The days of being a great host, standing at the door, greeting people and telling them to have a nice evening are over for restaurateurs who want to survive and grow in the competitive world of celebrity culinarians.
You don´t however need to have a show on the Food Network to be a celebrity. You can do that in the small world around you. While becoming that celebrity make sure that you also become a culinary Rainmaker- one who sells, sells, and continues to sell.
In most cases, owners seldom think of selling. We are usually comping desserts, drinks apps and entrees and this is part of the restaurant sales technique. Many owners stop there, never thinking to ask about those private parties or promoting off-premise catering. That is the job for the catering director, right?
Wrong. We should always be selling whether it is corporate lunches, summer celebrations, or just a party for friends and family. Seldom do customers think of having a private affair at a restaurant they frequent that the possibility exists that it can be done.
I have catered some of the most far fetched events in history. A boat christening in a parking lot of a boat broker was one of the most interesting. The couple were regular customers discussing the sailboat they had just purchased. They were preparing to take it across country on a trailer as soon as it was ready to be launched. The skipper was making it ready for the trailerable journey and at the same time fitting it out for an extended sail across one of the Great Lakes.
I suggested the launch party for their friends and crew. I recommended a few passable appetizers, some wine coolers, and a cheap bottle of champagne to break on the trailer hitch rather than the freshly painted bow. Two weeks late I was standing a few yards off of Highway 7 in Excelsior watching cars zoom by as hors de oeuvres were being passed. The event never would have materialized if I hadn´t suggested it.
From that one launch party I became the caterer for every boat launching on Lake Minnetonka for the next few years. THe launch party revenue soared. And then the Christmas parties began to happen. The corporate functions grew.And eventually, we started to plan theme weddings.
You need to suggestively sell your restaurant´s services. Do it while at the table of friends and guests, do it through emails, and do it while speaking with customers at your bar. Become a celebrity through sales. Make your food the most popular commodity a host can present at the party.
You will find once the word spreads, you will need to hire a staff to handle the events.