10 Tips to Boost Restaurant Profits During the Holidays

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James Miller
December 11, 2021

The holiday season is upon us and, after a challenging year, restaurant owners want to know how they can boost profits during the end-of-year holiday push!

We did some research and came up with a few foolproof ways to boost restaurant profits and customer spending during this notoriously challenging time in the industry.
Keep reading for 10 tips to boost restaurant profits during the holidays.

10 Tips to boost restaurant profits during the holidays.

1 - Treat your customers to something special.

Your business wouldn’t be what it is without the help of your beloved customers. The holiday season is the perfect time to show your appreciation for everything they have done to help build you up to be the restaurant you are today.

Use the holidays to your advantage in your marketing efforts to help tug at the heartstrings of your customers. After all, nearly everyone has a soft spot for this time of year.

Offer customers something special, like a free holiday dessert or bottle of wine to pair with their special evening in your restaurant. Small efforts go a long way so don’t be afraid to treat your customers this time of year.

2 - Get festive.

Throw on Mariah, grab the garland, and call it a day. It’s time to spruce things up around your restaurant to get in the festive holiday spirit.

Whether you are trying to attract dine-in or take-out customers, the power of festivity is undeniable. It’s always worth taking the time to set the mood. Your customers will appreciate it and it will bring them back to share with the entire family.

The holiday season goes further than just some simple decorations. Consider changing out the music in your restaurant for the final touch. Here are a few pointers when it comes to integrating some holiday cheer through your speakers.

Blend it in

The easiest way to blend in some holiday cheer is by combining seasonal music into your existing soundtrack for your restaurant. When you opt to integrate your music, you can ensure that you won’t upset anyone by playing only holiday-themed music. There will still be something on the soundtrack that everyone can enjoy this way.

Consider your theme

When picking your holiday music, you’ll want to be mindful of the theme of your restaurant. Thankfully, there are holiday music selections that span across varying genres, so you shouldn’t have any issues finding something that’s in line with your standard dining experience.

Avoid anything too religion-specific

Last but not least, although it is easy to blend the holiday season with religion, you want to be mindful of this when selecting your music. Do your best to avoid any holiday music that is religious-based to avoid making any of your customers feel uncomfortable while dining.

3 - Use technology to make things easy.

Technology is your friend, especially in the restaurant industry. You can use smart technology to help you set up schedules based on labor forecasts and use integrated payroll solutions that can automatically calculate statutory holiday and overtime pay.

Check out software as a solution for an all-in-one solution to your holiday season needs in the restaurant. this type of software helps to simplify and streamline operations by assisting in critical restaurant features such as:

  • Payroll
  • Time tracking
  • Hiring and onboarding
  • Scheduling
  • Reporting and insights

    Best of all, you can run your payroll in ten minutes or less with Push. This holiday season, spend less time in the office on daunting administrative tasks and more time on the floor with your team and customers to show your appreciation to them all.

4 - Utilize your reservation software wisely. 

Some holidays can get extremely busy in the restaurant industry, which is why it’s time to rely on high-quality reservation software to guide you through these chaotic times. With the help of effective restaurant reservation software, you can streamline the essential functions of your restaurant, including managing both your customers and your tables.

When searching for the best reservation software, here are a few things to consider:

  • Will you be using an app or website?
  • What are the costs associated with the software?
  • Will the software be linked to restaurant reviews?
  • What is the integration system?
  • What are the technical support options?

Finding the right reservation software for your restaurant is a decision that should not be taken lightly. We recommend finding one before the holiday season so that you can work out the kinks before this busy time.

5 - Welcome holiday parties with open arms.

The holiday season brings with it a plethora of parties. From work gatherings, family gatherings, and even friend-hosted events, the list is nearly never-ending. Good news for restaurants — these holiday gatherings are an excellent opportunity to bring in more revenue. 

Do your best to accommodate holiday parties but don’t forget about your regular dining customers as well. Make sure you only take on what you can manage without disrupting your dining room.

Here are a few ideas to ensure your holiday parties don’t cause any negative impacts on the rest of your restaurant:

  • Bring on a dedicated server for the party group
  • Place larger parties in the back or in the corner of the dining area
  • Be sure to schedule enough employees to handle the volume
  • Space out reservations in the dining room

While you don’t want to cause undue stress to the rest of the operation, you also need to keep the kitchen in mind.. Spacing out your reservations and dinner orders will ultimately help to keep everything running as smoothly as possible. 

raise restaurant profits during the holidays

6 - It’s time to update your menus and inventory.

