New and proven strategies to boost restaurant sales this joyous holiday season

From using social media to create a buzz to managing seating capacity with software, find out how restaurants can guarantee a bumper holiday season this year.



Nov 10, 2022 - 4 min read

New and proven strategies to boost restaurant sales this joyous holiday season

The holiday season is all about twinkling nights, warm cardigans, Christmas jingles, family time, and multiple helpings of roasted turkey, eggnog, and pudding.

This is also the time of the year when people loosen their purse strings and splurge on luxuries like dining, dancing, and drinking out. Because of this, it is not surprising that restaurants do tremendous business around Christmas and New Year.

Keeping in mind how important this time of year is for business, restaurants need to do a few things right to make sure they have a busy and successful festive season. 

Let's look at some ways that managers and chefs can entice people to celebrate the holidays at their restaurants.

1. Create a Christmas menu

Create a special menu for the week or the fortnight leading up to Christmas. In the same way that people like seasonal specialties, celebratory food is a big reason why people like to eat out at restaurants. There are many recipes that would be great for a Christmas meal and would make a lovely menu. There is glazed ham, roast turkey with gravy, mashed potatoes, prime rib, roast duck with chestnut filling, cranberry sauce, Christmas sticky toffee pudding, Christmas trifle, eggnog, mulled wine, and about 50 other delicious food and beverage choices to choose from. 

Another important point to remember while drawing the menu is to ensure that it caters to guests with different dietary requirements. Chefs should make space on the menu for delicacies that vegetarians, vegans, people with allergies, or those who prefer gluten-free food can also enjoy. 

Christmas meal

2. Bring Christmas food to the customer’s doorstep

Some customers may prefer to spend time at home with their families rather than brave the crowds on the streets and at restaurants. By joining meal delivery apps, hospitality firms may still reach those customers who prefer to stay indoors. In fact, the most efficient way to do this is to make a new section called "Christmas Specials" or “Christmas Bestsellers” within the restaurant’s listing on the delivery app and include the most popular holiday dishes on it. Restaurants profit from the delivery app since it expands their customer base and increases sales even when the restaurant's physical space is fully booked.

Find out more about TableCheck's Pickup and Delivery feature.

3. Stock up your pantry

The holiday season sees high footfalls at restaurants and cafes, so it is vital for chefs to stock up on their pantries. A restaurant can stand to lose both business and the goodwill of customers if they run out of ingredients during dining hours. Think about how upset a customer and their family would be if the restaurant they frequented ran out of their favorite meals on the day that they had planned to have a family feast. 

Data from past holidays and notes from the kitchen staff can be used to estimate how many supplies the kitchen will need on a busy holiday day. This will make sure that the kitchen is well-stocked.

Forecast sales by using powerful data analytics tools like TableCheck Insight. Share detailed analysis and comparison dashboards with the entire restaurant group.

RELATED NEWS: How to use restaurant data and analytics to power your business

4. Publicize your restaurant's holiday/New Year specials

The holiday season is a fantastic time for hospitality establishments to maximize earnings.  Restaurants need to let their patrons know that they have special holiday plans. Even if a restaurant is not planning a large Christmas menu, it should still let consumers know that it is open. A lot of guests plan in advance, so advertising for Christmas or New Year specials should start at least a month in advance. 

The restaurant should work on multi-channel communication to advertise for the holidays:

Social Media

The restaurant's social media pages should highlight holiday specials, themes, and New Year's Eve celebrations in addition to telling customers that they are open for business. Images and videos of the festive décor, the talented chefs at work, and the delectable fare can be shared on the company's social media handles. If they can afford it, restaurants can even hire a professional food photographer to create content that people would want to post, like, and share and generate a buzz around the restaurant’s holiday plans. 

RELATED NEWS: Ramp up your social media marketing with better restaurant food photography

Email blasts and newsletters

Sending personalized emails to customers over the holiday season is a great way to keep them informed about seasonal specials. Tech platforms like TableCheck enable hospitality clients to reach a wide audience while retaining a personal touch and their distinctive branding. Their booking form is designed to simplify the process of initially compiling an email list for hospitality firms. Additionally, TableCheck's EDM feature makes it simple to build, personalize, and automate email correspondence. 

RELATED NEWS: How to run successful EDM marketing campaigns

Mobile with EDM newsletter

5. Restaurant decoration and ambiance

In addition to the delicious food, the restaurant's Christmas decorations should help guests get in the holiday spirit as well. The joy and enchantment of Christmas can be easily incorporated into the restaurant’s decor, no matter if the budget is large or tight. The decorations could range from lavish and expensive centerpieces to cheap lanterns and dazzling string lights.

Customers are more likely to notice decor elements near the restaurant's entrance, so a magnificently decorated Christmas tree replete with baubles, ribbons, scented ornaments, and a striking tree topper can be the show-starter. Inside the restaurant, Christmas wreaths, red and green streamers, reusable festive tablecloths and napkins, and a Merry Christmas banner can be used to spruce up the interiors. The trick is to buy decorations that can be used again. 

Lastly, a Christmas playlist would be perfect to listen to while the guests toast the holiday season over a tasty meal and drinks. 

In addition to the delicious aromas wafting from the kitchen, the presence of these decorative elements is sure to put clients in a celebratory mood and give them fond memories they will want to relive again and again.

6. Staff party and rostering

Everyone at the restaurant is kept quite busy throughout the Christmas season, whether they work as wait staff, host staff, or washers, and of course, it is most hectic for those who are a part of the core kitchen crew team. It is essential to make certain that the workers are not overworked to the point where their health is compromised. The establishment’s quality standards will also suffer over time when the staff is not properly rested. The best way to deal with this situation is to hire temporary workers for the holidays and set up the staff to work in shifts. If it is not possible to hire additional workers, then the restaurant should focus on having fewer staff members during slow hours and a full crew during peak hours.   

Remember that the staff are missing out on personal celebrations and family time to work long hours at the restaurant. The management should organize a mini-celebration to celebrate the festival with the staff and to applaud their relentless hard work.

RELATED NEWS: How to train staff to deliver an exceptional guest experience

7. Use a Table Management system to make the most out of the festive season

During the high season, a table management system, or TMS, such as TableCheck, is essential for restaurants. Consider a queue of irritated, hungry customers waiting to be seated at their favorite eatery during peak lunch hours. The wrath of these customers would not only result in negative reviews but also drive customers to a competitor. Also, figuring out how many people can be seated helps the restaurant keep track of its inventory, making sure it doesn't run out of ingredients or waste extra raw materials.

TMS is a very important tool for restaurants to improve the customer experience, keep costs down and manage restaurant operations seamlessly.

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