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EveryOccasion Wants to Make Party Planning Easy

Written By Scott Joseph On April 15, 2013

EveryOccasion logoRobert Earl is getting creative again.

The man who brought you Planet Hollywood and Earl of Sandwich, among other concepts, has a new venture. But now he wants to send you to other people’s restaurants. The new business is called Every Occasion, and it’s for people who like to throw parties but hate the task of putting one together.

Let’s say you are in charge of organizing a get-together, say a bridal shower for a friend. You and your friends have all decided you want to gather at a restaurant. Your task is to find one and make all the arrangements. Ugh. You have to decide on a place, call to check on availability, negotiate a menu and a price. 

Oh, and about that price. You have to collect all the monies from your group and pay the restaurant. Or worse — argue with the management that you’ll be doing separate checks at the end of the meal.

EveryOccasion.com feels your pain.

So here’s what it does. It has made arrangements with area restaurants and negotiated set menus — usually with multiple choices — for a set price (and each restaurant typically offers one or two optional pricing structures). All you have to do it go to the website, tell it what type of occasion you’re planning, the date you have in mind and the time you’d like to gather. Enter the number of guests in your party and whether or not you need a private room. Then it will show you the options of the restaurants it has arrangements with that meet your criteria.

From there you can scan through the menus, select the price that meets your budget, and make your reservation.

But wait, there’s more. EveryOccasion will even send out the invitations to the people in your party, a la Evite. And here’s the even better part: the people in your group can log on and pay in advance for their dinner, so at the end of the meal there’s no haggling for separate checks and no one is tasked with collecting cash from everyone and using her own credit card.

Need any more convincing? How about that there is no charge to you to use the service? The restaurants pay a commission to EveryOccasion for bringing them business. And if you’re the one in charge of making all the arrangements, EO will give you a $25 gift card for using the service.

I like it. I think it makes great sense, and I might even use it myself sometime. Not for a bridal shower; I haven’t been invited to one of those since I took the term literally (some brides just don’t have a sense of humor).

Orlando, which of course is headquarters for Earl Enterprises, is the test market for EveryOccasion, and it will be rolled out to the San Diego market soon. 

Another of Earl’s ideas — and another one I thought had promise — was Dinner Date, which launched last year, again initially in Orlando, and then abruptly was pulled. Dinner Date was designed for singles and also involved partnerships with local restaurants. Singles could go to the website, find a restaurant that was offering a Dinner Date occasion and sign up to meet other singles for a meal. While Dinner Date was pulled from the Orlando market, it is still being tested in San Diego, so maybe we’ll see it back again.

In the meantime, if you’d like to start using EveryOccasion to plan your next dinner party — there’s no minimum size, by the way; you could plan it for your own dinner date for two — visit EveryOccasion.com. And if you’re a restaurateur who would like to have your restaurant listed as a participant, go to the website and click on the Partners link at the bottom of the page.

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