With Thanksgiving in the rearview mirror, the next challenge for restaurants is surviving the lead up to Christmas and New Year’s. December is a busy time of year for most people between planning holiday gatherings, wrapping up end of year work commitments, and celebrating with friends and family. In past years, 3 of 4 US-based consumers said eating at restaurants is part of their holiday plans, and that will most likely hold true for 2023. While this is great news for restaurants who benefit from the extra business, it can also be very stressful. Here are a few tips to thrive during the holiday season.
Perhaps the most important thing in having a successful holiday season is making sure you’re staffed correctly. Having the right number of employees on a shift means you’ll be able to hit your speed of service expectations and deliver an excellent customer experience. It also reduces the stress your employees will feel during a rush. Remember that during the holidays patterns of consumer behavior might change. For example, you might get busier on more weeknights or maybe your Saturday lunch period lasts longer than usual. Reviewing sales history from previous years can help you plan correctly. If this is your first year being open in December then error on the side of over-staffing. It is much easier to cut a server than to call someone in once you get busy.
Speaking of your staff, the holidays are the perfect time to show them how much you appreciate their hard work. If you’re able to offer a financial bonus, doing so before Christmas is a great way to make employees feel valued. However, cash isn’t the only way to celebrate your staff. Other ideas include:
While December is probably not the right time of year to invest in new technology, equipment, or systems it is a good time to start thinking about the new year. Start by evaluating where you stand today and what your goals are for the upcoming year. Here are some questions to ask yourself:
The most important tip: remember to take a deep breath every once in a while. Running a restaurant is hard work, especially during the holiday season. But serving others and providing hospitality is also highly rewarding. Try to remember that, and you’re likely to have a successful December!