Prom goers are either loved or hated, there’s no real in between when it comes to nicely dressed teens in your restaurant. On the positive side, these kids (or their parents) are ready to drop some serious cash in the name of a night they’ll never forget. On the down side, some teens can be really self-absorbed and in large groups they can cause discomfort for other guests.
So, how can you embrace this often lucrative crowd? Start by thinking of prom goers much like a bride and groom or wedding party. Proms are much like weddings in that they:
- Require elegant attire and create a party atmosphere
- Typically highlight romance
- Cost thousands of dollars
- Are planned for months or even years in advance
- Can include large groups for dining
Now that you have a good idea of the needs/expectations of these kinds of guests, you can plan accordingly. Planning is the key word here, because teens are often still learning how to plan for themselves. If you cover all your bases, it will make the night go much smoother.
Some ways to help make prom night dinners more successful include:
- Offer a group meal that includes appetizers, entrees, drinks, and dessert for one price that includes the gratuity. Prom goers are used to splitting costs for things like limos and dinner, so this will make it easier for each guest to know ahead of time how much they will owe.
- Create prom-specific menus and packages and market them clearly. Making information easy to find and inclusive of all details will eliminate many headaches later on.
- Treat these guests like any others, with respect. They are, after all, paying just like any other. If you start the relationship off with respect, you are more likely to see it reciprocated when the guests arrive.
- Plan a menu made up of familiar foods that are typically associated as upscale. Prom goers want to feel like they are getting an adult, VIP experience but may not be as adventurous or knowledgeable as adults. Show them why you wear a chef coat, but in a relatable way.
- Considering catering prom dinners outside of your restaurant. This will give you a chance to start developing a relationship with potential customers while eliminating the possibility of a bunch of rowdy kids driving away others.
Prom is often viewed as a rite of passage, a night teens will remember forever. Capitalize on this attitude by catering to the needs and capabilities of the crowd.