The holiday season is a great time to bust out a new, seasonal menu or menu items to highlight. Not only is it a festive addition, but it’s also a great way to showcase the diversity of your kitchen. Take a look back at last year’s holiday menus as a guide to what some of the crowd favorites were that you should include in this year’s menu.

If this will be your first holiday season to have a seasonal menu or dish, it’s time to get creative!

Most importantly, though, when you are developing your holiday menu, you want to make sure that you will have the required ingredients. Especially in recent times, with supply chain issues that are continuing to worsen, be mindful of what you can get and how quickly.

The last thing you’ll want is to have to 86 the most in-demand menu item because you’re out of the necessary ingredients to make it. Plan ahead and make sure you are well prepared to handle the demands of your new holiday menu.

As a bonus, having a holiday menu allows your kitchen to be more prepared. In general, holiday menus tend to be smaller and more specialized. These characteristics are easier on both your front of house and back of house teams, allowing them to be more informed and prepared in respect to each individual menu item.

Customer expectations are higher during the holidays, so do yourself and your staff a favor by offering this fun spin on a festive opportunity.

7 - Get involved in the season of giving back.

December is known as the season of giving back, which makes it an excellent opportunity for your restaurant to give back to the community it serves. The holidays are a time for gifting and sharing, so what better way for you to get involved than by initiating a charity drive of your own.

Money is not the only way for people to donate to charity. Consider reaching out to your local Boys and Girls Club or local shelters to see what they are in need of this holiday season. Here are a few ideas to get your restaurant involved:

  • Participate in a clothes drive
  • Plan an annual food festival
  • Host a food drive
  • Donate to the food bank

Find ways to allow your customers to participate and even reward them for their efforts. For example, you can provide your customers with a free appetizer if they bring an item to donate to your drive.

Customers will be thrilled to see that you are trying to give back to the community. They will want to participate and tell their friends and family to participate in the good cause.

8 - Don’t be afraid to give gifts to your customers.

In the spirit of giving, your efforts don’t have to stop with charity. Don’t be afraid to give gifts to your customers who take time out of their busy holiday schedules to dine with you.

A fun and exciting take on the holidays is giving out holiday gift cards or coupons to your diners. To help maximize your efforts, here are a few ideas you might want to consider this holiday season:

  • Create a unique festive holiday design for your gift cards
  • Spread the word using promotional emails or social media posts
  • Gift your customers who purchase your gift cards for their friends and family

Don’t forget, the purpose of these efforts is to give back and show your appreciation. You know your customers best. Figure out what speaks to them and choose your gifts appropriately.

raise restaurant profits during the holidays

9 - Make a reservation checklist and check it twice.

As the holiday season rolls around, it’s a great time to put together a reservation checklist or refresh your staff on your reservation policies. While it may seem unnecessary, having a well-thought-out checklist for managing your reservations will help to ensure everyone is on the same page, including you, your staff, and your customers.

Miscommunications are inevitable when it comes to managing reservations. After all, you’re more than likely going to have multiple people handling one single reservation. From taking the reservation to confirming, welcoming them to your restaurant, and serving, there will be a lot of players involved.

The best way to help minimize any miscommunications is with the help of a handy reservation checklist. Your reservation checklist should include topics such as:

Confirmed number of guests

  • How many people or large parties your restaurant can take in any given time frame
  • Detail the staffing requirements for large parties
  • The rule regarding following up with large parties (example: 24-hour contact)
  • Cancellation policies and how to explain them to customers
  • How to handle no-shows (example: collect a deposit at the time the reservation is made)

At the end of the day, you won’t be able to avoid all miscommunications, but having a checklist in place will help you to minimize the threat.

10 - Offer holiday parties to go.

Whether your dining room has limited capacity or not, customers may still not be in the mood for indoor dining this holiday season. Make sure that you can accommodate those holiday parties that prefer to stick to their own locations.

Offering catering options to your customers is an excellent way to make sure that you can host all of the holiday parties that seek you out this season.

To bring your catering options up a notch, you can offer delivery options. Even if you don’t typically offer delivery, catering, or take-out, the holiday season is the perfect opportunity to bring this service in for a brief amount of time.

Don’t forget about your marketing efforts to make sure you promote these services, especially if you don’t typically offer them year-round. Be sure to cater to the convenience of having a holiday gathering without the stress of preparing the meal yourself.

Trust us when we say that your customers will be thrilled to hear that you understand and appreciate their concerns regarding their busy schedules this holiday season.

Final thoughts.

The holiday season is meant to be fun-filled and cheerful, not stressful and chaotic. With the help of these 10 tips to boost restaurant profits during the holidays, hopefully you can now enjoy this wonderful time of the year.

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