By Mark Plumlee
Ringing in the new year is the perfect occasion to treat your guests to a celebration, and as we welcome 2023, there are many different ways to make that happen. From events to deals, the new year presents a unique opportunities for restaurants to showcase their exciting offerings.
Hosting New Year’s events doesn’t have to mean stress or extreme effort. Paying attention to the little things, such as décor and music, can take your restaurant’s festivities to the next level. Here are a few ways to celebrate the occasion with your customers that’ll have them talking about it for years to come.
Host a prix fixe dinner
For guests looking to celebrate New Year’s Eve on the town, a restaurant makes a great choice. As one of the busiest days of the year for restaurants, New Year’s Eve can quickly become a chaotic day for hosting. To ease the potential stress for both guests and staff, offer a prix fixe menu that everyone will enjoy. A set menu takes some of the pressure off the kitchen and allows your staff to meet customers’ needs more efficiently.
Offer three courses (appetizer, entrée, and dessert) as well as two or three options per course so that guests still have some flexibility. You can also include a drink option to the menu as an add-on.
To streamline the process and reduce the stress of taking reservations, sell tickets to the event ahead of time. Make sure to advertise the event and encourage guests to purchase tickets in advance to secure their seats. Another way to simplify the process would be to offer seating times to lessen traffic, provide an improved guest experience, and reduce the stress on your staff.
Offer a brunch
For those who don’t love to go out on New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day is a perfect alternative for them to enjoy celebratory dishes and drinks. Why not carry over the festivities to the next day? By offering a special New Year’s Day brunch, you can cater to a wider variety of guests. To simplify the event, offer a set menu with options and drink add-ons where guests can choose first, second, and third courses and drinks from a curated menu.
Include a mix of sweet and savoury options on the menu so there’s something for everyone. Drinks like specialty mimosas, cocktails, and non-alcoholic options will offer your guests a variety of choice.
You could even slightly adjust your current menu to make it more festive with extras like popping candy on the rim of a classic cocktail to give toasts something special to start the new year.
Feature a disc jockey or live music
Nothing says celebration quite like live music. Whether it’s a DJ, band, or duo, it’s the perfect time to bring in some musical acts. Whichever musicians you choose, make sure to include an interactive component.
Whether it’s encouraging song requests or making room for a dance floor, guests love to get out of their seats. To up the excitement, give out glow sticks, add streamers, and decorate the space accordingly so that the event is extra memorable. There’s no better time for a dance party than when ringing in the new year.
Hire a photographer or include a photo booth
Your guests will love having a photo to cherish and remember their event experience. As an added bonus, guests may want to share the pictures on social media, giving your restaurant some free promotion.
Be sure to include your restaurant’s logo in the corner of the pictures so that the event can be traced back to your party. Encourage guests to post their photos on their social media channels, and consider offering a discount for a return visit as an incentive for them to do so.
Invite a tarot card reader
What better way to ring in the occasion than with someone predicting your future? Having a fortune teller or tarot card reader is a unique way to add to the festivities. Guests will love the opportunity to try something new and those who don’t feel like dancing will have the option of entertainment. Tarot is trending, so you can’t go wrong with including it as part of your restaurant’s celebration.
There are countless ways to celebrate New Year’s at your restaurant. Whether it’s hosting a big event or adding small details, customers will appreciate your extra effort.
Promote your offerings via flyers and other promotional material. You could even have a special events calendar ready ahead of the holidays so guests can get excited about what’s to come. Whatever you choose to do, emphasize that you are thankful for your guests’ loyalty and will have plenty of opportunities to continue celebrating throughout 2023.
Mark Plumlee is the Sr. Editor for MustHaveMenus, a DIY design and digital marketing service for restaurants, and has written for CRFN and many foodservice publications on food industry trends and technology.