Business Insights

Holiday Restaurant Preparation

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Holiday Restaurant Preparation How Tos

Preparing your staff and your venue for the holidays takes a many pronged approach. With savvy planning and flawless execution of their event, guests will look back on the experience with fondness. Ultimate success means they’d like to do it all again next year!

Restaurant Staff

Be sure your employees, especially the newbies, are trained and ready for an increase in business, and for any special requirements of hosting parties. You might even kick off the season with a staff celebration, outlining specific expectations and asking for their suggestions on efficiency. You could also remind everyone that being busy means more money in their pockets. Will a holiday-themed pin, hat or bow tie be provided to supplement the regular uniform? Are there guidelines for employees’ own, personal uniform touches? Effective communication is important.

Timing the Market

Fall is the high point for corporate event scheduling and the time to encourage potential customers who are less organized to be proactive. If it helps your operation avoid scrambling to fulfill late requests, consider offering a discount for early booking. Is a group on a tight budget? One way to overcome that concern and get a signed contract: Suggest a less-expensive brunch or lunch event. Or, reduce the cost slightly if the celebration is redirected to a weekday, perhaps even starting at 5 p.m. The bonus: You could cover slower times, and perhaps be able to schedule even more parties. Also, for events that repeat annually, savvy operators try to lock in the following year’s date when the final invoice for a recent event is being signed.

Event Planning and Assistance

Not all companies have “event coordinators” with real-world experience. Sometimes the person charged with organizing an event could use help and guidance defining parameters and making sure all the right boxes get checked. Beyond food and beverage, you may want to offer specific assistance with decisions about event timing, seating/floor plan and host-supplied decorations, and provide the appropriate media such as screens, TVs and microphones.

Restaurant Decorations

Have you thought about how decorating your venue impacts its marketability? Cheap tinsel and tacky, dusty garland send a definite message to both potential customers and event guests. Inspect decorations early in the season; clean, repair or replace dirty, tired-looking or obviously dated items. What’s more, hiring a professional designer for a couple hours of idea-generation and advice could be well worth the expense.

Sidebars:

SPECIAL TOUCHES

To clinch the deal and ultimately please the hosts, ask for input and offer customization.

  • Create a signature/theme dessert or cocktail just for this gathering
  • Ask about music preferences: volume, style and specific tunes or customer playlists
  • No dedicated party room? Use partitions, banners, ceiling decorations or portable stage/risers to attractively define an “exclusive space”

PHOTO OPS
As part of your services: Ask event hosts about setting up a special photo or selfie area, and about creating a space and/or backdrop for a group shot.

PARTY PROMO

  • Servers often snag catering leads; create a compensation plan if they secure contact info and a completed form, and the event gets scheduled.
  • Print drink coasters and in-house table tents advertising holiday gatherings.
  • Stay on top of bookings; post or tweet key date/time slots that are “available if you hurry.”

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