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10 Tips to Prepare Your Restaurant for the Holidays

The holiday season is a time of joy, laughter, and time spent with loved ones, whether it's Thanksgiving, Black Friday, or Christmas. It's a time when people head to their favorite restaurants to enjoy holiday specials. The holidays can present unique challenges with staffing, menu planning, and marketing for restaurants and franchises, so planning is crucial. A well-planned holiday season can help you attract customers, deliver excellent service, and generate more revenue for your restaurant.

10 Tips to Prepare For The Holidays

The holiday season is the perfect time for restaurants to promote delicious food and beverages to attract new customers. According to the National Restaurant Association, 70% of holiday orders will be placed online, having a significant social media presence is essential to increase holiday sales. Customers spend more time on social media during the holidays, whether they are staying in touch with family and friends, or looking at fun holiday events. This is the perfect time to create content your customers can relate to and offer them a chance to engage with your brand. Keep reminding them throughout the holiday season with posts, stories, and reels that you're offering their favorite holiday specials and discounts.

Loyalty Give your loyal customers a holiday treat this season with a custom loyalty rewards program. Include unique and holiday-themed rewards, like a limited-time item from your holiday menu.

Loyalty programs contribute to your restaurant's success year round, not just during the holidays. Loyalty members spend more than twice as much on online orders as those without memberships.

A new National Restaurant Association survey of 1,000 adult consumers found that 62% say they’d like to receive restaurant gift cards as a holiday present. Of that group, 62% indicated they’d like the gift card to be to their favorite restaurant. “Whether they want to eat out or order in, gift cards will work for everyone on customers' lists; they can get them in any amount and technology makes them easy to share so they never have to worry about them being late or getting lost,” said Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of Research for the National Restaurant Association.

Incentives such as "Give a gift, get a gift" can encourage people to buy gift cards both for others and for themselves. The gift cards market is expected to grow to $448 billion by 2023, and restaurants can take advantage of this trend by including gift cards in their holiday offerings. In addition to immediate revenue, gift cards encourage new guests to visit your business. 80% of customers spend more than the gift card's value when redeeming gift cards. Gift cards programs give your restaurant an opportunity to attract new customers giving you a perfect chance to invite them to join your loyalty program. Keeping them as loyal customers all year round!

Offer both physical and digital gift cards to maximize your customer reach. Design the gift cards with a festive look to reflect the holiday season. Brand the gift cards with your restaurant's logo and colors.

During the holidays, online ordering is a no-brainer for maximizing revenue. Just make sure your digital order management solution is up to the task. In order for your team to feel supported and focus on guests, the right system will enhance operations, streamline order flow, and provide capacity management tools.

Prepare for the holidays by hiring and training new staff members. Because the holidays bring in larger crowds, you'll need enough staff to handle the high volume of orders. With the right combination of tools, organization, and communication, restaurants and their teams will be able to navigate the holiday season.

Naturally, Christmas and holidays are among the most common reasons for employees to request time off. During the holidays, you may have to make tough choices between granting some time off requests and rejecting others. Therefore, it is imperative to encourage employees to submit these requests as soon as possible so that schedules don't have to be constantly revised. Restaurant scheduling tools also allow employees to submit any extra availability during the holidays so that you'll have a bigger pool of available workers.

Holiday Menu A seasonal menu is a great way to celebrate the flavors of the season. Seasonal drinks are a crowd favorite, and easy to add to your restaurant's existing menu. You should begin building your holiday menu now and make sure that your staff is aware of upcoming specials to ensure a smooth transition for them and for your customers.

The holidays are a time when convenience is at an all-time high. Restaurant brands can cater to consumers' preferences by offering curbside pickup, delivery, and dine-in options.

Deck the Halls

Festive decorations are the perfect way to welcome customers. Allow your staff to decorate your restaurant and let their creativity shine. Decorations like lights, seasonal posters, and Christmas trees bring the magic of the holidays and instantly promote a cheerful ambiance for your customers to enjoy. During the holidays, festive music is also essential.

Prepare Your Inventory in Advance

During the height of your busy holiday operating hours, there is nothing worse than running out of essential ingredients or materials. Avoid headaches and stress by ordering additional supplies. If inventory planning has you feeling overwhelmed, consider using restaurant inventory software.

In addition to preparing your staff for the holiday rush, you’ll want to ensure your POS software can handle it, too. Crisp all-in-one restaurant software systems increase revenue and turn times with faster order and payment speeds.

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