work, larger paychecks, and overall higher job satisfaction.
7. No dedicated space? No problem.
Recognize that events can be hosted in a number of ways. Think outside the box and consider your existing space. You can use private areas of your restaurant for a designated event space. Or make certain areas flexible space for events. Some restaurants choose to offer full venue buy-outs for events. Think about your outdoor space. Do you have a nearby barn, rolling hills, or perhaps a wonderful lake view? If a city restaurant, do you have usable outdoor space or a rooftop? These are all assets that you could use for events. If you go the catering route, look for venue partners in need of catering for their events. Both partners and catered home parties require no dining space on your end.
8. Event and catering management is easier than you think
Being a restaurateur, you may have the common misconception that establishing and managing events and catering is an enormous undertaking. Providing a quality event and catering service has a lot of logistics to keep organized, and that must take a lot of time and resources. Think again! While this was true historically, today’s restaurants benefit from Tripleseat’s event management technology that streamlines much of the operational logistics. Our software manages leads, responds to customer requests with easy templates and even direct booking capabilities, and streamlines the whole process. Additionally, people are embracing technology and desire to book events and catering online, as shown in our survey results. 65% of event planners are extremely or moderately comfortable with planning an entire event online.
Make events and catering easy for your Midwest restaurant
Events and catering are booming, and more and more restaurants are adding these services as a successful way to increase their revenue. Are you ready to grow your event business? Schedule a Tripleseat demo to take a closer look at our event management features.