Updated September 22, 2020
Blame (or thank) Silicon Valley, but formal business culture is on the decline. In fact, life as we know it has grown more laid back over the past 20-odd years. Casual Friday has become Casual All-The-Time. Weddings have moved from hotel ballrooms to rustic barns. And tuxedos gave way to suits, and then to suit jackets. Now, a simple button-down shirt is considered “dressed up.”
This de-formalization could be great news for your restaurant or non-traditional event venue.
About 92% of event planners anticipate more events will be booked outside of a hotel than just five years ago. Plus, one event planning company anticipates event demand to rise between 5% and 10% in the coming year.
That means that there are weddings, conferences, seminars, and conventions looking for interesting venues.
They need space, food, and drinks.
If you own a restaurant, what do you have?
Space, food, and drinks.
But to capitalize on this events business, you need to position your restaurant, museum, or unique event space as an option in the minds of event planners. There are plenty of ways to do this. To start, you’ll want a beautiful, professional event venue brochure.
Your event brochure will provide tons of pertinent information about your space that an event planner or bride-to-be will want at their fingertips. There is no point in wasting everyone’s time with a tour of the venue only for the client to realize that your capacity is too small for the guest list, or your space won’t fit the must-have circus tent for the event’s Big Top theme.
There is a wealth of event venue brochure templates out there that you can easily adapt to your restaurant or venue with the right colors, branding, and pictures. But what about the content?
I got you, fam. Here’s all the good stuff you need to include in your event venue brochure. Enter your email address to get handy PDF checklist for easy reference!
Note: downloading the checklist will add you to the Shift Notes email list. You can unsubscribe at any time, and I’ll never share your information!
When I first released this post in January 2020, a nationwide pandemic wasn’t really on my radar.
IT SURE IS NOW.
Hence, this update.
Just about every detail of your venue has probably changed over the past 6 months, so your brochure content needs to change with it.
You may be able to simply add a page to the beginning of your brochure, outlining the way your operations have changed to create a safer environment.
But if your changes are more substantial, you may want to start from scratch, removing any options that are no long applicable like buffets, indoor events, and dance floors. No point in highlighting features that aren’t available.
While events are going to happen, I encourage you to set the ground rules for what you will and won’t allow at your venue. There have been a few horror stories of weddings becoming hotbeds for the spread of the virus, and a clear policy of what you will and won’t allow can help the events at your venue to be successful and safe.
❒ Updated indoor/outdoor capacity
❒ Updated hours
❒ New layouts for social distancing purposes
❒ Mask policy
❒ Enhanced sanitation policies
❒ Service styles (no buffets, for example)
❒ Any touchless capabilities, like photo booths
❒ Restrictions on dance floors
❒ Updated pricing for micro weddings/minimonies
❒ Cancellation policy
Get down into the nitty-gritty. What exactly is your space like? Start with numbers.
Every event planner is going to want to know square footage and capacity. Does your restaurant or winery have any separate rooms or spaces? A deck or patio? Include square footage and capacity for the venue as a whole, and each individual space.
Next, consider the flexibility of your space. Can the dining room be made smaller for a more intimate group? Do you run a museum with several rentable exhibit halls?
Include sample layouts of the space to show what table and chair arrangements have been used in the past.
What’s unique about your space? If your restaurant is in an old bank and still has original features like a vault door, that’s incredibly cool. So talk it up in your brochure. You’re going to back all this great content up with photos, but you want to draw attention to your biggest selling points.
Space Details Checklist
❒ Total square footage
❒ Square footage of any distinct spaces
❒ Total capacity
❒ Capacity of any distinct spaces
❒ Flexibility (Can you make a room “smaller” for a more intimate group, or do you have large patio doors that can create an indoor/outdoor flow?)
❒ Sample layouts
❒ Hours available for events
❒ Anything unique about the space
❒ Any special features (outdoor space, gardens, fireplace/water feature?)
❒ Number of restrooms
By listing what services you provide, the event planner can assess what they’ll have to bring in. Your venue may appear to be within budget, but if the planner has to add a lot of rental furniture to make the space work, the numbers can get out of control.
What kind of catering will you be able to provide? You don’t have to include catering menus in your event venue brochure, but a general idea of the food you serve will be valuable. If you do anything special, like open-fire cooking or live sushi rolling, make sure to include it.
Do you have a day-of coordinator to help keep things running smoothly during the event and provide a point of contact for the event planner? Or do you offer any event planning services?
If your venue is a restaurant, it’s expected that you’ll have enough staff for the event. What about security? A small restaurant may not need event security, but a large space packed full can benefit from a few people monitoring patrons as they enjoy the open bar.
❒ Cuisine style
❒ Service styles (buffet, family-style, plated, passed apps)
❒ What dietary restrictions you can accommodate? (vegan, GF, nut-free, dairy-free, etc)
❒ Drink availability (beer & wine, full bar, craft cocktails)
❒ Event planning
❒ Day-of coordinator
❒ Staff details
❒ Security details
If your client wants to bring in a big light show, is it going to max out your electrical service? If they want to live stream the event, will your internet be able to keep up?
