Restaurants are some of the best places to host events at. They know how to serve large groups of people and their staff is used to perform under pressure. That being said, not all of them are created equal and even if they were, not all restaurants work for every occasion.
As a general rule, venue and catering should cost less than half of your overall budget. Keep that in mind when looking for a restaurant to host your event.
Restaurants already have their own decoration in place. Sometimes they pay interior designers good money for them so it’s understandable when owners don’t take it very well when someone asks them to change it.
As a restaurant, you can rest assured that the venue will feature everything you need when it comes to serving food, but do they have what you require to make a presentation? Are there enough energy outlets for you to connect all of the devices you must use? Do they have a screen or at least a white wall where you can project a presentation? Do they have microphones or should you bring your own?
Sounds like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised by how many events get screwed up by poor head count. The capacity changes depending on the purpose of the event, if you’re planning a dinner party for 30 people then you’ll need space for 30 chairs. If you’re having the same number of guests, but for a cocktail party instead then you can do with a smaller venue since most of the time people will be standing.
Make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into. Scout the location before arranging any meetings with the owner or manager. A good idea would be to visit the place, more than once, as a customer. Go during different times, when it’s rush hour and when it’s not. This will give you an unfiltered view of the place and how it performs day-to-day.
Nowadays there are more people than ever who have vegetarian/vegan and gluten-free diets. Also, if you’re expecting attendees from foreign countries you should pay special attention to their customs. Depending on where they come from and what religion they follow, there might be certain things that they won’t be allowed to eat. For example, Muslims won’t eat pork or drink alcohol and Hindus usually don’t eat beef.
Place (Where it’s located)
Is it easy to access to? Does it have an easy connection to public transportation? If some of the guests are coming in their own private transportation, is there a place to park nearby?
When hosting a large group, most restaurants will offer you a fixed menu and a flat rate per person. Most of the time these will include the entire meal (including dessert), several bottles of wine and even coffee, but other times it won’t include coffee or just the meal and you’d have to pay the drinks on the side. Before writing any checks, make sure you understand everything that’s included and what’s not included in what you’re paying for. It would be embarrassing for one of your guests to order coffee, only to find out that they have to pay it out of their own wallet.