Don’t Drop the Ball When the Ball Drops: 5 Tips to Prepping for NYE

Studies show that nearly half of all adults will celebrate the holidays by going out to a restaurant at least once during the last two weeks of December. As a restaurant owner, it’s no secret that this time of the year can be the most profitable few weeks of your entire fiscal year. Office parties and family gatherings are often spread out over a few weeks span, but the one day that you can ensure will be packed is New Year’s Eve. Follow a few of these tips to ensure that your customers have a great dining experience on one of the most memorable evenings of the year.

Prep for Crowds

Preparation is key to being able to successfully host a New Year’s Eve event at your restaurant. Plan early and stick to your plan throughout the days before. Figure out seating accommodations for larger parties, as well as if you’ll need additional staff to service a full restaurant. Hiring some seasonal help may be beneficial if employees have already requested off during the holidays.

Build a Creative Menu

When people come out for New Year’s Eve, they want to have a unique experience. Your menu is the perfect opportunity to create items that will appeal to both large and small groups. Perhaps you’ll offer a prix fixe menu from 8-10, followed by appetizers and open bar until midnight. Be sure to keep your clientele’s needs in mind. If you’re restaurant offers a more intimate experience, than chicken wings and fries may need to be skipped over in favor of a decadent dessert or champagne toast.

Offer Drink Specials

Regardless of what night of the week it may be, on New Year’s Eve, customers are going to have a few drinks and party. It’s no surprise that alcohol sales from Thanksgiving to New Year’s amount to over 40 billion dollars globally. Many establishments offer an open bar to customers who are coming to celebrate the ball drop with them. If your restaurant isn’t taking that approach, make sure your inventory is fully stocked and offer some creative drink specials and champagne to guests as they dine.

Bring in the Band

Live entertainment always makes an evening more fun. Whether you choose to bring in a live band, DJ, guitarist, etc., choose something that will be in line with your clientele’s desires. A fine dining establishment may elect to hire a piano player to play classic hits, while a bar will surely want to bring in a DJ or live band that will keep the dance floor bumping right on through to the next year. If you’ll be bringing in entertainment with the intention of having guests dance, be sure that there is ample space in the establishment for guests to “bust a move” without disrupting any other guest’s dining experience.

Be Prepared

A New Year’s Eve event can provide a restaurant and its employees with a very substantial payday if the event goes off without a hitch. Because of the nature of the event, it’s a safe bet to assume that you’ll end up with a few patrons who have overindulged on alcohol. Be sure that your wait staff and bartenders are properly trained to identify and respond to drunken patrons, as well as knowing tactics to prevent them from becoming further intoxicated. Speak with your insurance provider before the event to find out if there are any lapses in your coverage that could leave your restaurant exposed to liabilities brought forth from the event. It’s also a good idea to look into alternative methods for your patrons to get home if they’ve had too much to drink. Ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft often have discounts they offer to new customers so make it known as guests arrive that drunk driving is not an option!

The most important part of hosting a New Year’s Eve event is to make sure that everyone has fun and is safe. It is a celebration after all, so once the night is underway, take some time as the owner to reflect on how far you and your business have come over the last year. Happy New Year from the Restaurant Programs of America family to yours!