The Holiday Checklist: 10 Must do Things to Prepare for Thanksgiving and Christmas

 In Bar & Restaurant Operations, Marketing

While the leaves are still changing and everyone’s focused on Halloween candy, it can be hard to think ahead to Thanksgiving and Christmas. But the holidays will be here before you know it, and you need to make sure your bar or restaurant is prepared!

1. Advertise, advertise, advertise!

Many restaurants close on Thanksgiving or Christmas, but if yours is staying open, be sure to advertise that heavily. Customers who either don’t celebrate the holiday or don’t have a dinner to go to will appreciate it. And consider offering a nontraditional holiday meal for people who aren’t interested in eating the same old turkey option that’s on the menu everywhere else.

2. Promote banquet rooms.

Businesses start planning their holiday parties early, so be sure they know you have rooms available! Send out advertisements, promote them on your social media channels, send emails to local businesses, letting them know what you have to offer.

3. Announce your catering options.

Does your restaurant cater holiday parties that happen offsite? If so, this is another thing to start announcing early.

4. Send out holiday cards to local businesses.

You can include information about your banquet rooms and your pricing all while wishing them a happy holiday!

5. Make sure you have enough staff for the holidays.

The time to start interviewing new employees isn’t the middle of December. If you know you have lots of holiday dinners or catering gigs coming up, start interviewing ASAP. Whenever you hire a new employee, make sure they’ll be able to work over the holiday season. You don’t want to find out that all the servers you just hired will be going out of town.

6. Get organized.

If there are lots of holiday parties planned at your restaurant, the absolute worst thing to do is double book or forget a reservation. If you mess up someone’s party, you can pretty much guarantee they’ll never come back. So create an organizational system that works for you and make sure you’re keeping track of all your parties perfectly.

7. Plan your décor.

What will you be doing to decorate your facility? Make sure you have all the necessary supplies on hand.

8. Be ready to give your employees a holiday bonus or gift.

Not all companies hand out bonuses, but it should go without saying that they’re good for morale. If you’re not doing a bonus, consider giving out gifts during the holiday season. Some companies hand out Thanksgiving turkeys to their employees, which most people find useful (as long as they’re not vegetarians, that is).

9. Don’t forget about your own employee party!

Holiday parties for your employees can be fun, but they’re also difficult to coordinate on evenings and weekends when everyone else has about a million other parties to attend. You might want to consider having an employee appreciation party before you open for the day. Either way, you’ll want to let employees know about the party far in advance so as many people as possible will be able to attend.

10. Create an offer to make sure customers come back in the new year.

You don’t want your customers to disappear after the holidays, do you? Start thinking about how you can entice customers to come back…maybe by offering a January bounce back offer to everyone who dines in December?

By following these tips, you’ll be well on your way to having a busy and profitable Thanksgiving and Christmas season!

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