Summer BBQ parties are fast becoming a welcome and regular company event. Bringing the team outside of the office, especially, if there is chance of sunshine, food and after-work drinks will always create a positive buzz and get a thumbs-up from the work crew. An informal BBQ or summer party provides the ideal environment to help people chat, mingle and network.
WonderBars has teamed up with many of Dublin’s best and most popular BBQ venues to provide your ideal office BBQ party this summer. This week, we have spoken with industry expert Rachel Devlin. Rachel is the Marketing and PR Executive at Dublin’s DTwo on Harcourt Street, one of the capital’s busiest BBQ venues. She knows what it takes to host an amazing BBQ party and has kindly offered us some tips to help plan your office BBQ.
Things to consider when planning a corporate BBQ event:
Dublin is home to numerous purpose-built corporate BBQ venues. Many of the city’s venues have invested in specialised BBQ cooking equipment, custom menu offerings and professionally designed indoor/outdoor spaces. Some venues go the extra mile to provide options for entertainment or games and can design unique experiences around the BBQ itself.
Like all great events, planning a BBQ takes time and attention to detail. For any of you tasked with planning your company’s BBQ outing, WonderBars has come up with a list of things to consider when booking the event.
SEARCH: Begin your search for a BBQ venue on WonderBars
Have your dates ready. Speak to the team about appropriate dates and times. Unsurprisingly, Friday is the most popular day of the week. We would recommend giving yourself at least a 2-month timeframe to get the best chance of reserving your BBQ venue of choice for the date and time that you want.
Rachel’s Tip: If your dates are flexible, make sure to communicate this at the time of your enquiry. The venue may be able to offer you different days and perhaps better offers midweek.
Lunch / Afternoon BBQ events
Having any Company social occasion during work hours will guarantee a high turnout. Of course, an early start time will mean an earlier finish time,giving everyone the option to leave the party at a respectable hour. Summer drinks in the sunshine are often best enjoyed in the afternoon and will fit perfectly into the BBQ party theme.
Evening/Night BBQ events
Evening BBQ events usually, start around half-five or six and are designed for people to attend straight after work. Evening events are best hosted on a Friday to help get a higher attendance.
You should always allow for travel time from your office to the venue, giving people time to get to the party.
Rachel’s Tip: Running late? On the day of the BBQ if you are running late, let the venue know and they can adjust their preparations to suit your needs.
Do you need a private area?
Is it important to have a fully private space or are you okay to have a shared reserved area in the venue.
Have you had an event at the venue in the past?
If you have had previous corporate events with your desired venue in the past, mention it so that they know you are a returning customer. Of course, great venues will know this already.
Do you have a budget in mind?
Knowing your budget is key! Being able to give the venue your exact budget for an event will help them tailor an offer specifically for you. If the venue do not know how much you have to spend or have an estimate, then it will be difficult for them to know what package to offer.
Most venues will have different packages and can tailor offers to your needs. Often, venues will package together drinks with food. You can typically expect to pay in the region of €25 to €40 per person for a set BBQ menu.
Rachel’s Tip: Ask to book a walk around or visit the venue. It is important, especially for larger BBQ events, to see the venue and understand if it is the right fit for your needs. You will get an opportunity to meet the venue manager or events team. This will help to answer any questions you may have and will build a good relationship with the venue.
Any Dietary Requirements?
It is good to know this information in advance and communicate it to a venue so there are no disappointed guests. If possible, ask your guests in advance of the BBQ, if they have any special dietary requirements. Pass the information on to the venue, so that they will be ready and can offer the right choice of menu.
Drink Voucher/Bar Tab Options
Drinks vouchers are ideal for a BBQ event. You can control the amount of vouchers each guest receives in advance and you can communicate with the venue as to what types of drinks the vouchers can be exchanged for. Limiting the number of complimentary drinks vouchers provided by the company is a responsible way to approach the event and allows an important element of control. You can agree in advance with a venue the value of each voucher and what it can be exchanged for.
