All the plates have been licked clean, and the guests have left your event satisfied. All that’s left now is to review whether or not those Instagram photos need filters or not.
Let’s look at how to follow up after your food and drinks event.
This step-by-step guide will show you how to…
- Evaluate the event
- Thank everyone for coming
- Ask for their feedback
- Offer them an incentive to come back
- Review the marketing
- Count the ticket sales
- Close the budget
- Prepare for the next event
Still hungry for more? Then let’s dig in.
1. Review the event
Now that the dust has settled, it’s time to look at how well the event went. Start with the big picture, and assess if any practical aspects could be improved.
Questions to ask yourself:
- Did everything go as planned and run on time?
- How well did the catering firm do their job?
- Did the venue live up to expectations?
- Would you consider working with the same partners again?
Once you know the answers to these questions, you’ll have a better idea of how to improve the next event.
Tip: Our guide to evaluating events maps out how to measure your success.
2. Send out a “thank you” note
It’s always good form to thank your guests for coming. If it weren’t for them, it would’ve just been you sitting in a room full of delicious food.
(Which doesn’t sound half bad, actually.)
You should also thank the people that helped you with the event. That includes the venue staff, and—perhaps most importantly—the catering company supplying the food.
If any part of your event was sponsored by a food and beverage company, make sure to thank them for their support as well.
3. Ask for feedback
The “thank you” email is not only an excellent way to show your appreciation, but it’s also a great way to collect feedback. Not just from the guests themselves but also from the venue and catering.
You could ask the guests some of these questions:
- What did you think of the menu?
- Was the food served promptly?
- What was the best part of the meal?
- Would you attend future food and drinks events like this one?
- Which foods would you like to see at the next event?
You can ask open-ended questions like these, or you can quantify the feedback by making them multiple choice. The latter is more useful for more substantial food and drinks events.
The feedback you want from the venue and catering company is likely to be more specific. Open-ended questions are better here, to ensure you get all the relevant details.
Don’t be afraid to give feedback to the catering company, either. It’s important to communicate well if you plan on using them again in the future.
Tip: Read our guide on free event survey tools to help you collect feedback from your dinner guests.
4. Provide an incentive to come back
You’ve thanked the guests for coming, which is kind of you. Then you’ve asked them to provide you with feedback, which is a request for their time.
Structure your email like a sandwich.
Rather than ending it with a request, provide an incentive for them to engage. There’s no better way to do that than by offering a discount on the next event.
Not only will this make them happy to provide you with feedback, but it’ll also increase the likelihood of them attending the next food and drinks event.
Tip: Read our guide on how to turn your guests into advocates by offering incentives.
5. Look at marketing data
Once you’ve received feedback from the guests that attended, you should look at how well you promoted your food and drinks event.
Your ticketing system will give you a lot of insights but won’t tell the whole story. You should also look at your email response rates and social media data.
A mailing platform like MailChimp will tell you how many people have…
- Opened your email
- Clicked the link
- Responded to you
- Unsubscribed from your mailing list
Finally, a Google Alert on your event name will reveal if it was covered by any media outlets.
Add up all those things, and you’ll have a good picture of how well you’ve covered your food event. Now the question is if those efforts translated into ticket sales.
Tip: Our guide on promoting your food event should give you all the tools you need.
6. Tally up the ticket sales
Did you have a full house? Or were there tickets left over? If you’ve used a ticketing platform to sell tickets, these numbers are a few mouse clicks away.
If your tickets weren’t sold out, then you should brainstorm some ideas for how to sell out next time. Maybe you could do a ticket giveaway on social media to create more excitement.
7. Tidy up the budget
It’s time to look at the bottom line. How much money did you make from ticket sales versus how much you’ve spent on food, drinks, the venue, and the promotion?
If you’re in the red, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ve spent money on too many things. It could merely be a matter of spending on different things.
Could you, for example…
- Find a cheaper catering company?
- Use different ingredients (if you made the food yourself)?
- Negotiate a better deal with the venue?
- Spend money on Instagram ads instead of print ads?
Another thing to consider before cutting down costs is whether you could make extra revenue from future events.
Could you, for example…
- Secure sponsorship from a food supplier?
- Sell branded event merchandise?
- Include optional extras the guests pay for?
Tip: Read our guide on how to structure your event budget like a pro.
8. Plan the next food and drinks event
With all the calculations and feedback requests out of the way, it’s time to look ahead. What will your next food and drinks event be like?
If you’re focusing on food, should the next one have a Japanese theme? Or if it’s a drinks event, maybe try a whiskey tasting rather than wine?
Hopefully, you’ve taken a lot of pictures of both food and drinks from the event that just happened. They will come in very handy for your online promotion now.
Use the images and videos to create engaging social media posts, not only for the guests that went but for future prospective dinner guests.
Cleanse your palate
You’re only as good as your last event, so now that this one’s a wrap it’s time to get back to the drawing board.
You should have a few more tools in your toolkit to make the next one even more delicious and Instagrammable than the last one.