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Ring in More Customers on New Year’s Eve: A Restaurant’s Guide

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New Year’s Eve is one of the busiest and most profitable nights of the year for restaurants. With people looking to go out and celebrate this festive holiday, New Year’s Eve presents a major opportunity for increased restaurant sales. However, with so many establishments vying for patronage, the competition is fierce. You’ll need a smart plan and some clever marketing to draw in the crowds. Here’s how to prepare your restaurant to attract more customers on New Year’s Eve:

Start Promoting Early

Begin advertising your New Year’s Eve offerings a few weeks in advance, as people start making plans. Create eye-catching social media graphics highlighting your prix fixe menus, party packages, champagne toasts at midnight, and any other special promotions. Send out press releases to local lifestyle and entertainment publications touting your NYE events and offerings. Produce email campaigns with countdown deals, such as 20% off if booked before December 20th, to incentivize early reservations.

Offer Pre-Fixe Dinner Packages

On New Year’s Eve create special pre-fixe dinner menus at set price points, such as $75, $100, or $125 per person. This makes it easy for guests to plan their evening and know exactly what they’ll spend. Build menus with your most popular and indulgent dishes that feel celebratory. Offer optional wine pairings and champagne toasts for added revenue. Widely advertise these packages on your website, social channels, and third-party reservation platforms.

Host a Memorable Countdown

Make sure your restaurant has a giant clock, TV monitors, or digital display for watching the countdown to midnight. Synchronize the entire dining room and bar area so everyone counts down together, then cheers with noisemakers as balloons and confetti fill the air. Capture the moment for social media with professional photographers on New Year’s Eve. The more you can make midnight feel like a huge, unforgettable celebration, the more it will spread through word-of-mouth and viral posts.

Hire Extra Staff and Prepare for Volume

Schedule more servers, bartenders, bussers, hosts, barbacks, cooks, and dishwashers than normal. Even with reservations, you’ll get walk-ins trying their luck at getting a table. Having ample staff will ensure you can adapt to the influx. Make sure your POS system and internet can handle increased traffic without crashing or slowing down. Frequently restock glassware, garnishes, ice, beer, and all essential bar and kitchen supplies to stay ahead of demand.

Keep the Party Going Late

Get approval for extended hours and liquor licensing past your normal closing time. Offer a late-night happy hour menu and keep the music playing after midnight to accommodate any lingering guests. This will also allow you to potentially turn over tables for second or third seatings as people bar and restaurant hop into the early morning. The longer you can retain patrons, the more revenue opportunities.

Strategically Time Reservations

When booking reservations, strategically stagger times every 15-30 minutes earlier in the evening, then leave bigger gaps around the midnight countdown. This helps ensure all guests get served timely despite the rush while having some spaces open up for any last-minute VIPs or celebrities who may drop in. Then space closing reservations evenly in the 1 am-3 am hours for post-midnight diners.

Roll Out the Red Carpet

Hire security staff and velvet rope off a VIP section. Even if you don’t have any confirmed celebs, keep it open for any A-listers who happen to wander in off the streets. Rumors of a VIP area will pique the interest of patrons and passersby. If budget allows, hire paparazzi to snap photos out front that make your event look like the hottest spot in town.

Offer transportation

Provide guest transportation by contracting shuttle buses, limousines, or ride-share services to safely carry revelers to and from your venue. This way, partygoers don’t have to worry about driving or parking. Not only is it a useful patron perk, but it encourages bigger bar tabs. Prominently advertise this amenity when people make reservations.

Partner with Local Hotels

Connect with nearby hotels and inquire about offering discounts on room blocks with guaranteed reservations at your restaurant for their guests. Pitch yourself as the perfect NYE destination with party packages, free transportation, and no venue fees. Offer the hotel a small commission for any bookings and aim to be included on the concierge’s recommendation list.

Launch a Social Media Contest on New Year’s Eve

Drum up buzz on social channels by running a viral contest for a free VIP package. Ask people to like, share, and tag friends for entries and choose random winners. Maximizing visibility requires various actions across platforms like posting Instagram stories, tweeting hashtags, or submitting TikTok duet videos. The more audience participation, the better.

Go All Out on Decor

From the entryway to the dining room, bar, and bathrooms, decorate every inch of your restaurant over the top. Use tons of glitter, sequins, balloons, confetti, ribbons, and themed props. Rent eye-catching light fixtures. Play high-energy music. Make your venue look fantastically fun and Instagrammable. The flashy atmospherics will spread on social media and convince people yours is the place to party all night.

On a hugely popular holiday like New Year’s Eve, the competition among restaurants for patronage is extreme. But with savvy preparation using these tips, you can make your venue irresistible to swarms of celebration-seekers. By promoting early and often, serving stunning menus, mastering midnight countdown theatrics, providing elite amenities, and decorating dramatically, your restaurant will be well-positioned to generate record-high sales as the new year arrives.

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