Corporate event planning can be quite the ordeal. Here are tips for planning your corporate event from the wisdom of a restaurant Event Coordinator.
1. Plan Ahead
Busy restaurants tend to book at least a few weeks in advance, especially popular happy-hour nights like Thursdays or Fridays. Contact the restaurant coordinator ASAP to discuss availability. Even if you still need to triple confirm the date, ask for a temporary reservation for a few days until you can confirm for sure. You don’t want to have to be that person that has to tell your boss that their favorite after-work spot is already booked.
2. Know Your Audience
If you get to be the lucky one who plans and coordinates the events but doesn’t actually get to participate in the fun, make sure to survey the guests, or most importantly the host of the evening, to confirm what type of event they are looking to have; formal sit down dinner or cocktail reception that requires mostly standing. All too often guests walk in expecting one or the other just to find out that the busy restaurant cannot adjust at the last minute, based on limited space availability.
3. Limited Budget?
Most restaurants will be respectful to your budget concerns as long as they know what you are working with. When planning an event on a limited budget, don’t be afraid to share that information with the venue coordinator. They can typically offer up advice such as limiting the guest’s beverage options to beer and wine only, or to make sure your server cuts off the party tab at a predetermined amount. Early communication on this is a must!
4. Select Menu Ahead of Time
Your guests will be expecting food at the event. Make sure to plan ahead and select your menu choices in advance so that everything is ready and prepared upon your guests arrival. Most restaurants have group platter menus that require you to order a few days in advance. People ask me all the time, “why can’t we order platters the day of?” The reason for this is because kitchen managers/chefs have to pre-order their weekly food inventory to prepare for large parties, as well as the regular weekly business. Last minute large parties that forget to pre-order compromise the inventory that the chefs have prepared for the week. All the food at Bottleneck establishments is served fresh, not frozen, so there is not a lot of extra inventory at any given time.
5. Give Guests Specific Instructions
It’s helpful to specify to your guests what name the reservation is held under. Most busy restaurants will have multiple parties happening at the same time. The hosts can quickly direct your guests to the right reserved area when they give the correct reservation name. My advice is to give both the company name as well as the person’s name that booked the party. Open Table asks for both names when placing a reservation so the hosts can look under either name.
Following these tips will help to ensure that your corporate event planning runs as smoothly as the event itself!
~Erin Carroll | Special Event Coordinator | South Branch