Three Tips for Planning A Party

Posted on September 21, 2016 by Ash Bennett

Hosting a party in your café or restaurant can be a great way to give your business an edge. A successful party will not only satisfy the customers who ordered it but also advertise to new customers—the crowd of contented guests who will return to your business after sampling its food, drinks, and atmosphere.

So how can you make your party as fun and inviting as possible? There are a lot of elements to consider when you manage an event, but here are three of the top things to consider when setting up a party in your café or restaurant.

1. Decorations

The look of a party is important to giving it character. Your party supplies should be useful, but they should also play a role in your decorating.

Current decorating trends favour themes. For example, the popular vintage and rustic styles use twine, jars, paper straws, cake stands, doilies, lace, barrels, chalkboard signs, and wooden furnishings. Or go for a ‘green’ celebration with eco-friendly cups, cutlery, and straws among potted plants and flowers. If your restaurant or café has a particular look—urban, industrial, cosy, minimal—your party decorations can match your existing style.

Suit your decorations to the vibe of each party. Wedding receptions, for instance, tend towards elegance—think low lighting, flowers, and artfully arranged food. A birthday party will be more festive—think streamers, bright colours, and party poppers. Remember, though, that there are no rules in decorating for a party; you can adapt a style to whatever suits you and your customers. For instance, a wedding reception doesn’t have to feature porcelain plates and silk tablecloths—if you’re working to a budget, you can still fit out a party beautifully with well-chosen balloons, banners, confetti, and paper lanterns.

table with pink decorations

Your decorations aren’t merely backdrops. The supplies you choose form the mood you set for a party, and they can also be entertainment. For example, liven up a party with poppers, sparklers, and swizzle sticks, or by inviting guests to throw confetti and streamers.

party streamers

2. Food

As a café or restaurant, you already have a major element of your party covered—catering. Quality of food can make or break a party, so this is an important factor. But also consider your catering in terms of your party supplies, because the way you present your food is as much a part of your decorating as balloons and candles.

cupcakes with streamers

Small details can give your food character: add candles to your cupcakes, paper parasols or patterned straws to your drinks. Display your pastries on a cake stand—these are popular, come in a range of styles, and can be bought cheaply. Choose napkins that match your tablecloth. Use cute, colourful patty pans. Put flowers around your food trays or scatter the tablecloth with a little confetti. (Just don’t let guests mistake your confetti for candy.) The food itself can play into your theme; heart-shaped biscuits and chocolates are popular at weddings, for example.

food on a cake stand

These details may seem minor, but they bring together the many aspects of how you present your catering. When your food looks as good as it tastes, it invites more people to eat.

3. Practicalities

Decorating is a fun process, and it’s easy to overlook practical concerns as you plan festivities. While you inflate balloons and prepare a menu, remember to take into account seating arrangements, the best use of space, and the timing of when you prepare food. Also keep in mind these issues:

Indoors versus outdoors
Guests love to escape a crowded room and relax outside, particularly in warmer seasons. A courtyard or garden is an inviting place to set out seats and string up banners, lights, and streamers.

If your business has an outdoor space, use it—but don’t rely on it. Have a backup plan in case it rains, and be ready to move your decorations and party supplies inside quickly.

Consider the acoustics in your café or restaurant. If you’re planning a party with music, it’s important to make sure sound travels well. Being unable to hear a conversation over blaring music will frustrate guests, but they also won’t appreciate talk drowning out songs they want to listen to.

If your business is in a busy or residential area, also plan for the noise levels of your party, particularly if it will take place after hours.

As the organiser of a party, you’ll deal with its aftermath—disposing of trash, cleaning plates and cups, rearranging furniture. To save yourself time and effort later, plan ahead while preparing.

Use plastic and paper party plates to cut out most of the cleaning. Position bins so that guests can dispose of trash easily. Use table cloths and place mats to avoid stains, and have plenty of napkins at the ready to take care of inevitable spillage. Over-preparing is better than under-preparing, so order more than you think you’ll need—you can use leftover supplies in your day-to-day business, but running out of supplies halfway through a party can be disastrous.

Things will probably go wrong at your party—that’s how you know you’re doing it right. But if you prepare well, it will still be a success. With the right supplies, decorations, food, and planning, your party will be a fun experience with a character all its own.

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