Looking to increase growth at your restaurant? Could your business use an extra helping of entertainment along with those eats? If you wish to broaden your audience and start turning larger profits on the back end, you and your restaurant could certainly benefit from some eatertainment attractions.

What is eatertainment?

With people heading back to indoor dining and indoor events – once mainstays of everyday life pre-pandemic – socializing and activity opportunities that take place within restaurants are becoming a more popular trend among friendship circles. These opportunities are becoming more commonly known as eatertainment.

With eatertainment, it’s all about cultivating an experience – in addition to great drinks and a fun food menu. The most successful examples of restaurants that can be called a bona fide eatertainment venue are those that pair interactive gaming, engagement, or other high-energy activities like karaoke or dancing with quality dining. The result: an elevated, nightlife-style experience that patrons are likely to come back to and frequent more often than a traditional restaurant.

Why eatertainment?

It’s important for restaurant owners who aren’t satisfied with stagnant growth to experiment with the latest industry trends – and now has never been a better time to capitalize on audiences who are ready, willing, and able to get out of isolation and spend their disposable income on socializing.

Eatertainment venues create increased opportunities for business by incorporating fun activities into an already dynamic outing. It’s truly all about creating an ultra-cool experience. By elevating the experience, patrons who enter your space hoping for a fantastic meal, complemented with crafted cocktails and a solid beer and wine list, are also more inclined to stay and spend more money if there is an activity to keep them engaged. And if the activity is appealing enough, they’re more likely to return more often.

eatertainment restaurant with karaoke

What's more, eatertainment venues are popular destinations for those who like to chronicle their outings and share on social media. Just about any popular restaurant that features a variety of social gaming and/or activity offers engagement (in addition to great food) that patrons love to capture on their Instagram pages. Best of all, it's like free marketing for restaurant owners: customers get the "likes", businesses get the increased traffic. Turning your space into a more social environment, one that encourages visitors to mill around and interact with the fixtures and facilities (and each other), creates a familiar vibe that mimics a happening get-together: indoors, with great food.

We’ve put together some solid examples of successful eatertainment ideas – and how restaurants can incorporate these concepts to bring in a new customer base while increasing business revenue:

Eatertainment ideas for your restaurant

1.) Add a karaoke room

Restaurant owners hoping to get in on the eatertainment trend can add significant value to their business simply by incorporating a new karaoke room. One of the most unique, yet wholly original add-ons in the world of eatertainment, karaoke brings people together like no other social activity, allowing friends to truly be themselves and have fun in a judgment-free environment designed for playful competition.

karaoke room in a restaurant

Private rooms can be pre-booked for a certain period. Customers then have the use of that room for a pre-determined amount of time and can even include add-ons like drinks and food options that keep them entertained and fed for hours. Karaoke software like Singa even allow you to seamlessly integrate your offers into the experience with digital signage.

"Singalong Saturdays really changed our winter weekends to something hot and appreciated."

Holiday Bar - Helsinki

Best of all, by incorporating a dedicated area for karaoke fans, you are opening your business up to an entirely new and regular customer base: patrons who visit your restaurant exclusively to sing karaoke may have never tried your menu options before – and are likely to love both if they exist under the same roof. And vice versa. A great karaoke room design can also encourage social sharing!

Karaoke rooms can be a safe way to add seamless value to just about any hospitality business – especially businesses that specialize in competitive socializing eatertainment.

2.) Include a dedicated arcade

arcade area in restaurant

One other solid way of incorporating eatertainment into your restaurant is with interactive arcade games and consoles. This once-retro yet highly engaging group activity has become an emerging trend in various venues, including bowling alleys and movie theaters – not to mention a lucrative value proposition. Adding a designated arcade area, one that features a variety of competitive-style video gaming consoles, to your restaurant is a surefire way to encourage more visitors to your business while increasing your presence in the eatertainment industry. After all, unlike traditional standalone arcades, customers will spend more and play for longer if there's great food and amazing drinks nearby. If you have enough space you can even offer VR.

3.) Encourage socialization with your seating

While you may want to keep your dining area somewhat separate from the activities area, it is still a good idea to change the configurations of your space, if possible. Stick with the traditional sit-down tables and chairs for meals but consider adding additional seating that is a bit more unique. Benches and communal picnic tables (maybe in your outdoor patio area?) are a great way to encourage socializing, especially where some drinks from the bar are involved.

But also, think about scattering some pub tables and stools around the bar – the kind that aren’t necessarily the ultimate in comfort. That way, patrons spend less time sitting passively at a table and, instead, get up and move around the room more often, checking out the games and rooms without feeling like they are being forced. Of course, furniture additions and renovations depend on a number of factors, including size and zoning, but there are plenty of ways to keep things in your restaurant fresh without spending a ton of dough.

4.) Game on! Offer competitive socialization

Maybe your restaurant doesn’t have the space for big additions. Or perhaps major structural upgrades are not yet in the budget. That’s okay! You don’t necessarily need a lot of flash to give people a good time beyond dinner and drinks.

jenga in a restaurant

Board game cafés have been cropping up across North America for years – and once they get a liquor license, the sky is pretty much the limit in terms of interactive social eatertainment. Pick up a few board games to keep on hand to encourage group play over meals and cocktails. Maybe a pool table or shuffleboard setup? Ping Pong and Foosball tables are always a draw. Conserve your space without sacrificing the excitement level.

5.) Rethink your menu

This doesn’t have to be a major overhaul but customizing your existing dining menu while maintaining the same commitment to quality food is actually a great move by eatertainment standards. By tailoring meal options to something a bit more mobile-friendly – think finger foods, small appetizers, to-go packaging indoors – you can get patrons out of their seats faster and more often, which encourages them to mingle with others while also checking out the entertainment options in your space. Don’t have audiences sitting for too long, especially if you’ve got awesome activities for them to explore.

snacks for eatertainment venues

There you have it! Some effective and highly engaging ideas to increase revenue and foot traffic into your restaurant business by embracing the popular eatertainment trend. With these practices in place, and with the rise in competitive socializing activities continuing to climb, you can now work towards expanding your reach within the dining and entertainment markets.