Just because customers aren’t dining in, doesn’t mean they have to miss out on the dinners, happy hours and birthday parties of your restaurant. With the right menu and tech in-place, WiFi can be the new long table for sharing virtual dinner parties, cocktail classes and creative party-in-place experiences. From your kitchen to their dining table, here are three ways to help your customers enjoy interactive dining experiences at home.

QUARANTINE CLASSES

From cooking to cocktails, help customers recreate the live in-restaurant experiences they crave with kits and classes that are unique to your brand. 

For restaurants offering breakfast, help your customers throw a mini brunch party by offering items that could include a pancake decorating kit, a DIY Bloody Mary bar or hosting an omelet-making class. Or leverage weekly occasions like taco night with DIY taco kits, nacho bar ingredients or a how-to video on easy at-home margaritas. 

Whichever offering aligns with your brand, be sure to share your expertise on how to prepare signature recipes. Even Chipotle recently shared their coveted guacamole recipe. Start with live virtual classes from your in-house chef, or go a step further by providing all the fresh ingredients and hosting a live Q&A—like fresh dough and tips to get the best homemade pizza from a conventional oven. 

DINING FROM A DISTANCE

Eating at home doesn’t have to mean eating alone. Help customers reconnect to the food and people they miss by hosting a virtual dining event. This could be offered as a flat-price ticket that includes a set menu and invite to an exclusive live broadcast. Offer several courses and a scheduled meal pickup or delivery time to help recreate the feeling of an in-restaurant dining experience. Customers can set up their dinner in front of a device and join a video call with your chefs as they introduce each course on your preferred platform.

  • Skype offers hosting up to 50 guests
  • Zoom offers 100 guests but has a 40-minute time limit (but longer times for paid accounts)
  • Google Hangout offers 150 guests, but only 10 can be visible at once

The dinner could also include live music from a performer, a Q&A session with the chefs or even a “thank you” bounceback offer to get customers to enjoy the experience more than once. Even consider theming these dining experiences or hosting them weekly, such as “Social Saturdays,” with limited seats to drive signups.

 

VIRTUAL DINNER PARTIES

For those who prefer to dine more privately with friends, help them set the mood for their virtual dinner date with custom Zoom backgrounds of your restaurant dining room. A friend group discount, drink options and several courses are also great ways to add value for a full evening of socializing. If your restaurant serves alcohol, consider a drink or cocktail hour for one of the courses with all the fresh ingredients, recipe cards and even glassware needed to craft the occasion. 

And after the meal, help your customers keep the evening going with virtual entertainment. For example, Popeye’s is offering a dinner-and-movie deal that gives customers access to their Netflix account by sharing their password with proof of a meal purchase. 

For a more interactive experience, help your customers enjoy a game night after dinner with a $5 gift card to Jackbox Games—which allows a group to play a variety of titles together with only one account. Or suggest social games, like Chips and Guac on Houseparty, UNO! Online or Scattegories, to your customers that are available for free in Google Play and Apple’s app store.

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