How Your Restaurant Can Profit from Wedding Parties
Organizers and guests alike know that by June, wedding season is in full swing. According to wedding statistics released by The Knot, June is the most popular month for weddings in the United States. That same report lists the average price of a wedding as $31,000, though reporters at Slate think a better estimate is a mere $18,000. Either way, weddings are big business and operators who aren’t cashing in are missing out. Even if you don’t own a restaurant that’s known for hosting wedding parties, there are plenty of opportunities to turn the sound of wedding bells into a little extra jingle in your pocket.
Get the Word Out
If you have the facilities to handle even moderately sized parties, advertise it. If you have a party room that you feel is underutilized, or if you have a section of the dining room that could be made semi-private for big groups, consider getting the word out via your restaurant’s signage and social media accounts that you’re able to handle reception parties and rehearsal dinners. If you have a website, consider posting details, pricing plans, and contact information that make it easy for couples to choose your spot over the competition.
Rent the Whole Restaurant
Don’t have a dedicated event space but still want to have something to offer wedding parties? Rent your entire building. Making your restaurant available to private parties for entire evenings is a good way to guarantee a profit for that night, especially on nights when regular business is slow. You can offer predetermined packages and menus, or your chef can work with the couple to come up with a customized menu for their event by incorporating their favorite dishes or tweaking restaurant favorites. Many couples see a restaurant wedding as an affordable, low-stress alternative to fancier venues.
Setting up a catering business is no small feat. The coordination involved in cooking for and serving dozens of people simultaneously requires what feels like superhuman effort, but serving catered meals can bring in higher profit margins than serving the same food in a restaurant setting. It can also be a more reliable way to earn a little extra for your business. If you already run a thriving restaurant business, consider expanding with a catering division that serves weddings and other events.
Just because you don’t own a traditional wedding venue doesn’t mean you can’t attract brides- and grooms-to-be. Lots of people are looking to get married in creative, non-traditional venues these days, from race tracks to caves. Even if it’s just a rooftop patio overlooking the city that can accommodate a few dozen people or a room with a good view of the countryside, opening a wedding venue that offers a unique experience can bring in couples looking for a break from the traditional.
If you don’t have access to a wedding venue, consider teaming up with a local business that does. Own a restaurant near a winery that has no foodservice program? Approach them about teaming up to do events where you bring the food and they provide the booze and venue. The same can be done with local attractions that focus on experiences rather than food. Think zoos, museums, and parks. Getting on the list of those venues’ preferred caterers can score you some lucrative gigs.