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2020 Party and Celebration Ideas - customers still want your help!

Suddenly every restaurant and cafe has done a 180° turn, and now you’re selling takeaway food & drinks - individual meals, family packs, hampers, cocktails and read-to-cook meal packs. Even if they can't go out, customers still want you to prepare the food and drinks, and make eating and entertainment easy!

Ready to get your mojo back?

Extend your Menu range:

* Meals for one or more as usual – you’re already doing this, but they can be dressed up for special events

* Desserts as an add-on - simple and delicious

* Large size portions for 3-6 people - pastas, curries and 'wet dishes' work well and look abundant

* Meal Packs ready to cook - nice and easy with a recipe and plenty of it pre-made eg the dessert and starters

* Hampers for special occasions - cheese, cold meats, crackers, bread and treats

* Wines at reasonable prices, especially labels that can't be obtained at bottle shops

* Cocktails pre-made and mixer sets eg bottles of Aperol, Prosecco and soda water plus 2 glasses and the recipe, all ready for Aperol Spritz at home!

* Birthday Celebration Meals - don't forget the 40th, 50th, 60th & 70th birthdays, and offer to organise a cake and wine as part of the service. Even baby's first birthday has become a huge event for new parents - how can you help?

* Special Occasion Meals - wedding anniversaries, retirement, anniversary of moving house etc. By making suggestions you get people thinking of you as the place with solutions.

Brighten up the Order Menu and Delivery Bag:

* Suggest people include an SOS gift card for someone special – share the link so they know how

* Use the free online Canva design app to create bright, original social media images, menus and posters - they have templates for everything

* Order party favours and gimmicks for special days from an online specialist 

* Go beyond social media for promotion - it's time to start sending Email and SMS as well

* Encourage people to use your #hashtag - put this on your menus, social media and posters. Don’t have your own #hashtag yet? Make it up!

Plan to Celebrate Every Month...

May - Mother’s Day, Sunday 10th May

It's always been a huge event, and let's keep it that way! Promote it well in advance and put together special promotional menus, not just the usual fare. Create family meal options, and meals that could be sent to a mother or parents dining on their own.

Theme Ideas: print a special menu, include a Mother's Day card, offer to add a bunch of flowers, scented candle and wine as an extra. Ask staff to share photos of themselves with their mother on your Facebook Page - it's a nice personal touch. Take it further by asking customers to share about their mother too. Do up a sheet of quotes about mothers that you like, and include it in delivery bags.

June - Queens Birthday Holiday, Monday 1st June

It's a long weekend in most states, and this promotion can run in the week before and after. Find some extra dishes with a royal connection - here's a bunch of menu ideas to get you started

Theme Ideas: include some royal family trivia in the delivery bag, or add a royal flourish with some fake crowns you can get from Look Sharp (bonus: if recyclable!).

July - Christmas in July all through the month.

In the southern hemisphere, Christmas comes twice a year for savvy restaurants. Traditional roasts and vegetables, vegetarian options, seafood and puddings

Theme Ideas: add bonbons, include a Christmas card, add a page of Christmas trivia on a flyer in the delivery bag, dress up your social media pages for the occasion.

August - celebrate Travel memories.

Ask customers and staff to share travel pictures and memories on social media, and business owners as well. Ask where's the first place people are heading to when they get the chance. This month lets you theme it according to your ethnic style, or anyway you want.

Theme Ideas: ask people to post travel photos on Facebook, and to suggest YouTube travel videos to embed on your Facebook Page. If you're a Greek restaurant, share travel pictures from Greece, or Vietnamese restaurants, photos from Vietnam... you get the idea.

September - Fathers Day is Sunday 6th September

Dad's often been the one left out with restaurant celebrations, especially compared to Mother's Day. Let's make up for it this year. Time for some special menu items that will appeal to dads and grandfathers - smoked meats and vegetables can be a treat if that fits your menu style. Plus hearty desserts and a range of craft beers - don't be afraid to use a few cliches, and your sense of humour!

Theme Ideas: sport, handyman, 'silent type' or the 'provider'? Here's a bunch of funny e-cards to inspire you ;)

October - Halloween is on 31st October

You've got a whole month to prepare. In New Zealand this is more about dressing up and kids walking the street for trick-or-treat, but there are great recipes you could use for inspiration - Google for some ideas.

Theme Ideas: add some ghost-hunting stories on social media, find costumes for staff and include halloween chocolates in delivery bags. There's lots of fun or spooky content on YouTube you could add to your Facebook page - just paste in the video link.

November - Chocolate Month

What is it about chocolate that gets people so excited and irrational? Make this month all about adding on desserts with meal orders, or special treats with coffee, but there are also a quite a few savoury recipes that include chocolate.

You can also include some information about why chocolate is so addictive in a flyer for the delivery bag, and on your social media. On your Facebook page, add some YouTube videos on where chocolate comes from and how it is made - lots of delicious options, just paste in the video link.

Theme Ideas: chocolate is often presented with purple or red for a luxury touch - see how you could make this classy with coloured napkins or packaging. Canva has some great chocolate design ideas for menus and images. After dinner mints? They're a bit old fashioned, but maybe this is the month to share them?

December - Christmas parties, and the big day on Friday 25th December

Instead of a month of Christmas parties to cater for, we now have to find ways to send the cheer to groups of one or two or families.

There are three events you can cater for: celebration parties at home, the boss's Thank You gift, and the big event on Friday 25th. 

Theme Ideas: add bonbons and small decorations to the delivery bags, and include a hand-written Christmas card. Find a Spotify list of festive tunes (that don't suck) - add this to your social media and email or SMS communication. Add a small Christmas gift for orders over a certain amount.

This article was written by SilverChef, a leading hospitality distributor in ANZ.