These technical details are things you never think about until a client is asking and you have to hunt down the answer. Find the answer once, include it in your brochure, and never have to worry about it again.
Technical Specs Checklist
❒ Internet speed
❒ Power allowances
❒ Audio/visual equipment (PA system, speakers, projector screen)
Furniture & Supplies
If you don’t do a wide variety of events, you may only have the furniture that your restaurant uses on a daily basis. That’s just fine.
But if you have any extra items like satellite bars, different linens, or lounge furniture for added seating areas, that could be another benefit. You could even charge the client a rental fee to use these items. The convenience of not having to arrange for delivery and pickup of extra furniture or linens from a third-party rental service could still be an enormous benefit.
Furniture & Supplies Checklist
❒ Additional tables or chairs
❒ Satellite bars
❒ Lounge furniture
Every event is going to be different. But there is often some sort of musical component, especially at weddings. Does your restaurant have a stationary or mobile stage for a band, or a DJ booth?
Keep in mind, you don’t have to have any of these items. But if you do have them, you’ll want to include them in your brochure. And if you find that you get requests for them often, they could be good investments — as long as they won’t be in the way when they’re not in use.
❒ Dance floor
❒ Stage or dance floor lighting
❒ DJ booth
If you’re working with a professional event planner, they will have vendors that they’ve worked with in the past. But for the DIY wedding planning couple or executive assistant in charge of the company holiday party, this event could be a first. So it’s always a good idea to include a list of trusted vendors that you’d recommend.
Some event venues require vendors to pay a fee or provide a kickback in order to be included on their preferred lists. I don’t recommend it. Unless you disclose the financial arrangement up front, it feels unethical and makes people mistrustful of the whole event planning industry.
Recommended Vendors Checklist
Details about the Surrounding Area
Big events like weddings and conferences often attract tourists to the area. So the event planners will want to know what nearby amenities will be available for the out-of-town guests. Where can visitors stay and eat? What else can they do for entertainment while they’re in town for the event?
Even though the event may just be for an evening, the out-of-towners will probably be in the area for two to three days. So you want the neighborhood around your restaurant to sound appealing. The hosts will be more enthusiastic about your venue if its location will foster a great travel experience for their guests.
Surrounding Area Checklist
❒ Nearby airports or train stations
❒ Family attractions
❒ Parks or hiking
People want to feel like their event is in expert hands. They may want a unique venue, but they don’t want an inexperienced one for a major event like a wedding or corporate seminar when they’re trying to impress their bosses.
So go through your online reviews and pick out a few of the most glowing you can find. Send a quick message to the reviewer, asking their permission to use the review in your brochure. Then add them to your brochure to prove to potential clients that you can walk the walk.
❒ Choose the best reviews
❒ DM the reviewer for permission to repost
Throughout your whole brochure, you should include the best quality photos you can afford. Show your space at its best, set up for a high-end event but before all the guests arrive. You want future clients to be able to imagine themselves in your space.
But if you’re looking for weddings, including a shot of a bride and groom can help to set the tone.
❒ Dining room photos
❒ Bar photos
❒ Tables set up for an event
❒ Photos of happy couples
❒ Food photos
❒ Stage and/or dance floor photos
One of the biggest complaints about the wedding industry specifically is the difficulty in finding pricing. Venues want to hook their clients on the space before they get down to numbers. But then clients risk wasting their time (and breaking their hearts) touring the perfect venue, only to realize it’s double their budget.
Respect the client’s time and financial limitations by being upfront with pricing. If you don’t want to include it in your brochure, fine. But build a separate one-sheet of your pricing that you can easily send out upon request. It should include package or starting rates, so event planners can tell right away if your venue is a possibility.
And if services are a la carte, make sure to list them out as well.
❒ Rental fee
❒ Food & Beverage package pricing or minimums
❒ A la carte pricing for extras like equipment rentals or tenting
Digital Brochure vs. Physical Brochure
This is a lot of information to include, which means your brochure can’t be a dinky little tri-fold on 8-1/2″ x 11″ printer paper. This event venue brochure will be several high-quality, color pages. And printing that can get expensive.
That’s why you should default to a digital version of your brochure. It will be much more affordable to create, and you can send it by email in response to any inquiries. But it may still be a good idea to have some printed copies. You can give them to particularly valuable clients, like the local event planning companies.
Once your brochure is complete, you’ll have a slick, professional asset to share with any event planners or potential clients. Your attention to detail will make your restaurant or venue look competent and experienced. And when someone is hunting for a venue for their expensive private event, that’s exactly what they’ll be looking for.
Is there anything I missed? Let me know. And if you’d like help writing your restaurant or event venue brochure, drop me a line!