How to Make the Most of the Holiday Season


The holiday season has the potential to be profitable for food service establishments. It is a time when many work places have parties and when friends and family get together in large numbers. These can both lead to large influxes in customers.

However, it is also a time when many people have increased expenses and may have decreased income due to fewer working days. As such, it isn’t uncommon for a segment of the population to spend less money on the hospitality industry than they might during other times of the year.

The trick for making the most of the holiday season is to try to mitigate the latter while taking advantage of the former. The following tips can help you do just that.

Promote Your Catering

If you offer any form of catering, the earlier you promote it the better. Display posters in your restaurant and send flyers to local businesses. Depending on your advertising budget, you may even want to invest in local radio, local television, or internet advertising.

If you don’t cater normally, you may want to do so as a holiday promotion. Catering even a single holiday party may make it worth your while.

Alternatively, you could try teaming up with an established catering service to provide food for their catering jobs. Since established catering services are usually overworked during this time, there is almost certainly at least one that will be happy to share the work.

Related: Top 10 Restaurant Marketing Tips for the Holiday Season

Create Holiday Promotions

There are two types of holiday promotions that work best: promotions based on group size and promotions for specific dishes.

For the former, simply offer a discount for any group of a modest size or larger. A good number for a discount of roughly 10% is 6 diners. You can call it something like the Extended Family Discount and really tie it into the holidays.

Additionally, you should also offer a larger discount for a large group of diners, possibly as high as 20%. This will encourage businesses and similar organizations to throw parties at your establishment. Consider a minimum party size of somewhere between 12 and 20.

The latter promotion works when you create a unique entree or dessert that you only serve during the holiday season. For example, a pizza parlor might serve a pizza topped with turkey and stuffing during the month of November.

Whatever you create, consider selling it at, or even slightly below, cost, just to get the people in the door.

Adjust Your Hours

Odds are you will be adjusting your hours during the holidays simply because you will be taking time off for the holidays. In addition to this, consider making some other changes specifically to take advantage of the holidays.

The main adjustment you may want to make is morning hours the day after Thanksgiving and the day after Christmas. These are days when many families often seek out restaurants serving breakfast or brunch.

Similarly, you will make many a family happy if you stay open a little later than usual on New Year’s Eve.

Now it’s your turn. What ideas do you have for for increased profitability during the holiday season? Share with us below.

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