Restaurants see gold in tech-enabled, fully customized private parties

For private events in a restaurant, it’s no longer enough to provide a space and a set menu. Diners want more, and operators are rising to the occasion. In the process, restaurants are streamlining and elevating their events business and profiting.

“Our events business is growing in all aspects,” said Kiran Pinto, a managing partner at Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises who oversees Lettuce Parties and Gem Catering & Events. The Chicago-based restaurant group, which has more than 100 restaurants, has increasingly turned its attention to events and events-only spaces, such as the Ivy Room, where guests can rent out a ballroom, courtyard and lounge, and RPM Events on the Water, a 6,000-square-foot space scheduled to open in the fall.

“The addition of the events space is just in response to requests from our guests and what they were looking for and asking for,” said Pinto. “But in all of our restaurants as we are building them out, we’re incorporating private dining rooms into them.”

These designated spaces host everything from business gatherings to baby showers and birthday dinners, and of course, lots of weddings, Pinto said.