With Christmas and New Year’s Eve just around the corner, you may be wondering how to take advantage of the inevitable influx of festive parties and diners wishing to celebrate the end of another year.

To those outside of the trade, this task could easily be dismissed as a case of ‘take it while you can get it’, but simply adding a few more people to the staff rota and increasing your stock levels won’t necessarily result in a larger-than-usual bottom line come the end of December.

You need to be a bit more creative than that, and in this post, we’ve got some brilliant, tried-and-tested ways to prepare your restaurant for a profitable Christmas.

We’ve set ourselves a challenge, too – we’re going to make sure you don’t have to spend a penny more than you would do normally on promotional activity at this time of year. All you need to invest is a bit more of your time.

OK – a lot more of your time (but it’ll be worth it).

Here goes…

1. Get ultra-friendly with your partners

Co-marketing activities at this time of the year are vitally important and represent a fantastic opportunity for two or more businesses to benefit from one another’s hard work.

Speak to your partners and tell them you’d like to work on some joint promotional campaigns this season. For example, if you get especially friendly with your beer supplier, an injection of festive ales would certainly give you something to shout about leading up to the 25th.

Speak to local retailers, too. They may have something you can add to your menu (children’s toys or party paraphernalia, for example) in order to create a unique, festive service offering.

2. Place special emphasis on gift cards

If you already have a gift card strategy in place, now is the time to elevate its status within your restaurant.

Make it ultra-obvious that you offer gift cards by placing them everywhere within eyeshot. Sell them in your premises, but fill your social media channels with mentions of them, too. Remember – people will be looking for simple, quick-win presents at this time of year, and your gift card could be just the ticket.

3. Make customer engagement your primary focus

Your customers live in a very noisy digital world. Distractions reside at every turn and, at this time of year, social media feeds and email inboxes are fit to bursting with special offers, deals and promotional campaigns from their favourite brands.

In order to be heard amongst all this noise, you need to make customer engagement your primary focus. Everything you do in the lead up to Christmas should have the customer at heart. That means decorating your restaurant early to attract their attention, creating special offers on your website that provide them with a tangible benefit for dining with you and emailing past guests to remind them of the fabulous festive offers you have waiting for them.

4. Start planning early

Finally, if you fail to start your Christmas and NYE preparations early, your time will quickly get swallowed up as the festive season takes hold. For that reason, it’s vital that you start planning your promotional activity early.

Start by reorganising your rota and ensuring that your bar and restaurant are ready to cope with an influx of guests. Perform an inventory check; have you got enough wet and dry stock to cover the expected increase in covers?

Lastly, create a back-up plan. Things will go wrong, and if you’re ready for common eventualities (broken equipment, staff illness and the like), you’ll limit the impact of such events on your bottom line.

Wrapping up

The profitability of your restaurant should be at an all time high during the festive season, but that won’t happen without an increased effort on your part. Use the tips above and watch your Christmas profits hit the stratosphere!

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