Cooks throwing open their doors and inviting strangers in for dinner: it might sound like an odd idea, but supper clubs are all the rage at the moment. They started gaining popularity during the recession, as foodies began wondering how to save money on dining out without sacrificing quality. Enter the supper club.
If you haven't visited a supper club yet, you might be wondering what all the fuss is about. More than that, you're probably wondering how it all works.
If you're a good cook you can start your own
There's no real barrier to entry when it comes to running a supper club. Obviously, you have to know your way around the kitchen, and if you love throwing dinner parties, that's a bonus. If you want to make any sort of profit from your supper club you need to think carefully about budgeting and price your menu accordingly. Our free money management software is useful for checking incomings and outgoings, so you can keep an up-to-date record of exactly how much your menu costs. Don't just think about the food: also factor in the cost of the dishwasher tablets, and compensation for whoever you draft in to wait the tables.
The majority have a set menu
Fussy eaters, take note. Before booking a seat at your local supper club, it's a good idea to check the menu to make sure it's to your taste. If you have any special dietary requirements, you'll need to let your host know before turning up. Most of the food will be prepared in advance, so turning up and announcing your severe peanut allergy will put a spanner in the works. There are so many supper clubs nowadays that some do cater to special diets: there are vegan supper clubs, gluten free supper clubs, and even supper clubs for followers of the Paleo diet.
Be prepared to socialise
Supper clubs are basically dinner parties with a group of strangers: think Come Dine With Me, but with less oddballs. They're not ideal if you're planning a quiet dinner, but perfect if you're willing to meet new people. It's a great opportunity to make new friends, network with people in your line of work, or maybe even chat up a new love interest.
You don't pay the bill: you give a ‘donation'
Supper clubs aren't licenced restaurants, so legally they're not allowed to sell food. However, there will be a suggested donation, usually around £20-£30 per person, to cover the costs of the meal. Some of the more renowned supper clubs can command a bit more, but you're still saving money compared to what you would pay at a restaurant. It's considered good etiquette to leave a tip, just like you would at a regular restaurant.
Unlike traditional restaurants, supper clubs don't have a well-stocked supply cupboard. It's easier if guests bring their own bottle of whatever they want to drink during dinner. If you're really into wine, it might be worth speaking to the host first to find out if there are any bottles they recommend to complement the meal.
Have you thrown your own supper club or discovered the perfect hidden gem? Let us know!