Supper clubs are so completely different from restaurants – and that’s exactly why our diners love them! Guests get to eat amazing food whilst exploring different venues in London, chatting with new people and meeting exciting chefs.
As well as dining experiences, supper clubs are social experiences too which is why the hosting of your event needs to be at the very forefront of your mind. Cooking the food is only 50% of the battle. Diners will come back to you again if they like you and you provide an experience that they feel is special. So, here’s our top tips for making your events amazing!
Before guests have even stepped foot through your door, there’s a few things you can do to make them confident of an amazing evening ahead!
- QUESTIONS – It’s likely you’re going to be asked a few questions from guests before the event. Be sure to respond to these as quickly as you can to create a great first impression.
- SPECIAL REQUIREMENTS – If guests have dietary requirements, be honest if you can or can’t accommodate. You might not have the capacity to be able to cater for everyone and it’s better to be honest rather than have problems at the event! For those that you can cater for, be sure you’re making a careful note.
- EMAILS – It always help to set up an evening nicely by sending a personal email to guests beforehand. Give guests a taste of what to expect and let them know any other important details (e.g. timings, directions, transport information, whether they would need to bring some extra cash if it’s not BYOB, e.t.c.).
The first few minutes of arriving at the supper club are some of the most crucial!
- As guests arrive, be sure to greet them and let them know where to go. Especially, if you have some supper club newbies amongst the crowd, guests can feel a little awkward when they first arrive so a warm welcome will quickly put them at ease!
- If your event is larger and you’re not able to greet everyone individually, you should have someone to greet guests and show them to their table. We always recommend setting the scene with a little pre-dinner speech to introduce yourself and set the evening off nicely.
- Try to put yourself in the guests’ shoes and anticipate what they might need. Let them know where they can leave their coats, where the toilets are, where they can store any bottles they’ve brought with them and where they can get glasses/water.
A FUN, COMMUNAL ATMOSPHERE
Supper Clubbers are a social bunch so if they’re sitting around a communal table, it shouldn’t be long until they’re all introducing themselves and nattering along like old friends. However, here’s some things you can do to encourage a warm atmosphere….
- Communal tables are a must! Many supper clubbers come to events on their own so they won’t be happy to find themselves on a table by themselves! If you have single bookings, make a note of those coming alone and be sure to make a special effort to include them and sit them with smaller groups.
- Be social yourself. What makes Grub Clubs special is the ability to meet the chef so be sure to introduce yourself and make guests feel welcome.
- Sharing plates can help to foster a sense of community around a table. If you’re serving nibbles, use big plates in the middle of the table so guests can pick at them while they get to know each other.
- Loyal customers are the mark of a successful Grub Club and what will get them coming back for more is YOU! Introduce guests to others and be sure to explain the food/dishes between each course.
SETTING THE SPACE
Your venue doesn’t have to be an 18th century church or an abandoned tube carriage to make the setting special. Fun decor, music and personalised table settings all help to make your guests’ experience unique:
- Think about the practicalities of your space first. Make sure there’s space for people to drop off their coats and bags. Likewise for BYOB, you’ll need to free up fridge space for any alcohol that needs cooling as no one likes warm lager!
- Be sure to figure out potential smoking spaces and storage areas. If using an external venue, be sure to leave it clean and tidy afterwards.
- Depending on your venue, you may not be able to edit the decor so try to pick venues with lots of character to start with. If you can’t change the decor too much, candles and flowers can really change the mood of a space with the right arrangement!
- Lay printed menus on the table and include your twitter handle to encourage people to share photos of their night with you. Adding in personal details like name tags can also really make a big difference to guests’ experiences.
- Put on some music in the background of your event to create a lively atmosphere and help set the mood.
FOOD + LOGISTICS
The logistics of running a supper club shouldn’t be underestimated. Even if you’re a professional chef, running a supperclub is a whole other kettle of fish! Now, you’ve not only got the cooking to worry about but the admin of running an event and hosting your guests as well. Here’s a few things to think about in particular…
- Practice recipes thoroughly and make sure you’re completely confident cooking for the number of people that will be attending.
- Excellent food needs to be balanced with a warm, friendly atmosphere which means that you need to balance your focus too.
- Allow time to step out of the kitchen to meet your guests and talk them through the dishes. Depending on the size of your event, it will impossible for you to be a host, chef and server all at once so utilize helpers in the kitchen and front of house.
- Think carefully about timing for food prep, service, sittings, etc. It’s not a restaurant but still needs careful planning on timing e.g. If there are three courses, what time should dessert come out?
- Always make sure that your event finishes with plenty of time for guests to catch the last train/tube home.
If you’re starting slowly, getting organised, thinking creatively and letting your personality (and cooking!) shine, you’ve got all of the ingredients to make one hell of a supper club.
See more advice and find out more about setting up your own supper club with Grub Club HERE.