Restaurant Entertainment Ideas: Charm and Engage Your Guests

Marketing 19 minute read 26th January 2024

Restaurant owners probably face the most challenging task when it comes to outshining their competition. That’s because customers typically demand a unique experience, constantly pushing owners to think outside the box. Having some creative restaurant entertainment ideas up your sleeve can turn the tables for you.

Eating delicious food isn’t the only thing diners are after. If it were, people would order food online instead of going through the extra effort of visiting restaurants.

You can use this to your advantage and turn customers into brand advocates. How? By introducing the right activities at your venue and leaving the guests wanting more.

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Here’s Why Entertaining Your Guests Should Be Your Top Priority

As mentioned earlier, customers are on the hunt to find the best experience restaurants have to offer. Food is a major part of that experience, but it’s not the limit.

A variety of factors contribute to a well-rounded restaurant customer experience.

Providing entertainment helps you achieve customer satisfaction. If the activity is interesting enough, they might end up staying longer. The more time they spend in your restaurant, the more chances you have of making sales.

The most effort restaurants usually make for entertainment is arranging a live musical performance or queuing up a playlist. But the sky is your limit here. With proper research and the right type of activity, you can market your restaurant way more effectively.

It could be the reason why people choose you over your competitors. Plus, providing entertainment can ensure your customers frequent your venue. Suppose you hold weekly music events at your restaurant. The customers who enjoyed it once will likely return the next week for a similar experience.

These are the times that customers can’t help but share their experience online as well as offline. This is the best outcome since people trust what their family and friends say. So, is it smart to neglect something that can quickly lead to restaurant promotion?

6 Restaurant Entertainment Ideas To Leave a Lasting Impression on Your Guests

If you’re still unsure about increasing the entertainment in your restaurant, perhaps this next reason will convince you. In fact, it can start a chain reaction of positive results for your restaurant.

Studies reveal that your staff can perform better when there’s music playing in the background. The same can be true for other entertainment activities.

If your staff feels entertained and happy, they’ll be able to better serve your guests. Besides, a happy server goes a long way to make customers loyal to your business. So, if you’re ready to do that, here are six restaurant entertainment ideas to leave a lasting impression.

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1. Live Music Sets the Perfect Tone for Each Meal

One of the best ways to provide entertainment in a restaurant is by playing live music. However, you might have a lower chance of standing out with this tactic since it’s the first path most restaurants take. But there’s a lot you can do by thinking outside the box for this kind of live event marketing.

Many restaurant owners implement this trick by hiring musicians to perform at their venues. If you plan on using this same tactic, make sure they play songs that match your restaurant.

For example, electric guitars won’t work in a fine-dining restaurant. Similarly, light jazz won’t resonate with all fast-food lovers.

You’d be surprised how many restaurants don’t care what the musicians are playing as long as it’s music. Make sure you pay attention to detail when planning live music events.

Alternatively, you can create a playlist instead of hiring professionals. But again, make sure to choose songs that match your brand. Or contacting a local station might work best for you.

Or why not make your guests the stars of the show? Host a karaoke night if it fits your venue. You can even give a free dessert or an exclusive deal to the winner.

You may also have to bring a slight change to your layout. It doesn’t have to be anything extensive. Just a small rearrangement of seats will create a space to host the night.

However, it would probably be better for restaurants with a more formal setting to avoid open mic nights. It may be too loud for the patrons, and the tactic might backfire.

Lastly, you can bring aspiring musicians from your area and turn your restaurant into a talent hunt.

Make sure they play music that matches your venue’s vibes, and let your customers choose their favorites.

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2. Themed Menu Days Never Fail To Impress

Whether you’re looking to save a failing restaurant or generate a buzz around it, a menu change can do wonders. Of course, designing a restaurant menu requires research and investment. But you don’t have to worry about that since we’re not talking about a complete makeover but a separate themed one. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Start by researching what interests your restaurant’s target audience. You might not be able to please everyone, but proper research allows you to bring something that resonates with most.
  2. Conduct surveys and find out what your customers want. For example, you can ask them about their favorite movies. Some movies have a staple food item. Do some research to find out what that dish is and add it to your menu for a day. Moreover, dressing your staff like the chosen movie’s characters and incorporating some of the decor will add to the fun.

And if you want to turn these themed days into special events, let your customers play dress up as well.

Another idea is to use alliterations when creating a special menu. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard of Taco Tuesdays. That’s one way to do a themed menu day.

Or you could introduce Thirsty Thursdays with a special drink discount. Lastly, you could go for Waffle Wednesday with a variety of flavors. Remember, you can get as creative as you want.

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3. Give Back to the Community With Charity Events

Smart business owners always try to find ways to achieve two goals at the same time. Charity events prove to be one of those ways.

