Happy February! As many of us are beginning to pick up speed with bookings, I thought it’d be a great idea to take a closer look at what makes a great private dining room. It’s important to take a few steps back every now and then and really gauge where your space stands among your competitors. How do you stack up with what customers are looking for? Below, I am listing 6 elements that make a KILLER PDR. Take a look and see how you can make small adjustments before you hit busy season!
Ambiance: Let’s be honest, in this day and age, the ambiance of a space sits right next to food and beverage in terms of importance. In fact, it could be the very thing that gets your client to book if they do a walk through prior to working with you. Items to consider are decor, lighting, music and overall warmth. Remember - your clients are looking to impress THEIR guests as much as you’re looking to impress them. It should be your mission to make them feel like they found something special when they book your space.
Menu Flexibility: It’s important to have clear and consistent menu offerings for private events as it can have a BIG impact on a restaurant’s food budget and labor. However, are you organizing your menus in a way that gives the client more opportunity to pick and choose? How open are you to allergies? Do you have seated dinner options, family-style, platters or passed? The more you plan out options ahead of time, the less the client will try to ‘choose their own adventure’ when customizing their menu. It will also make the client feel like they can really carve out a unique culinary experience without your kitchen team running for the hills!
Various Rate Opportunities: Do you have a private dining room with a hefty minimum? If so, are there days of the week that you aren’t booking that space? If so, is it left empty? If there is an empty space on any day of the week at your establishment, you are LEAVING MONEY ON THE TABLE. Try giving those smaller-budget clients a chance to book your space on a slower day or evening. You can lower your minimums or completely eliminate them as you will be generating income that was not there before. This gives more customers an opportunity to enjoy your PDR and leaves room for additional word-of-mouth marketing. The more people book your space, the more people book your space. Get it?
Flexible Floor Plan: A floor plan that can be easily adjusted to accommodate various parties is a great way to bring in more unique opportunities aside from a traditional seated dinner. Items like movable bars, high-top table options, additional seating or furniture is a great incentive for a client to book. Bonus points if you can create floor plan ideas ahead of time and present the possibilities right away!
Easy-to-Use Audio/Visual Equipment: Needs for audio/visual equipment have become so popular, it’s almost essential for private event space. Having a dedicated television, DVD player, auxiliary plug-in and sound system will give a client plenty of options for customizing their experience. Aside from having the equipment, it’s even more important to have clear instructions on how to use the equipment (as well as making sure everyone on your team knows how to use the equipment). An A/V failure at the 11th hour can send any client into a tailspin!
Staff: Staffing is INCREDIBLY important to a successful private dining room program! Carefully choosing specific service team members to lead parties is the BEST avenue when planning events. These specific individuals can be trained properly to understand the private dining menu, the expectations of the client and and execute an event flawlessly. I think too often we believe that all service members are good at both the general floor and private dining. This is not the case. Some service team members prefer private dining while others do not. You do NOT want to book a service team member for a private event who does not want to be there. It will show and it will reflect poorly on your planning. Private event clients have unique set ups, needs and the more flexible a team member is, the better YOU look.
How does your private dining space stack up against these elements? Is there something that you believe sets your space and service apart from your competition? Does everyone on your team know what that special thing is? Sometimes, we learn a lot about what it is we need to provide by listening to our existing clients. If you haven’t already, subscribe to www.SheSaidCelebrate.com today and you will receive my 3-step Chain to Collecting Client Data. This will help you learn what kind of data you should be collecting and how it will help you create a product that clients are seeking!