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Throwing a New Year’s Eve Bash?

December 29, 2014

I hope everyone’s holidays have been as lovely as mine, full of friends and family and food. Anyway, today I’m back from the break with another post. Since New Year’s Eve is quickly approaching, I thought I’d post about hosting a New Year’s Eve event at your restaurant. In the big city, it seems like every bar and restaurant hosts a New Year’s event — last year I went to a bar in my neighborhood with friends for drinks and dinner and spent quite a bit of money; if you play your cards right, your customers could be doing the same. It might be too late to plan a New Year’s Eve party at your restaurant or bar this year, but if you’re counting yourself among those who aren’t hosting an event in the upcoming days, it’s never too early to start planning for next New Year’s.

champagne_glassesWhat do customers expect for a New Year’s event? Well, it depends a lot on what type of establishment you’re running. My favorite jazz club, for instance, offers a five course prix fixe menu, bottle of champagne, and live show for a (fairly hefty) cover charge. My local cafe offers drink specials and dancing. The restaurant/bar I went to last year had a DJ. Whatever type of establishment you’re running, a few things seem very important: alcohol, entertainment, midnight champagne (with countdown), and cover charge.

As far as alcohol goes, there’s no need for most restaurants to mark most drinks way down. If you have champagne specials, that’s probably enough. Night clubs and dancing venues, however, might be well served by offering table service specials with the cover charge — again, it depends on what type of business you own. No matter whether you’re a diner or a dance club, though, you should offer complimentary sparkling wine for your guests at midnight. If you don’t, no one’s coming in the door.

Entertainment, on the other hand, can be any number of things: live band, DJ, dance party, you name it. Use your best judgment — what demographic are you trying to appeal to? what seems appropriate based on your restaurant’s theme, ambiance, and decor? Be creative, but don’t be too outlandish. People want to dance, drink, and enjoy themselves. Nothing needs to be too fancy.

And finally we come to cover charge. I’ve been out and about for New Year’s a few times. Once, in college, we went to a night club, which definitely charged a hefty fee for entry, and even more for a VIP booth and table service. The restaurant I partied at least year, on the other hand, charged no cover fee at all and relied on drink profit and prix fixe menu sales to make their money. Give it a good hard think. Are you a restaurant where people will be reserving tables for their meals, or are you more of a dance/drink party spot? The difference should help you choose whether or not to charge a cover.

Anyway, I hope everyone has a great New Year’s — next year, you should all be throwing stellar parties. See you then!

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