Outdoor restaurant decorations

5 Creative Outdoor Event Ideas for Restaurants 2022

Aine Hendron
24 May 2022

All restaurants want to be known for their delicious food, but many customer surveys find diners care about more than just their meal. 

Many people want a "new experience" when selecting a restaurant, and they’ll pay more for outstanding service [1]. With that in mind, here are 5 types of outdoor events to make your restaurant stand out from the competition and increase sales.

Entertainment ideas for outdoor events

The type of eatery you own will be a huge deciding factor in choosing your entertainment and event. Impress your clientele by offering an outdoor experience that’s true to your brand and venture, yet is unique.

Murder mystery dinner theatre

A great option for more formal restaurants that want to add a touch of fun and excitement to their evening service. Mystery nights are becoming increasingly popular among businesses searching for outdoor team building activities and outdoor corporate events. 

There are usually two types of murder mystery dinner parties. One is where your guests can participate and act as characters within the plot, and work as detectives. Or, you can hire a cast to perform while your guests are eating - you might even have some staff members who want to participate in the drama. In this type of game, your diners will guess and solve the crime in groups of tables. 

This 'whodunnit' type of game is very interactive and will be sure to amuse your guests. For more ideas, check out some online resources on hosting themed mystery nights at you-dunnit.com.

Cocktail and bartending demos

Invite your guests to step into your bartenders' shoes. If you have a strong team of confident bar staff, hosting a mixology class is a great way to get your patrons excited about cocktail mastery.

To get a good return on investment, have guests pay a marked-up price for each of the cocktails they'll be making, and factor in labour costs for your barmen. 

Cover the classics like mojitos, whiskey sours, cosmopolitans or gin brambles, which are all very simple and fun to make. Or, put a poll on social media with options your guests can choose from. This will engage your customers on social media, raise awareness of the event, and create a sense of personalisation for your guests.

Host a watching party

If you have an outdoor area, like a beer garden, patio or terrace, hosting a watch party is a low budget, creative event idea that is sure to attract a big audience.

If you own a sports bar, stream the big game on a large outdoor screen. If you own a wine or cocktail bar, host a watch party for the latest reality TV show. Many bars in the UK were reported to stream Love Island and Married at First Sight over the summer of last year.

To draw a crowd, you could promote this party alongside a happy hour and create a special al fresco snack or appetizer menu. 

Prepare to get smart with your outdoor event lighting ideas when hosting a watch party. Festoon lights, fairy lights, and solar lights are practical outdoor lighting solutions as they are the least likely to cause a glare on the TV screen, and they’ll create a relaxed setting for your guests. 

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Outdoor event branding ideas

While the above events are great for attracting new customers, you'll need to experiment to find out what works best for your business, and discover what type of events will encourage repeat customers.

If you can master a particular outdoor activity, it would be wise to repeat it semi-regularly, making sure to add new variations and alterations to the event themes. Here, we look at some events that you can run frequently to enrich your brand.

Live music events

Live music is a cheap, popular way to make your outside event area more enticing tor your guests. Having live music playing will increase the likelihood of diners staying longer and ordering more food and drink.

When hosting a live music event, it's important to consider how the music will fit in with your restaurant's ambience. It's also worth considering the demographics of your typical customer when booking musicians. Booking local talent is a nice idea, as it shows you support upcoming musicians in your area and is more likely to attract a local crowd.

This is a great option for all types of restaurants, from hole-in-the-wall joints to more upscale establishments. Booking a band or musicians to play during dinner service can really elevate the mood and create a fun atmosphere.

Create a club

There are few better ways to establish your brand's personality and depth than creating a special club. Before we cover the various club ideas, we'll talk about some proven benefits first.

Clubs create a sense of community and place your restaurant at its core. Depending on the club, your guests will likely gain a sentimental view of your restaurant. By planning regular meetups and get-togethers, you can turn one-time visitors into regulars, and regulars into friends. Maximise the success of your club by coming up with unique outdoor event decoration ideas. Some groups you might want to host include:

  • Trivia and pub quiz lovers
  • Wine and craft beer tasters
  • Cake clubs
  • Book clubs, storytelling clubs, and writers groups
  • Breakfast clubs

Clubs are a great way to show off your restaurant's strengths. For example, if you're known for your wine list, hosting a wine club will not only increase sales but also boost your reputation.

Run your event with confidence, with Epos Now

Epos Now offer point of sale (POS) solutions to every sector of the hospitality industry. Entrepreneurs know that family pubs will need different software than fine dining restaurants. That's why Epos Now’s software is sector-specific and is compatible with 100s of integrations - allowing business owners to choose the exact tools they need to run their establishment.

Epos Now customers can benefit from:

  • Profitability reports based on individual item performance, trending dishes, best and worst sellers, and employee sales.
  • Analyses of profit margin, cash flow, and peak times for better staff scheduling and floorplan management.
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  • Integrated table management and booking systems.
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