New Year’s Eve is a crazy busy night for restaurants and bars. It is paramount that you and your staff are on top of your game for the night’s festivities. People are going out to have a good time. If you fail to provide that good time or your NYE celebration is just so-so, you might have a hard time drawing them in again next year…and getting them to bring their friends. Plus, if you do a good job entertaining them, keeping up with the rush, and serving them throughout the evening, those New Year’s Eve customers can easily turn into customers throughout the year. Here are five ways to take your restaurant’s New Year’s Eve game to the next level.
If your bar or restaurant has room for it, hire some entertainment. The two most common you will see include bands and DJs. These are great and are definitely something you should look into. It’s going to be a busy night. Can you rearrange some chairs and tables to make room if you don’t normally have it? New Year’s Eve is a night known for music and you want to capitalize on that, if you can. However, music is not the only thing you can provide in terms of live entertainment. Here are a few others to consider:
Comedian/MC to help count down the night – If you have pictures from events and staff throughout the year, this can make for a lot fun.
Magician – Not the ones that come to your kids’ birthday parties. Get a stage magician used to aweing a mixed crown.
Street Performers – There are some crazy talented people out there. If you can bring in some of the local talent for a low price it does a few things: helps your pocketbook, reaffirms the local feel for the place, and it tends to help build good will amongst the community.
Prepare for the Drop
If the ball drops and all you have is a countdown and a bunch of people yelling, you are missing something. It’s supposed to be a noisy, flashy event. Yes. You want the countdown. Yes. You want people to yell. However, you also want more than that. Provide party favors for your guests—traditional noise makers you can pick up at pretty much any party supply or discount store. And, invest in some netting and confetti or balloons, so you can drop those when the time is right. Balloons is probably more fitting where you are serving drinks and food, rather than having confetti get into the drinks. Make sure to have a special message prepare to share with the crowd before and after the countdown. Thank them for the last year and welcome them to the New Year.
Chances are, most of your guests are going to want a drink or two on New Year’s Eve. There are a few ways you can help this benefit your business and go down smoothly. Consider hiring local ride providers so that everyone is guaranteed a safe ride home. That’s the first thing—safety first. Once you have handled that, look at your stock, speak with your barkeeps, and decide upon a specialized menu for the evening. Two for one drinks are popular. Another consideration is to speak with your bartender and see if they have any specialty drinks or house drinks that they think would make a great addition to the night. Have a variety and don’t run out, but be sure to have an extra backup of champagne that you can serve—maybe even free of charge or part of a package deal—for the evening when the year switches over. Whether you’re using disposable cups or inexpensive glasses, you might consider seeing if you can have a logo and a message printed on them. People dig that kind of stuff and, if they put it on display somewhere, it can keep your business at the forefront of their mind as well as introduce new patrons to your fine establishment.
Yes, people are coming out to have a good time and drink, but most are also looking for a great meal as well. There are a few ways you can handle this. To make sure you don’t run out, offer only one or two choices for the evening and provide only limited seating with reservations. One flat cost covers the price of a meal, drinks, etc. Make it at least a three course meal and make the cost match what you’re offering. If it’s something special, you can definitely charge more than if it’s hot dogs and a bag of chips. On the other hand, hot dogs and bags of chips are cheap. If you want to offer the less expensive options to help bring people in for the drinks, that is an option too. The bottom line is: have a plan and have specials. The night is special and if you don’t offer anything out of the ordinary, you are not playing to your strengths as the best New Year’s Eve restaurant in your area.
Update the Staff Attire
Make sure that your whole team gets in on the celebration. Yes, they are working instead of being out with their friends and family. Instead of being upset by that, they should be treating your customers like their friends and family. Have a good time with your guests and smile a lot and their night will go by faster and their tips will be higher. Let your staff update their uniform a bit. If they have party hats, sparkling suspenders, and other New Year’s Eve party related gear, have them wear it. It makes it easier for your guests to get into the spirit and have fun, if your staff is doing the same.