Not only do they provide entertainment for customers, but they also give you a chance to give back to the community. Plus, they turn onlookers into loyal customers, which achieves three goals! Let’s see how.

Firstly, you can host a food drive in your area. The best time for such events would be around the holidays. That’s because people like to share their celebrations during these times more than others. They’ll be more willing to donate, and your event will be a success.

Create interesting banners and assign a dedicated space for collecting the donations. It should look like you care instead of just getting it done.

Secondly, you can hold cooking classes for your customer base and donate the money to people in need.

Plus, there will be a lot of leftover food. Instead of letting it go to the trash can, donate it along with the money. This way, your customers will have something to learn, and the deserving will have something to eat.

Besides, you can use this as a chance to take your customers behind the kitchen and build trust. Let your chefs teach in these classes and give people a taste of what your food offers. (Just be sure to follow all local legal food safety protocols.)

Thirdly, host competitions and charge customers a small amount if they want to participate. For example, you could charge customers $1 to guess the number of sweets in a big jar. Then, donate that money to local fundraisers and charity organizations.

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4. Use Competition and Game Nights to Your Advantage

Using the spirit of competition to create entertainment for your guests will always work in your favor. It gives people a chance to be their best and win something in return. Nobody lets an opportunity like that pass by.

The bad news is you can’t just hold any competition. These exclusive events should resonate with your audience and relate to your brand.

But the field is so widely open that you’ll never run out of ideas, no matter the type of restaurant.

Hold live trivia tournaments at your restaurant that go on for at least four to six weeks. The secret here is to create rounds that are easy to keep up with.

Make the questions short and easy in the first round, and keep making them more challenging as the game progresses. You’ll also have to eliminate participants so only two or three are left for the final. Settle small prizes for the winners of the quarter and semi-finals, too.

The final winner should get something sizable, like a free three-course meal or a $100 coupon. Otherwise, your customers could lack motivation to participate, and your event will fail before even starting.

Moreover, you can tap into the nostalgia with arcade games if you have the space and resources. Even a used arcade setup will work to turn a slow night into an enjoyable one.

It is the perfect excuse to make your customers want to stay longer. They’ll want to beat the high score and might order more drinks or desserts while they’re at it.

Dance competitions, food-eating competitions, and cooking competitions are also great restaurant event ideas for entertainment. Lastly, provide board games at your restaurant to help customers wait patiently for their food.

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5. Holiday Entertainment Is Easy To Plan

How can a discussion about restaurant entertainment ideas be complete without touching on the holidays?

This is just because people like to dine out on special occasions. It’s also because of how easy it is to plan these events. Holidays give you a built-in theme for your decorations and food and drink specials. Add candy canes and snow themes in winter and rely on spooky touches for Halloween. All you have to do is to make them stand out with proper holiday marketing campaigns.

You can hold a gingerbread house decorating competition during Christmas. Your customers will probably already be doing this at home, so why not use that to your advantage?

Or, you could host a romantic poetry competition on Valentine’s Day. The person who writes the most romantic poem for their partner wins a candlelit dinner for two.

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6. Social Media Fans Will Go Crazy Over a Photo Booth Setup

The last idea we have for this list of entertainment options is a photo booth setup. As mentioned earlier, your aim with entertainment is to make your customers promote your restaurant.

Giving them a chance to take funky, themed photos that make them go viral will make you popular in return.

Place a photo booth at the entrance with your brand elements to get things rolling. For example, if you have an interesting mascot, people will want to take a picture with it. Or, you could place cushions, swings, and couches with an aesthetic touch.

Moreover, holidays give you the perfect chance to use photo booths that resonate with those days.

For example, a romantic setup with roses and hearts will fill the air with love during Valentine’s Day. Or a spooky booth with haunted pumpkins, blood, etc., will bring the fun to Halloween.

While waiting for their food, customers can take funky pictures in these booths to pass the time and entertain themselves. Be sure to remind your customers to tag your restaurant in their photos.

The Right Entertainment Will Set Your Restaurant Apart

You probably want to keep your competitors miles behind and make your customers choose you every time. But you can’t do that without brilliant restaurant entertainment ideas.

That’s because everyone focuses on delicious food and exceptional service. But rarely do restaurant owners invest in entertainment for guests. So, implementing ideas that set your restaurant apart is worth the effort. But remember to factor in your branding when implementing any of these options.

If you want to grow your online reputation and automate your marketing campaigns, try out Beambox. You’ll be able to get more reviews automatically and manage your reputation with a few clicks.

Moreover, you’ll be able to run targeted campaigns and grow your revenues. Over 12,000 venues are using Beambox to scale their business. Do you want to be next? Start your trial today!

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