For example, a voucher can be redeemed at the bar for a glass of wine, house cocktail, pint of beer, soft drink, bottled water, etc. It may be important to specify what drinks should be off the menu (such as spirits, double measures, or shots). All guests should have a good time at the BBQ and it is important to have a responsible outlook on the event to ensure its success for all involved.
If you run a Bar Tab
Communicate your overall Bar Tab in advance with the venue. They will know when to stop the tab running or if desired, can agree a time to stop the tab. If the event is in a shared space in the bar, you may consider using wristbands for your guests to identify them at the bar. However, if you have a private bar or space, there will be no need for wristbands, as the bar will be dedicated to your group.
Typical BBQ food fare
BBQ classics include burgers, sausages, hot dogs, steaks, skewered meats, skewered fish, corn on the cob, summer salads, baked potatoes, fries, grilled vegetables. Give your guests what they expect to eat at a BBQ, mainly a finger lickin great time. No one should go away hungry.
Expect to pay an advance deposit to secure a booking for an office BBQ event. Normally, a percentage between 10% to 50% of the total amount. There are usually, terms and conditions associated with venue bookings, such as a cancellation policy. On receipt of a deposit, a venue will normally confirm your booking. Most venues will accept a bank transfer, credit/debit card payments or cash.
Deposit terms and payment terms can be flexible, as long as both you and the venue are happy with any agreements made. Always communicate your needs to the venue to see what they can do to accommodate you.
Do you need a particular venue set-up?
You may require the venue to provide lighting effects, venue draping, microphones, projector screens or a stage. Most venues can arrange these details for you or help you to source them.
Rachel’s Tip: communicate what type of venue set up or extras you require. This will make sure your organiser knows how much space you may need before they allocate you an area. Some venue extras like giant games or projectors may need larger space or plugs and if your area can’t cater for that it can be hard to move on the night
Do you require any venue Extras?
Giant Games, Entertainment (live music, DJs, magicians, artists, and party event planners)
Some venues have specific party extra’s they can offer. If you have the budget, add as many extras as possible. Venue Extras bring a wow-factor to events and will be the talking point the day after the company BBQ or party.
Rachel’s Tip: DTwo, for example, provide a truly unique Candy Bar for BBQs and events. This is a bar with a selection of tasty jelly sweets and fancy treats. A unique talking point, adding extra fun and sweetness to the event. Little extra touches make a huge difference to the experience and you don’t have to break the budget to make them happen.
This may not apply to all types of BBQ events, but if you need to host guests or they are travelling long distances, then it is a good idea to provide accommodation options. Hotel venues will have corporate accommodation rates on request and you can negotiate for preferred rates for guests at your event. If the venue does not have accommodation, check out local hotel and B&B providers nearby and compile a list for your guests so that they know whom to contact.
Rachel’s Tip: Any bookings with Dtwo will receive a special discount rate for bedroom rates at the Harcourt Hotel – T&C’S apply.
Plan early and get the word out
Plan early! The sooner you secure the venue and the details of the BBQ, the sooner you can communicate this to your colleagues and guests. Giving people plenty of notice of the date, time and venue will increase the chances of a high turnout. Send out regular reminders about the event. Be it emails, texts, Whatsapp, slack channels, Facebook groups. Gentle reminders about the event will get people talking and remind them to clear their diaries.
Rachel’s Tip: At DTwo if you have an open invite we can help share your event on social media platforms & we are happy to give you a like, share or retweet.
Finally, the weather
Plan for rain. That way you won’t be surprised or shocked if it is raining. Most venues have indoor and outdoor spaces to protect your party from the elements. Parties can be moved indoors if the weather has taken a turn for the worst. It is always best to check with the venue in advance, what alternative options are available in the event of unfavourable weather conditions.
Rachel’s Tip: If the weather happens to be raining and your event is located in Dtwo’s beer garden not to worry as this garden is an all-weather garden. We have heaters and covers that will shelter you from the bad weather. Most of the time you won’t even notice it’s raining!
SEARCH: Begin your search for a BBQ venue on WonderBars