How to Get More Group Reservations at Your Restaurant

Apr 25, 2023 1:03:58 PM

When you get down to it, the success of your restaurant depends on having guests at your tables. Consequently, larger group reservations can significantly contribute to the profitability of your business.

Still, attracting large crowds can be challenging for many restaurateurs, as they may not have a clear idea of how to promote their restaurant as an ideal destination for groups.

However, we’re here to help.

In the following sections, you will learn about the techniques you can use to secure more group reservations at your restaurant. 

We will explore some tactics and creative approaches that cater to different customer needs and preferences, and effectively utilize various opportunities. 

So, get ready to unlock your restaurant's full potential.

Create Special Offers for Large Groups

To start off, consider crafting attractive deals to increase the number of group reservations at your establishment.

Special offers are particularly appealing because they can entice potential customers to choose your restaurant over the competition, and make their dining experience more memorable. 

For instance, consider a promotion that offers free meals depending on the size of the group that comes to dine at the restaurant.


Source: Facebook

When you create an offer like the one illustrated above, a group of friends can see it as an opportunity to both save money and enjoy a unique dining experience together. 

An offer like the one provided by Mumbai’s Sigree Global Grill can be especially intriguing for groups that are cost-conscious and looking for an affordable night out.

A range of many other incentives can be used, like some of the following:

  • Gift cards
  • Bill discounts
  • Free drinks or desserts
  • Special group menus

A practice often employed by restaurants that want to attract group reservations is to design a unique menu specifically for large parties. 

Take a look at the strategy employed by the London-based eatery Benares, shown next.


Source: Benares

Benares offers four special menus for groups of nine guests or more. 

When a group reservation is made, guests pick the menu that they find the most appealing beforehand, and all dishes from it are prepared and served on the day they dine at the restaurant. 

The dishes are served family-style, in large plates that can be shared among the group so anyone can have a taste, without the diners having to stick to one dish for the entire meal.

There are two benefits to this practice. 

First, the diners get to try a variety of dishes and share their experience, which adds to the social aspect of the occasion. 

Additionally, this approach makes it easier for the kitchen to prepare and serve the meals, as the dishes that need to be cooked are decided upon ahead of time.

By crafting similar special offers, you can increase the likelihood of large groups choosing your restaurant for a unique dining experience.

Focus On Attracting Specific Groups

To understand what kind of special offers you should create, you must have a clear idea of what kind of groups you want to attract.

Different groups of people have different preferences and priorities when it comes to dining out. 

You need to know your target groups and what they look for, tailoring your offers and restaurant experience to match their needs and wants.

To do this, you might want to create a buyer persona for your restaurant, which is a research-based representation of your ideal guest.


Source: Quora

As covered by the Quora user above, creating a buyer persona involves taking into account various demographic and other details, such as age, gender, income level, or general tastes.

For instance, you might want to target a specific generation of guests, so you’ll have to look into their dining preferences.


Source: TheRail

The data shows that younger diners are more open to experimenting with dishes than older guests. 

So if your restaurant's target audience includes Millennials or Gen X, adjusting your menu to include more innovative options may be beneficial.

Or, consider the psychological characteristics of your diners, like their motivation for visiting your restaurant. 

Are they busy professionals that like to have a group dinner after work, or parents and caregivers that set up large and pleasant family gatherings for special occasions?

Whichever group you wish to attract, it’s essential to market your restaurant and your unique promotional offers, so that you can reach those likely to respond positively to them.

To accomplish this aim, you’ll want to utilize targeted marketing strategies.

For instance, you might want to find your customers via Facebook and Instagram audience targeting.


Source: Karola Karlson

The screenshot above demonstrates how easily you can create custom audiences on Instagram to reach the specific groups you want to attract, picking their demographics like location, age, and gender, along with more particular traits such as their interests and preferences.

In the end, catering to specific groups and marketing directly to them is likely to boost reservations and cultivate a dedicated customer base.

