Offering your restaurant as a venue for wedding receptions is a clever – albeit not immediately obvious – way to increase bookings.
If you want to make this work effectively, you’ll need to take the process of preparing your premises for each wedding very carefully.
Here are some great tips to help you avoid common wedding complications and ensure that the happy couple and their guests have an unforgettable day.
Readying the room
Wedding receptions will need to take place in a single space; there’s no chance guests will be happy to sit in separate parts of the restaurant when the fun gets underway.
You’ll need to choose the room and set a strict limit on the number of people that can actually be in attendance.
This is dictated in part by things like table layouts, but you’ll also need to consider whether staff will have enough space to manoeuvre and do their jobs efficiently.
Coming up with pre-set table configurations which you know will work and which can be provided to customers ahead of time is sensible, as it lets them sort out their seating plan within a framework, rather than going off-piste and creating chaos.
Decorations are also important, so you might want to factor this into the package itself, perhaps by partnering with a local party planner to come up with a cohesive, comprehensive package.
Optimising the menu
A wedding reception in a restaurant will usually be a smaller affair than one held in a dedicated venue, but that doesn’t mean you can throw caution to the wind when it comes to the menu.
Make sure you offer a simple, slimmed-down range of dishes while also catering to those guests with special dietary requirements.
Don’t over-stretch yourself and attempt to deliver a full menu as you would on a normal night; serving large parties is tricky enough, but a wedding will be a different beast altogether.
Expect that the usual formalities will take place during the reception, including speeches and toasts.
If possible, it’s a good idea to provide a PA system of some form so that the speeches can be heard throughout, even if the room isn’t especially cavernous.
Perhaps a little live music while dinner is in progress will be appealing, in which case you’ll need to find space in the room for a pianist or guitarist.
After the food service is finished, you might want to clear the floor to make way for a DJ or band, which again may require input from the customer and a bit of flexible thinking about the room itself.
Adding extra space
When it comes to the evening’s entertainment, you’ll need somewhere to shift guests while your staff sort things out inside.
If you’ve got a garden area or any outdoor space available, this can be a perfect place to open up to them while the room is reconfigured for the evening.
Of course, the British weather can be a fickle mistress, so you might want to hire a marquee as a safeguard against the rain.
Preparing your restaurant to host wedding receptions can be a challenge at first, but once you get the initial event under your belt, future bookings will become something to look forward to – and profit from.