Great bar and restaurant social events get people talking – and get guests in the door. Here are 9 social event ideas designed to help improve guest experiences and get people talking about your venue - from grown-up summer camp to interactive trivia games, these are ideas for restaurant events that no guest can resist.
The Top 3 Trending Interactive Events
Take your events a step further. Wow guests with trending social entertainment. From “paint and sip” nights to interactive trivia games, here’s what’s generating a buzz in 2018.
1) A Lesson in Fun
Hands-on experiences with an educational element are in high demand these days. Plus, guests can take home a painting, terrarium, or a homebrewing kit as an added bonus.
- Paint n’ Sip Nights: Many franchises provide hosts that bring supplies and step-by-step instructions so guests can paint a masterpiece. Provide a menu of bite-size apps and drinks for the event.
- Plant Night: Guests can socialize as they put together a terrarium to take home. You could even run interactive trivia games focused on plants and flowers.
- Homebrewing 101: Partner with a local brewer to offer DIY tips. If there is a homebrewing supplier in your area, invite them in to sell or provide information on products.
2) Live, Interactive Trivia Games
From college campuses to Main Street, restaurants are hosting interactive trivia games to bring in repeat midweek business. The best companies offering interactive trivia games include everything. That way, you can host the event yourself (outside trivia hosts can get pricey). Plus, if someone from your staff hosts, they’ll strengthen the guest-employee relationship.
Buzztime, the 30 year leader in interactive trivia games for restaurants, even provides handheld tablets so scoring is automatic. Beyond interactive trivia games, these tablets give guests access to digital arcade games and on-demand trivia. Beef O’Brady’s of Apollo Beach, Florida, turned Wednesday night into Friday night with Buzztime’s interactive trivia games. The owner reported a 40% increase in Wednesday foot traffic, and a 25% lift in food and drink sales.
3) Tasting Events
Bring guests one step closer to the food and drinks you serve, with a social tasting event:
- Contact your beverage distributor. Ask if any of their wine, beer, or liquor reps could come lead a guided tasting for groups of guests.
- Try cooking lessons! Bring your chef out from the back of the house to lead cooking demos.
Be a Kid Again: Adult Summer Camp and Spelling Bees
The actual kids are going to need a babysitter. Mom and dad are heading out to these nostalgic social events – from interactive trivia games at “summer camp,” to an adult spelling bee.
4) Summer Camp for Grown-ups
Sounds crazy, right? Not when you consider that nearly one million adults attend actual summer camps – and that number is expected to increase in 2018. Pack up this trend and take it to your bar or restaurant. It’s easier than you think:
- Create a schedule for your adult summer camp: try Tuesday evenings from 7-10pm during July or August.
- Ideas for indoor summer “camp activities” include:
- Arts n’ Crafts: Host that trendy paint and sip night and serve equally trendy craft beer.
- Local Bar Crawl: Start the night at your place of course! Then send guests around town.
- Bar Games Tournament: Guests can face off in corn-hole, flip cup, and darts.
- Interactive Trivia Games: Let teams of guests compete for the title of Summer Camp Champ.
5) Adult Spelling Bee
No smartphones allowed for this one! (The same goes for any interactive trivia games you host.) Laughter will ensue as participants attempt to spell difficult words.
Need inspiration for your spelling bee? Try using words from the official Scripps National Spelling Bee. The 2017 winner was crowned champion after spelling “gifblaar” correctly.
Entertainment with Heart
It pays to be charitable. You’re helping a good cause – and your bottom line. Millennials are especially interested in how community-focused you are: 89% of them seek out businesses that support social issues. Bring guests together over a shared cause with these ideas:
6) Charity Face-off
Invite charities to send 4-5 volunteers to compete as a team against other non-profits in interactive trivia games. After all the hard work they do for their cause, these guests will appreciate a chance to bond over competitive fun.
The winning charity receives a donation or a gift card to your restaurant (charities always need them for silent auction events). This could become a buzzworthy monthly event! Don’t forget to post photos of each team playing interactive trivia games on social media. You’ll give them extra visibility for their cause, while showing off your fun events.
7) Show Your Heart, Join a Walk
Interactive trivia games are a great in-venue charity event. But you can also hit the streets to show love for your community. Create a team of both your employees and patrons – and raise funds in a charity walk or run!
The American Heart Association holds thousands of Heart Walks across America – chances are there’s one in your area. Provide participants with t-shirts (sporting your logo, of course). Hold a wrap up event with complimentary appetizers and interactive trivia games so participants can socialize afterwards.
Brew Up Business with Crafty Events
Craft is where it’s at. Craft beer is trending with everyone from college students to baby boomers.
According to the Brewer’s Association Craft Brew in Review report, 83% of adults are within 10 miles of a brewery. That means your restaurant is near one, too. Partner with a local microbrewery and put their brews on tap. Then, launch these events to help beer lovers bond:
8) Interactive Trivia Games – Guess the Brew
Create teams of 4-6 people. Serve everyone a small pour of a beer. Then, teams guess the beer: both the brewery and the style. (Pilsner or lager? IPA or double IPA? Sour or saison? Learn the trending beer terms, here).
The host of the game – either a local brew master or your bartender – can share beer trivia after giving the correct answers.
Before the game starts, let guests examine your tap handles or beer menu to prep. It’s a great way to subtly “sell” patrons on your beer lineup as they enjoy these beer-focused interactive trivia games.
9) Perfect Pairings Dating Event
Speaking of interactive trivia games, they’re great icebreakers for guests on a first date. Another way to help singles find their match? Help them connect over beer.
Create tasting flights of 9-10 beers (very small pours, of course). Guests rank their beers on a tally sheet from most favorite to least. The host gathers up each guest’s sheet, and pairs off patrons based on similar rankings – who can enjoy the evening mingling at your bar.
Serving great food and drinks is one way to impress guests. But bars and restaurants that go above and beyond with social events enjoy increased sales, loyalty, and repeat business. From launching interactive trivia games to hosting a paint n’ sip night, use these 9 event ideas to entertain your customers.
Trusted by thousands of bars and restaurants in North America since 1984, Buzztime integrates trivia, card, sports games and live events with innovative tablet technology. While we don't take ourselves too seriously, this is pretty serious business.