Stay On Top of Local Events

However, you don’t have to be solely focused on your guests, as you can expand your restaurant's reach by incorporating local events and organizing unique experiences around them.

Local events present an excellent opportunity for restaurateurs to attract more group reservations.

People often gather in larger groups to socialize during or after major public events and festivities. 

These occasions create a natural demand for dining options, as people often seek out nearby eateries to share a meal. 

The events you can devise special offers for range from annual holidays and festivals to specific sports matches and cultural events in your community.


Source: Tablein

By staying informed about what's happening nearby, you can create promotions and offers that attract the groups of people attending these events. 

For instance, you could provide discounted meals to customers who present a concert ticket before or after a concert at a nearby venue. 

Or, you might create unique menu items representing a specific sports team and offer discounts to fans dressed in the team's colors, ready to catch the game at your establishment.

Annual holidays are another type of event you can prepare for well in advance. 

Let’s take the holidays for May, for example.


Source: GetBlend

The fifth of May is Cinco de Mayo, a popular Mexican holiday celebrated by many people worldwide. 

To make the most of this event, you can craft unique promotions tailored to the spirit of the celebration. 

For instance, you can follow Mexi-Go's example—the Dallas establishment created this special offer for the event.


Source: Mexi-Go

Mexi-Go's strategy of providing drink and food specials, giveaways, and exclusive celebration packages is an excellent way to attract group reservations.

The restaurant creates a festive atmosphere that appeals to groups of friends, families, or coworkers looking to celebrate Cinco de Mayo together while getting enticing specials and affordable deals at the same time.

Staying informed about local events lets you create unique offers during these periods, strategically positioning your restaurant for group reservations and potentially getting a large volume of guests.

Incentivize Group Reservations on Slow Nights

Even though big events can significantly boost your sales, you need a strategy for slow nights as well.

Devising a plan for these quieter periods allows restaurant owners to optimize their space usage and increase revenue since it enables them to attract guests at times when tables would usually remain empty. 

In short, focusing on non-peak periods will make the most of your available space, ensuring a steady income.

To balance out the busy and slow nights, start by pinpointing your less active days. 

The following image shows the most common slow days for restaurants.


Illustration: Tablein / Data: SFC

Typically, the slowest days for restaurants are Mondays and Tuesdays, as people are still recovering from their weekends or getting back into the workweek groove. 

September can also be a slower month for some restaurants, as families are busy with back-to-school preparations. 

However, it's important to identify the specific slow days and hours for your restaurant, as they can vary depending on your location and target clientele.

To make this process easier, you can use Tablein.

Tablein is a feature-rich piece of software that provides a comprehensive solution for managing restaurant reservations and bookings

Among the features showcased in this product tour, Tablein offers a reporting dashboard that gives you detailed and relevant information conveniently summarized and easily accessible anytime. 

You use this data to make informed decisions that will help you optimize your business operations.

One statistic you can view on this dashboard is your most booked hours.


Source: Tablein

Let’s say that the data Tablein provides shows that your slowest days are Mondays and Wednesdays.

How can you use this information to turn these slow days profitable?

You can get creative and organize events and promotions that will be too tempting to resist.

For example, you could host a "Monday Mixer" night, offering guests after-work group discounts or exclusive menu items. 

Alternatively, you could organize a "Wednesday Trivia Night", drawing in groups of friends eager for a fun and engaging dining adventure.

So, don’t get discouraged on your slow nights, and get creative devising ways to attract more reservations.


Throughout this article, we have shared various approaches that can help you attract and accommodate more group reservations at your restaurant. 

We believe that by embracing these strategies, you can create a welcoming environment for larger parties and facilitate more reservations.

The key takeaway is that a tailored and flexible approach can lead to more group bookings and increased revenue. 

As you apply the insights provided in this article, you will help your restaurant thrive as a popular destination for group dining experiences. 

Slowly start adopting some of these strategies, and watch your restaurant flourish as a sought-after venue for memorable group events.