We speak with three artists who hold their events in F&B (food and beverage) venues and ask for their best practise recommendations on everything from ticket price to adding value, community development, and spotting partnerships.
A increasing number of restaurants, cafes, bars, and pubs are ready to open their doors to a growing schedule of live seminars, workshops, and activities, which organisers are using as a way to save costs and add a social component to their events.
Then, how do you find a good location and reach a deal that allows you to promote your events to prospective attendees? Meet Logan Gunasingham, the brains behind REZtron’s well-liked gaming brunches, Catherine Dolan of Handmade Workshops, who has led around 300 creative courses in pubs across south-west London, and Viki of Twiddle, who conducts Italian-themed cooking lessons from a restaurant in Sheffield. These three seasoned event planners have been collaborating with nearby companies for a number of years, building partnerships and improving their services along the way.
The following six important lessons from them are as follows:
1.Know what you want from a venue.
The key, according to Catherine, is to understand what’s necessary to operate your event and what components will result in the greatest experience for guests. She advises event planners to create a checklist of needs before seeing any prospective venues:
“A bar is the ideal setting to learn to crochet while enjoying a glass of wine since we aim to deliver a joyful experience, not an academic atmosphere. Additionally, huge, open-plan locations don’t generally work for us since we entertain small groups—usually no more than eight individuals. We need a location that is apart from the main activity, such as an alcove or a booth. In general, Monday through Wednesday are the evenings we reserve venues, and we make sure our activities don’t clash with quizzes. Do they have loud music playing? Can we see big TV screens? Because if there is a large football game, it won’t function.
For Logan, practical needs consist of excellent audiovisual gear and a flexible gaming space. “My recommendation would be to conduct a lot of research and look at internet evaluations from both the staff’s and customers’ points of view,”
He also looks for locations that complement the theme of the event. “We’re all about fusing our vintage gaming events with the current components of the venue, which is why we search for chic places like rooftop pubs with incredible views of London.”
For Viki, it’s crucial to choose a location that supports your ideals and to give serious thought to the communities you want your event to be affiliated with. “I couldn’t teach my culinary class at a subpar location, but I’ve eaten there, I know the chef, and I know the cuisine is of high quality. Therefore, it’s an excellent fit.
3.Develop a contract
Whether you want to establish a long-lasting connection with one venue or many venues, it might take some time to identify viable venues and to establish confidence. Additionally, Viki advises that you speak with the person you want to rent space from and lay out the details of the agreement as soon as you’ve chosen a location you want to work with.
“This implies that both parties must respect each other’s limits and be open and honest about their wants and expectations. I’m in compliance and work for a law company during the day, so I am aware of how crucial it is to take all reasonable precautions to avoid misunderstandings in the future. By making sure I leave everything neat and in the same condition as when I found it, as well as going above and above what was agreed upon, I help to foster confidence. For instance, if there are any changes to the way a forthcoming event is being organised or if I want more refrigerator space.
Viki also gets the chance to use the restaurant’s utensils and china while packing her vehicle with boxes of pre-made snacks and supplies for each occasion. It’s a lifesaver for me since I won’t have to provide these items and can still locate what I need if I miss anything, like a bowl.
4.Twiddle class for spaghetti
This additional assistance provided by the facility to Logan includes employees. “We seldom ever employ our own personnel. Instead, we use the crew that is on hand, which is a significant cost reduction.
5.Utilize each and every chance.
Collaborating with neighbourhood restaurants, cafés, bars, and pubs to hold events requires being open to possibilities, from identifying a market niche to creating a community. This required Logan to reach out to a different demographic by capitalising on the recent boom in the popularity of brunch gatherings.
We first operated in Shoreditch, catering to the after-work population. A year and a half later, we moved to locations in Clapham, where we concentrated on pre-party, weekend events with a club night or silent disco after the gaming. However, he was inspired to introduce endless brunch packages by the rising popularity of daytime gatherings. “We tapped into our past event goers, and I’d guess that today, generally, 50% of the population are repeat attendees and 50% are completely new audiences who simply want to come for a more laid-back, midday party.
The crew has been able to be a little bit more adventurous, according to Catherine, because to the flexibility and reduced overheads connected with F&B venues. It’s far less stressful to reserve a table at a bar than it is to hire a more formal place and spend quite a bit of money if we’re holding a new course and are unsure of how popular it will be.
While Viki admits that waiting for the ideal situation might be appealing, doing so runs the danger of restricting your options: “Be open-minded and consider your network. Go for it if you can see a connection to what you provide or the opportunity to help a cause in your neighbourhood. I’d estimate that 80% of my business comes from folks contacting me once I put myself out there and explain what I do.
6.Show value to attendees and locations
It’s wise to take advantage of places when they are empty or quiet since restaurants and bars need customers more than ever right now, advises Logan. While for participants, a package that includes breakfast, a live DJ, and vintage games will be far less expensive than purchasing these experiences individually. Additionally, participants often stay around for an additional two to three hours after playing our games, which means they will spend more, which is unquestionably a huge benefit for venues.
In other words, it involves selling the benefits to the venues while making sure the attendees feel like they are receiving their money’s worth. And by adding a drink to the ticket price for each participant, Catherine believes that she has added value. “There is a chance that someone may order something pricey, but that way we can ensure the bar will make money. We’ve utilised a couple venues where you pay a hiring charge and provide the beverages in the past, but we want our tickets to be affordable for most people, so we can’t really pass that cost on.
Additionally, she adds, venues are aware that they must provide more than just a place for people to consume food and beverages, and by organising a variety of events, they may be able to outperform their regional rivals. We warn venues that what they get over the long run may differ from what they receive now.
In other words, events bring individuals who may not have known about them otherwise, but who later decide to schedule a return trip, to their attention.
7.Consider promoting during the whole course of your event.
Simply put, social media. Never undervalue the power of a simple repost or tag to engage new audiences, develop trust, and gain reputation. Promoting ticket sales, taking pictures and videos while the event is happening, encouraging user-generated content by using a hashtag, and following up with attendees to get their comments are all part of mastering social media for events. And all three of its developers agree that it is a potent instrument. “While we publish their updates on our channels, the venue may share our postings to draw attention to what’s occurring and show their followers what’s going on. We generally each get a few followers as a result of doing this, and it’s fantastic PR for both of us
Additionally, make it simple for visitors to see one of your events while they are happening. “When we take over a portion of our bar, the patrons can tell what’s going on because of our banner. Additionally, we always have flyers with us that we may give out to anybody who shows interest, explains Catherine.
8.Continue to refine your offer
We’ve previously spoken about audience feedback, and Viki is already updating her workshops to better serve both the requirements of the market and her students while also benefiting the proprietor of the restaurant where she does her events. We thought of working together and combining our expertise to create a package when a hen party requested a cocktail-making class to follow my pasta-making lesson. While the venue has the chance to make more revenue beyond renting, the guests have a more enriching experience.
While for Logan, free events have proven to be an effective marketing strategy in addition to being a wonderful method to test and trial new ideas. “We get the chance to demonstrate our skills in a space that could otherwise be vacant. Additionally, by having attendees register through Eventbrite, we were able to acquire a tonne of data that we can use to promote subsequent events.
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