What will Restaurant Private Events look like Post Quarantine?

As many restaurants and bars prepare for a post-quarantine opening, experts have weighed in on best practices for a social-distancing-friendly dining room. However, how will the pandemic affect private events within these establishments? Many businesses rely on the income of private events and with the discouragement of large social gatherings, will this revenue source be eliminated? It seems there will be a distinct audience to play to - those who wish to practice social distancing, but are interested in introducing smaller social events again. Establishments with smaller private dining areas (ranging from 10-50 guests) may receive clearance to open as soon as next month, but how will they manage those types of parties?

Surely, private events will not be executed as they once were before. How will things change? Below are new practices to look out for within the next few months.

  • Bye Bye, Buffets & Bars: Any type of shared foods (buffets, family-style dishes, shared appetizers) will be eliminated. So, if you were never a fan of tapas-style dining, you’re in luck as we will begin to see a strong surge in individually plated appetizers, dinners and desserts. Bars may be less crowded as well, as there may be an elimination of bar taps and single wine pours. Guests will be offered more options for individually bottled/canned water, beer, wine and cocktails.

  • Contact-Free Services: Once they arrive, guests will be able to check in by calling in to the restaurant or with an app. This arrangement gives guests the option to wait in their car or outside until their table is ready. Private event guests may also pay ahead or in real time from their phones to avoid a card or cash transaction.

  • Disposable Everything: Disposable menus, plates and utensils (although not environmentally friendly) will become more popular. High-end dining rooms may still stick to regular plating and utensils, but still offer disposable to customers who prefer it. Digital menus may be displayed on TV screens in private rooms, or a QR code may be offered to guests so they may pick selections on their personal phones.

  • Over-Communication: As guests begin to fill private dining and party areas again, they will require even more communication than before. Event planners will begin preparing more documents to explain their sanitation practices, how they’re preparing the room before arrival and how the staff will be communicating with the party. It will be crucial for hospitality professionals to position themselves as an information provider and lead with sensitivity, as everyone will feel differently about their safety.

Are you preparing to open up your private event spaces again? What practices do you plan to use to drive sales while still ensuring the safety of your guests? How you begin to dip your toe into post-quarantine events can make or break your sales revenue. Feeling overwhelmed? I got you. In fact, over the past few weeks, I’ve been gathering the VERY BEST safety practices for hospitality private dining and I want to share these with you!

In the next week, I'll be launching a private event re-opening guide that will lay out all details on how to re-open for (smaller) private events in restaurants and bars! The guide will include everything you need to consider to keep you ahead of the game for the rest of the year. If you're a subscriber, you'll be able to get your hands on the guide before anyone else. I'm so excited to share what I've learned and I cannot wait to help you all get back in the GAME.