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Prep Your Restaurant For New Year's Eve

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November 15, 2022

Diners are getting excited about the year's biggest party: New Year’s Eve! What’s not to love? Delectable dishes, glasses of bubbly, and plenty of celebrating. As a restaurant owner, NYE dinner can be a profitable evening and a great way to market to new customers. While planning an extravagant event might seem daunting, preparing ahead of time makes NYE a piece of cake.

3 Profitable Types of New Year’s Eve Restaurant Events

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There are a myriad of ways to turn your dining room into a NYE hotspot. We’ve outlined the top three below that can work for any restaurant:

1. Reservation Method

In this classic dinner model, restaurants book dining rooms through reservations. For New Year’s Eve, establishments often offer a pre-set menu, holiday-themed cocktails, and a champagne toast. Many will schedule two times for seatings. One that is on the earlier side so guests can carry on their celebration at home or with friends. The second is a later seating where patrons can ring in the new year from their table.

Pros: Reservations can help restaurants predict their guest count for the evening, which allows owners and chefs to prepare the proper inventory. Plus, you can ascertain important customer details ahead of time, like food allergies and special requests.

Things to Consider: While reservations are great for planning, fixed prices and limited seating could inhibit some sales, especially alcohol. Check your food costs and menu prices to ensure you are turning a profit. Evaluate offering beverage upgrades to boost revenue. With reservations, there is a slight chance of no-shows. Some stats point to an average of nearly 20 percent of reservations no-show. Consider requiring deposits for reservations to recoup some loss from no-shows.

2. Pre-Purchased Tickets For Food & Drinks

Akin to reservations, dinner tickets give restaurants the ability to plan ahead. However, customers purchase their seats in advance, in full. The easiest way to promote and sell tickets is through an online platform. It allows guests to buy at their convenience and enables restaurants to track tickets sold. It also gives restaurant owners access to client info, making it an excellent tool for email newsletters and other social media marketing campaigns.

Pros: Advanced purchases mean that if a guest decides not to show, you don’t miss out on revenue, which means your food costs are covered. You also have the ability to upsell drinks, both alcoholic an non-alcoholic, with the pre-purchased tickets.

Things to Consider: Savvy, targeted marketing is key to high ticket sales. There are plenty of no-to-low-cost options like Instagram ads or in-house signage. To create a successful ticketed event, you’ll want to promote NYE at your establishment as an experience, not only a great meal.

3. Restaurant Buyouts

Some restaurants choose to forgo managing multiple diners and offer their establishment up for private groups via a buyout. A buyout entails a guest or company renting out a whole, or part, of a restaurant for their own private party with a pre-selected menu and catering. Chefs and restaurant owners can determine all the parameters, like the menu to offer, the rental price, and the event's timing.

Pros: The beauty of buyouts is that everything is pre-accounted for. The menu can be tailored to maximize profit and efficiency, the bar can open with a tab tallied at the end of the evening, and there is a minimum guaranteed sale amount for the event.

Things to Consider: While buyouts make planning a breeze, they might not always be as lucrative as dining sales, especially if New Year’s Eve falls on a bustling weekend evening. Partial buyouts could be a way to have the best of both worlds–confirmed private events in a separate space and a dining room for reservations or ticketed guests. Remember that running two different events under one roof takes additional planning.

Best Practices for NYE Dinner Preparation

Once you have your New Year’s Eve event style selected, it’s time to create your plan to make your NYE profitable and easy to manage. Every establishment is different, but anyone can follow these steps to ensure your guests have a great time and your team is well prepared.

  • Determine your event type and develop an on-brand theme.
  • Design your menu to highlight celebratory vibes while keeping costs profitable and execution efficient.
  • Work with your restaurant supply store to ensure you have all the supplies and quality products you need for a stunning meal. 
  • Market your NYE festivities early on to create the most buzz. Post on your social media, website, and in your restaurant space.
  • Begin your New Year’s Eve prep at least seven days out. The more prep finished before the big night means your dinner service will run smoothly, and guests will be impressed. 

Secure Exceptional Supplies for Your New Year’s Eve Menu

Plan your NYE holiday party with US Foods CHEF’STORE. Shop for extraordinary products like wholesale meat and seafood, fresh produce, and more. 

Get everything you need for a successful event with our online grocery delivery services or visit one of our many locations near you. Want help with business resources and in-house event planning? We have you covered!

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