Hosting a class to grow your restaurant & bar sales

Editorial Team

4 min read
Hands rolling sushi

Restaurant cooking classes can be a unique way to enhance and personalize customer connection to your business. While customer experience has always been king when it comes to food service, new research suggests that it outweighs price and product as the key differentiating factor for any business. The National Restaurant Association found that 70% of respondents agreed that customers want to gather on-premises and are hungry for personal connection.

Designed strategically, restaurant classes can be used to drive sales, reward loyalty, and generate word of mouth—all of which keep you front-of-mind with customers and a cut above competitors. Diversifying the entertainment experiences offered in your restaurant offers customers more reasons to visit.

Hosting a class can work toward your business goals in a number of ways. Charging for classes could serve as a revenue stream on its own, or free classes may be packaged as VIP rewards. Either way, hands-on and face-to-face interactions will offer customers a look behind the scenes they won’t soon forget. Here are a few key ways to make sure you get the most of your restaurant cooking class.

1. Target repeat customers

Customers who’ve proven their loyalty will be first in line to learn how the sausage is made. If you offer restaurant cooking classes free of charge, reserving them for VIPs can incentivize more casual customers to step up their game. Learning how a favorite dish or cocktail is prepared will only boost the personal connection felt by returning customers, and encourage them to spread their enthusiasm to family and friends. Clover Rewards can help you build customer loyalty and incentivize your regulars with special offers targeted to their tastes.

2. Invite new guests through the door

Special offers set small businesses apart. Any cafe or wine store can deliver customer favorites, but not every shop offers tastings or workshops on pairing or preparation. Hosting a class can be a great way to spark interest in new customers, particularly with modest free samples of what’s on offer. Clover Promotions can help you turn first-time customers into loyal ones with special offers that invite them to return.

3. Show off your top products

Integrating the finest of what you have to offer is the best way to entice customers to your core business. A restaurant class can also serve as a free and easy avenue for market research. Have a new product or recipe to test out? Take advantage of captive and interested parties to solicit feedback you can use prior to rollout.

4. Reveal your secrets

Got a top-secret ingredient or special sauce? Taking customers into your confidence can pay off big time in redoubled loyalty. Host a brief demonstration to tell late-night pizza patrons what goes into the perfect crust or teach java connoisseurs how to draw designs in foam. Customers won’t be tempted to try these feats at home—that’s why they come to you. But they’ll appreciate the rare candor and insight into your culinary craftsmanship.

5. Partner up with neighbors

Hosting classes can also present fun opportunities to cross-pollinate with neighboring businesses, which is a growth-driving marketing strategy for restaurants. Think of hosting a flower-arranging class in your wine bar or cafe during off-peak hours, or linking with a brewery for pairings with your QSR menu. Encouraging customers to spend quality time in places where they’re typically in and out can help them slow down and appreciate everything you offer them.

READ: 6 ways coffee shops can partner with other local businesses

6. Create a group experience

Families and co-workers are often looking for ways to bond, and learning to cook or decorate a cake sure beats bingo night. Package classes as a group outing for anything from baby showers to college graduations. There are many life skills to be learned in a restaurant cooking class—capitalize on them and bring people together in the process.

7. Market it as a unique gift

Similarly, a group class can be an outside-the-box gift for birthdays, anniversaries, or any special occasion. Loyal customers may particularly appreciate the opportunity to invite friends and family for an insider look at their favorite spot. What’s more, Clover Gift Cards make seamless work of issuing and redeeming certificates and designing specialty cards.

8. Reward participation

Every student likes a reward. Encourage enrollment by offering special incentives. Sampling during class could lead to a reduced rate on buying the full product to take home, or a discounted sit-down meal to cap off the evening. Cookbooks or face time with the chef can further strengthen customers’ bonds with your restaurant. Clover Rewards makes it easy to deliver bonuses to your best customers. 

9. Test and learn

As you try new types of classes, be sure to keep track of what topics work, who attends, and any related sales, so you can adjust your strategies with the season and tailor them to your customers. A Clover POS offers powerful analytics and customer engagement tools to help you track key metrics like revenue and performance and collect feedback from your customers.  

To learn how a Clover POS can help you engage customers, invite them to a class, and grow your business more efficiently, contact a Clover Business Consultant today.

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