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5 theme night ideas to try at your restaurant

Posted by Emily Tatti on Apr 15, 2015 9:00:00 AM

Theme nights can be great for generating buzz about your restaurant, especially during the week, when business inevitably slows down.

There are the usual choices, of course, like trivia nights and Taco Tuesdays, but creativity can go a long way when it comes to marketing your theme night. It’s just a matter of coming up with something that suits your restaurant’s image, and avoiding an event that disrupts your regular clientele.

Here are 5 unique theme night ideas to help you get planning.



1. TV theme nights


Game of Thrones themed restaurant night.pngPhoto: All Men Must Dine


If Netflix’s staggering popularity is any indication, people love their TV, probably more than they have at any other point in history.

So use this to your advantage: piggyback off a popular TV show and run a theme night in its honour. Gastro Park in Sydney hosted a five-course Game of Thrones feast to celebrate the show’s release on DVD. The menu included ravens made out of squid ink battered piquillo peppers and 'eyeballs' with liquid mozzarella centres.

As you can imagine, it completely sold out.



2. [Insert your odd holiday here] events


Eat what you want day.png
Who wouldn't love an Eat What You Want event?


Halloween is so passé. If you jump on an unusual international holiday during a quiet lull, you won’t have to compete with other restaurants for attention. Here are a few odd occasions that would be perfect for a venue (courtesy of daysoftheyear.com):

EVENT CALENDAR 

JANUARY

  • Tempura Day – Jan 7th
  • Strawberry Ice Cream Day – Jan 15th
  • Appreciate a Dragon Day – Jan 16th
  • Popcorn Day – Jan 19th
  • Celebration of Life Day – Jan 22nd
  • Opposite Day – Jan 25th

FEBRUARY

  • Frozen Yoghurt Day – Feb 6th
  • Pizza Day – Feb 9th
  • White Shirt Day – Feb 11th
  • Eat Ice Cream for Breakfast Day – Feb 18th
  • World Bartender Day – Feb 24th

MARCH

  • International Women’s Day – Mar 8th
  • International Wig Day – Mar 10th
  • Smart and Sexy Day – Mar 13th
  • Tolkien Reading Day – Mar 25th

APRIL

  • Tweed Day – Apr 3rd
  • Scrabble Day – Apr 13th
  • Jelly Bean Day – Apr 22nd

MAY

  • Roast Leg of Lamb Day - May 7th
  • Moscato Day – May 9th
  • Eat What You Want Day - May 11th
  • Blueberry Cheesecake Day - May 26th

JUNE

  • Gin Day – Jun 10th
  • Martini Day – Jun 19th
  • Pineapple Day – Jun 27th

JULY

  • Strawberry Sundae Day – Jul 7th
  • Hot Dog Day – Jul 19th
  • Junk Food Day – Jul 21st
  • Tequila Day – Jul 24th

AUGUST

  • Coloring Book Day – Aug 2nd
  • Mead Day – Aug 5th
  • Book Lovers Day – Aug 9th
  • Best Friends Day – Aug 15th
  • Bad Poetry Day – Aug 18th

SEPTEMBER

  • Chocolate Milkshake Day – Sep 12th
  • International Country Music Day – Sep 17th
  • Talk Like a Pirate Day – Sep 19th
  • World Gratitude Day – Sep 21st
  • Love Note Day – Sep 26th

OCTOBER

  • Taco Day – Oct 4th
  • World Students’ Day – Oct 15th
  • Cat Day – Oct 29th

NOVEMBER

  • Origami Day – Nov 11th
  • Spicy Guacamole Day – Nov 14th

DECEMBER

  • Fritters Day – Dec 2nd
  • Pretend to be a Time Traveler Day – Dec 8th
  • Chocolate Covered Anything Day – Dec 16th
  • Sangria Day – Dec 20th
  • Festivus – Dec 23rd

 



3. Speed Dating Nights


Speed dating night.png
Photo: Look Mum No Hands

Speed dating nights tend to attract people who are new to the area, so they are a great opportunity to introduce newbies to your restaurant. And your bar sales will benefit from the nervous attendees who need a little liquid courage before the event kicks off. Make sure you stock enough wine or drinks, it will help your single minglers ease their nerves. 

Try partnering up with a local dating service, or run the event on your own with the help of an outgoing MC. Take a look at these quirky dating events for inspiration when planning something a bit different.



4. Test kitchen nights


Test kitchen nights.png


Recette
in New York hosts special Test Kitchen nights, where chef and owner Jesse Schenker shuts down regular service and trials new dishes on a select group of guests. 

This works well in two ways – it allows the restaurant to promote the event as something exciting and exclusive, and it allows staff to gain valuable feedback on the menu. 



5. Around the world nights


Italian themed dinner.png


During the last five years, sophisticated Italian restaurant Vini has become famous for its Regional Dinners, which transport customers to a different region of Italy every Tuesday. These four-course dinners cost $50 a head, and they sell out weeks in advance.

San Francisco restaurant Jardinière also offers a themed pre-fixe menu every Monday night (called the Monday Night Supper Club). These dinners are inspired by different locations around the world. The most recent event was an Across the Pond night, which featured classic British dishes like Yorkshire pudding.

Again, it’s about the exclusivity – foodies want to be the first to try new and authentic dishes that aren’t available to the general public. Despite the fact that this tasting menu is half the price of the regular menu, the restaurant has recorded an overall revenue increase, according to its director of operations.



When coming up with a theme night idea, it’s important not to diverge too dramatically from your menu, or you can risk unintentionally changing your restaurant’s image. 

As long as you keep the food consistent with your brand, it can be a fun way to shake up the status quo and bring in some new customers.



Serving wine at your theme night? Take our lesson now on how to stock wine for your event, with sommelier, Kristene King Thrall.   

  

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Categories: Tips for marketers, General marketing

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