Holiday season is a busy time for restaurants, as holiday parties are a focal point of the social calendar for many families and businesses. Booking a holiday party is often an annual appointment on the calendars of administrative assistants and party planners. In addition, holiday shoppers out looking for gifts also need sustenance, which is where revenue can see an uptick during the heavier shopping times.
While the restaurant industry has continued to evolve in the face of newer developments such as the steep increase in takeout through third-party platforms such as GrubHub and Postmates, foot traffic in many areas can show an uptick during the busy holiday season as well. Even if your space isn’t set up to host large gatherings, there are still many ways to take advantage of any boost in traffic or takeout this winter.
Embrace the Takeout
Convenience is the name of the game, especially during this time of year. Remember the last time you battled the crowds to shop for your holiday gifts? Many people are throwing their hands up and opening up their laptops to order online instead — and this goes for food, too.
Recent studies show that 60 percent of consumers in the U.S. order takeout or delivery at least one time each week. 30 percent of those consumers use a third-party delivery service, such as GrubHub, which opens up the possibility of more options than ever for even the most discerning of customers.
This is a great time to embrace the takeout scene. Offering your menu’s items through a third-party delivery service can increase the reach of your business. But don’t let it stop there! Make sure that your delivery or takeout customers have an excellent experience. Include the right cutlery and seasonings or toppings, throw in a business card or of a full menu, or even consider putting a thank you card into each to-go bag. Remember: more consumers are ordering takeout, which means more restaurants are getting in on the game. How will yours make a lasting impression?
If your space can accommodate larger parties, offer a special to generate some buzz. Take some high quality photos of your event space and list your venue with PEPPR for those searching for the perfect space to host their luncheon or last minute holiday gathering.
If your venue is well-known for its craft cocktails, think of concocting an original for parties coming in for cocktail hour. Have an appetizer that your customers simply go crazy for? Make it the centerpiece and give one away to each party that books a reservation. Don’t be afraid to get creative to make those offers pop. People love getting a good deal, especially when they’re spending so much on their shopping!
Don’t Forget About Your Staff
This time of year, staff morale can take a hit. Customers can be demanding, the traffic never ends, and some people tip better than others. Sadly, we’ve seen many instances where restaurant staff are not valued and are treated accordingly with ever-changing schedules, incompetent seating management, and much more. And yet, these staff members are the faces of your establishment. They should be engaged and enjoying their work, too!
So don’t forget to take your staff’s needs into account this year. Schedule appropriately and take the time to get to know your staff’s strengths and weaknesses. Perhaps one bartender can handle enough traffic to make it through happy hour on her own, but her colleague may work better when he has a partner on the shift. Maybe a server who is strong with larger parties should mostly focus on those, while other servers may perform better when they are double seated with two-tops. Do you know your wait staff well? Trust us, doing this will save you and your staff much headache during a busy season.
The holidays are a great time of year to reflect on growth and make goals for the upcoming year. For the most part, this is a festive season — is your restaurant embracing this?