As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, restaurants across the U.S. face restrictions on the number of people they can serve in their establishment. These circumstances have led many to take creative measures to connect with customers by hosting virtual tasting events, allowing patrons to enjoy restaurant offerings at home through live streaming. Check out these tips below for ways to plan and promote a virtual tasting event for your restaurant.
Things to consider while planning your event
There are many important factors to consider while planning a virtual tasting event. In comparison to traditional in-house events, virtual tastings take place through live streaming, so proper planning is crucial. Date, time, product offerings, and logistics will all play a huge role in your event’s success.
Choosing the best time and date will ultimately depend on your restaurant’s customer demographics. Late in the evening, after people are off work, is usually the best option for the majority of age groups. Mid-week or end of the week is a great time to host a virtual tasting event, as people are approaching the weekend and ready for a break from work.
Your product offerings should be a nice balance of your customer’s preferences and your restaurant’s specialty. Consider posting about the event on social media to gauge customer’s interests. Using Instagram polls to determine how many people would be interested, and what type of beverages they would be interested in, will provide valuable feedback.
For example, Italian restaurants could post wine options in Instagram polls to determine which types customers are most interested in trying. The wine could then be paired with a nice appetizer tray that compliments the wine.
After establishing your product offerings, logistics need to be confirmed. Restaurants must plan for how they will get their products to customers before the event. For example, if your business resides in a small, local town, then having customers pick up their products, or offering delivery would work well.
Promoting your event to new and existing customers
Now that you have everything planned out, it’s time to promote your tasting event to new and existing customers. Emails are a great way to reach your regulars who already subscribe to receive your restaurant’s updates. Emails should include a registration link so customers can easily sign up to attend.
Restaurants should also utilize social media to reach a larger audience. Promoting your event on social media allows people to easily share it with others and ask questions to get more event information as needed.
Live streaming your virtual tasting event
By following the planning and promotion tips above, you’ll be one step closer to hosting your virtual tasting event. However, before you get started, you must first decide which service you will use to connect with customers.
Many streaming platforms exist, such as Zoom and Skype, and they make it easy for customers to join by simply clicking a link. Regardless of which platform you choose, it’s important to have a practice round so you can test out different lighting and background options.
These platforms also offer email or text message reminders, so you can alert attendees to tune in and begin tasting together. Restaurants should also take advantage of the platform’s chat feature to keep customers engaged by allowing them to post comments and questions about the products they are tasting in real-time.
Hosting a virtual tasting event is a great way for restaurants to stay connected with customers and serve them during the COVID-19 pandemic. With proper planning and promotion, you’ll provide a fun way to connect with new and existing customers while also promoting your restaurant’s menu.
Before you host your first virtual tasting event, check out our recent blog for tips on improving your first impression on video conferencing.
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