If you’re looking for a way to bring more guests into your restaurant and make ties within the local restaurant industry, an industry night is a great way to do so. Hosting a service industry night can transform a typically quiet night into a huge win for your business, and there are plenty of other benefits.
Read on to learn more about what industry night is and why your restaurant should host one!
What is Industry Night?
Industry night is a special night hosted by a restaurant that offers deals and discounts to local restaurant industry workers. Servers, hosts, chefs, bartenders, and other restaurant staff can attend industry night to take a break from serving and enjoy special deals. Often, bars hosting industry night will stay open past normal hours for service industry workers getting off their shifts late.
Industry nights are often held on Sunday, Monday, or Tuesday nights – nights that traditionally aren’t as busy, so you can turn a slow night into a profitable one, even with discounts. These nights also come after the busy weekend rush, when most industry workers need to unwind.
Why Should You Host a Service Industry Night?
Hosting an industry night is a big win for restaurants. There are plenty of reasons to host a service industry night – it brings in revenue, forms relationships with other businesses and workers in your community, and more.
Bring in Customers on a Slow Night
Industry night is often held on a slow night. This means that you can turn a traditionally dead, low profit night at your restaurant into a successful night. Even when offering significant discounts, you’ll likely profit more by hosting industry night on a slow Monday as opposed to having a slow trickle of full-paying customers.
Build a Loyal Customer Base
Not only will industry night bring customers and revenue to your restaurant on that night, but it’s more likely to build a loyal base of industry customers. If you host a regular industry night monthly, those who come are likely to come back again. If they had a great time or really enjoyed your food, they may even come back as paying customers. Industry workers will appreciate restaurants that hold industry nights to give back to workers, so they’re likely to become regulars (when they aren’t working themselves, anyway).
Improve Relationships in Your Community
Hosting an industry night helps to build relationships with other restaurants in your community. While other restaurants may be your competition, they are also neighbors, and it’s good to form a positive relationship. In the future, you may be able to use that connection to other businesses to host events together, ask for advice, and so on.
Forging ties in your local business community is always a good thing. Hosting an industry night will allow other restaurant businesses to get to know you and your restaurant, which can’t hurt.
Benefits Your Staff
Service industry workers know what a pain customers can be at times. That means that they are typically great customers themselves, and good tippers since they know how important tips are to servers. Working an industry night will benefit your staff as well, as they can expect polite customers and great tips.
Industry night can turn a slow night into a busy one, which can be both good and bad for your staff. While they might have enjoyed a calmer night, they’ll also benefit from more tables and more tips by the end of the night. Back of house staff won’t enjoy the same tips, however, so you may want to consider thanking the rest of the staff with a small bonus, a share of the tips, or some other way to say “thanks” for their help in hosting a successful event for your business.
Word of Mouth for Your Restaurant
Finally, hosting an industry night can generate great buzz for your restaurant. Happy service industry workers can spread the news afterwards, whether it’s inviting other industry friends to your next event, or just telling friends and family that they enjoyed your restaurant. Forging ties with others in your industry can generate great word of mouth for your restaurant, helping your business in the long run.
Planning an Industry Night at Your Restaurant
With all the benefits and little to no drawbacks for hosting an industry night, it’s time to start planning one for your restaurant! Hosting an industry night is relatively simple – all your really have to do is plan dates, figure out what special promotions you’ll offer to industry workers, and spread the word.
Pick a date and time for your restaurant’s industry night. As previously mentioned, many industry nights fall on a Sunday, Monday, or Tuesday, but there’s no definite rule about when you can host one. Pick a night that works for your restaurant, and ideally one that is typically slow. That way, you can bring in more industry customers without displacing or overcrowding your normal customers.
Make sure that you have ample staff for the date that you choose; if you’re expecting a larger crowd, you may need to schedule more servers than your usual slow Monday night. You should prep the staff for this night in terms of schedules but also discounts and expectations. If you’re staying open after hours to cater to late night industry workers, make sure your staff is aware in advance.
The point of industry night is that you offer some special incentive to the workers that come, usually in the form of discounts. It is up to you what discounts you offer, and it will depend on your restaurant’s offerings and profit margins. The better the promotion, the more people will be enticed to come out.
Some restaurants offer as much as a 50% discount on certain menu items. You could offer a percentage off their entire bill, half off drinks, or discount specific menu items or sections of your menu, like appetizers. Be sure to use a food cost calculator to ensure that you don’t over-discount and cost your business money.
Try Out Specials
Industry night is a great time to test promotions or specials. If you’re considering adding a new menu item, you can test it out at a discount on industry night! Service industry workers have experience and will be honest about what they liked, especially if you ask for feedback directly.
This is also a great opportunity to see how your promotions work and how profitable they are. For example, if you’re considering promoting a new happy hour special with $5 well drinks, you could test it on industry night and see how it affects your bottom line.
Ask for Proof of Work
Industry night is supposed to be for service industry workers exclusively, but it’s not unheard of for others to try to sneak in to reap the specials. Many restaurants ask for proof of employment – whether it’s an ID card, a pay stub, or some other form of proof that they work in the restaurant or hospitality industry.
Discounts and specials are often enough to drive successful industry nights, but you can consider bringing in some kind of entertainment as well. If you begin hosting regular industry nights, you can ask your guests what they’d be interested in. This is a chance for service workers to let loose, so it may be even more fun for them to perform on their own. Consider karaoke or open mic nights for industry night to add more fun and draw a larger crowd.
Promote Your Industry Night
Finally, once you have everything planned, it’s time to promote your industry night! Visit local restaurants with flyers, post on social media, or use word of mouth to spread the word about your restaurant’s industry night. Make sure that local servers and other staff know that they are welcome!
Once you’ve hosted one industry night, it can be easier to draw a crowd again. You could host it on the first Sunday of every month, or set up some similar schedule to make it easy to remember. You can also ask for emails from those who visit to invite them back, or encourage them to follow your social media channels to learn about the next event.