Restaurant Management

Taking Advantage of the Holiday Rush

The holidays are a slow time for some industries, as businesses close to give employees some time off and celebrate with their families. The restaurant business is not one of these industries.

There are many things restaurant owners and general managers can to do to make sure that the incredibly busy six-week period from Thanksgiving to New Years goes off without a hitch, leaving customers with happy holiday food memories.

1. Set Your Schedule

holiday hours

Some restaurants stay open on Christmas, Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, while others shut their doors or offer limited availability. Other spots have different hours in the days before and after major holidays.

Set your schedule and make sure to post it everywhere your patrons may see it. Your website, social media pages and, of course, your physical restaurant are all places people will be looking. Make sure employees know of the changed hours so they can inform patrons and be sure to make the schedule decisions at least a month ahead of time for planning purposes.

2. Prepare Special Products

holiday cupcakes

The winter holidays are a time for gift giving and eating special treats. If you plan to offer gift certificates at this time of year, make sure you have plenty of cards in stock and that employees know the procedures for issuing them.

Add a few seasonal favorites to the menu that will keep customers coming back around this time year after year for those special cakes or that delicious roast that they can only get during the holiday season. That can turn your food spot into an annual family tradition.

3. Don’t Forget The Internet

Just as you would decorate your restaurant, you need to keep up your online appearances at the holidays. Put a little oomph into your site by adding your holiday schedule and perhaps a bit of seasonal graphic design. Try offering special holiday promotions via an e-mail newsletter, or spread some cheer with holiday-themed posts on your restaurant’s social media accounts. Keeping yourself in your potential patrons’ eyes is always a good idea, especially at this time of year.

4. Hire Seasonal Staff

With an influx of large parties and revelers treating themselves, you need to make sure all of your bases are covered. Hire some seasonal staff members. Perfect candidates include college students, workers with daytime gigs who just want some extra dough for holiday gifts and anyone searching for a job during the holidays. It may be better to overstaff to keep high tipping holiday customers satisfied.

5. Check Inventory and Orders

Make sure that everything is in order. Do you have everything that is needed ordered for the large holiday parties that will come in? Do you have enough inventory to satisfy the hungry everyday masses? Don’t get caught empty handed or with a menu full of 86ed items. You can even use a restaurant bookkeeping software like Sourcery to keep better track of invoices and payments, making this essential holiday prep step a breeze.

6. Decorate holiday decorations

You should get creative with your restaurant decorations. A good set of holiday cheer can be enough to bring people in so they can see what you’ve done with the place. Lights, garlands, a tree and other items are fair game. Include other holidays in your mix, or if you want to keep things secular, just go with some fake snow and frosty choices.

7. Celebrate

With all of the holiday cheer going around, don’t forget something for your own staff and workers. If you don’t have the time for a holiday party of your own, consider a nice gift or a post-holiday celebration that can serve as a wind-down where your waiters, kitchen staff, and hosts can let it all hang loose after the hustle and bustle of this busy season.