Your restaurant can’t just be a restaurant.
Your restaurant needs to be an experience.
Great restaurants survive because they create memories for their customers. If a restaurant has done its job, diners leave feeling great about the meal, the conversation, and an experience they’ll tell their friends about.
So how do you go beyond serving a delicious meal to creating a memorable experience?
Tack on an entertainment experience that not many other restaurants are offering. We surveyed 500+ frequent restaurant goers and found that 42% of Millennials said entertainment offerings influence their decision to eat somewhere.
Here are five entertainment ideas to boost the ‘wow factor’ at your restaurant.
1. Arcade Games
Pinball machines, PAC-MAN, Tetris … if you’re experiencing deja vu, it’s because millennials want to play the arcade games of yore.
You might remember playing these classics when you were a kid, but a new generation of foodies think it’s charming to step away from the HD for some retro fun. Toronto bar Get Well is well known for its array of great arcade games served up with some pizza and a great beer selection.
If you have the room in your restaurant or bar, consider buying a couple of cheap arcade games from eBay to occupy your customers while they’re waiting for their food. Who knows, they may stay longer – and order more drinks – just to get a high score.
2. Aerial Silks
Your capacity for aerial silks depends on the size of your restaurant, so only consider this idea if you have the space.
Aerial silks have become a popular form of entertainment in nightclubs and for special events. There’s nothing quite like watching dancers fly through the air on two pieces of rope, seemingly on the precipice of death! The spectacle definitely won’t be lost on your customers, who will be sure to walk away remembering much more than the food.
3. Interactive Art
If you’re a high end restaurant who’s killing it with elite diners who have sophisticated palates, you may want to start to think beyond taste. A truly memorable dining experience taps into all five senses, and many restaurants are now incorporating otherworldly visuals and tantalizing smells into their courses to dazzle diners.
Tokyo's Sagaya restaurant partnered with teamLab, a digital arts agency, to create an immersive dining experience for their customers. According to teamLab, “when a dish is placed on the table, the scenic world contained within the dish is unleashed, unfolding onto the table and into the surrounding space. For example, a bird painted on a ceramic dish is released from the dish and can perch on the branch of a tree that has been unleashed from a different dish.” The visual elements combined with the taste of the food offers customers a much more fulfilling experience beyond dinner.
4. Slam Poetry
Slam poetry communities have begun to thrive again, and they can draw large crowds to cafes and smaller restaurants with intimate settings. Great slam poetry invokes a sense of community between poets and listeners, giving your customers a lot to talk about over a meal.
If you do choose to host a slam poetry night, make sure to bring in some larger local names alongside some open mic time for newbies. Once you get a feel for the community, you may want to scale up and host slam competitions for regular performers. Your customers will develop a relationship with your poets in a way that will keep them coming back for more events.
5. Photo Booth
Simple, classic, and guaranteed to get you some love on Instagram. Like arcade games, retro anything is in style right now for a younger generation of people who grew up in front of screens. The classic photo booth Polaroid is a blast from the past that may, ironically, end up all over Instagram with your tagged location.
If your food is on point and you’re looking for new ways to create a memorable dining experience for your customers, entertainment options are a great way to get people talking – and coming back.
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