| | Print
restaurant menu design small restaurants

Building a stellar private events menu is an art, not a science. But there are a few key factors that are sure to add a serious wow-factor to your restaurant’s private dining menu.

Below, we explore a handful of tried-and-true tips that’ll help you build a private events menu that’ll turn first-time event clients into returning ones.

Highlight signature dishes

Most likely, people are turning to your restaurant because they already like what you offer. Thus, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel when it comes to choosing dishes for your events menu. Play off the food style you normally offer and include especially popular or best-selling dishes, whether it’s an entree, app, or dessert. And call them out! Including words like “signature” or “famous” will show potential clients the iterations at which your kitchen staff excels.

Lay out all the options

The more options you present in your private events menus, the wider the range of potential clients (and guests) that you’ll be able to please. It’s wise to have at least three multi-course menu options, including a few options for each course (though there can be overlap within the different menus). You’ll also want to break down serving-style options, such as buffet-style, prix fixe picked ahead of time, or the ability to order onsite from your special events menu.

Be thorough

Can you accommodate vegans, vegetarians, and those with allergies to things like nuts, shellfish or gluten? All of this should be included somewhere on the menu, whether in a disclaimer at the bottom or with symbols (like a “v” or a leaf for the meat-free dishes) along with a key explaining what they mean. This is another reason why it’s a good idea to list out the ingredients of each dish as well, so there’s no confusion about what a guest can or can’t eat.

Think outside the multi-course box

While the multi-course meal is common for many events, having a few extra dining options (that are easy to execute) never hurts. Consider including menus for breakfast and brunch events, passed apps-only gatherings, or fun dessert-and-cocktails soirees. Offering tiered event pricing means you can consider add-ons like a DIY mimosa bar, a live chef preparing omelets, or a cupcake topping station as well if you’ve got the resources.


80% of a restaurant’s food sales come from only 16% of menu items. How do you know which ones? The perfect menu is just a click away with Upserve's Menu Builder.

Design Your Menu

The more options you present in your private events menus, the wider the range of potential clients (and guests) that you’ll be able to please.


Don’t skimp on design

Getting that prospect to sign on the dotted line and confirm their booking takes more than just mouthwatering menu items. Your private events menus should be a reflection of your restaurant. That means they should be well-designed, clearly written, and should complement your aesthetic accordingly. Whether they’re on staff or contract, it’s a good idea to have your menus designed by a professional to ensure what you show potential clients is in line with your restaurant’s brand.

Keep it convenient

We know planning isn’t as effective is the execution is flawed. That’s why it’s important to offer menu options that make sense for your space and your kitchen. You need to offer dishes that can easily remain at their desired temperature whether they’re being served or sitting on a buffet table. You also need to ensure you have sufficient staff members during the event to serve the food, clear used dishes and fulfill any requests that arise.

Written by   |  
Caroline Cox is the content marketing manager for Gather, the leading event management software platform. She spends her time crafting blogs, thought leadership pieces, case studies, social media content and more, helping empower restaurants and other event venues to streamline their planning process and grow their events programs with success. Learn more about Gather and request a live tour at gatherhere.com.
Restaurant Insider