Booking Holiday Parties for Your Restaurant by Nicole Valentin
The holiday season is upon us and you know what that means: People will be out and about; family will be in town, and everyone will be eating and drinking – a lot. Over 50% of most restaurant revenue can be generated over the four month holiday season. Which begs the question: What are you doing today to bring in returning customers and create new ones over the season?
Here are some of my favorite revenue generating holiday ideas:
1. Seasonal Food and Drink Menus
It’s smart to switch it up and cater to the seasons. You can create a new festive cocktail menu and offer heavier, comforting food options to stay timely. A pre fixe seasonal menu offered on the corresponding holiday is also a great way to celebrate the season and secure new customers. When the air cools, you want something that smells like Thanksgiving in your cup and on your plate. Cinnamon, Pumpkin, Star Anise, and Nutmeg are all flavors that evoke the holiday spirit. Tie this into a few new menu options and see how happy you make your customers. If you’re located in a transient city, with a lot of out-of-towners, this is the perfect opportunity to secure business as those people will be without their families over the holidays and are looking for great restaurants and local watering holes to make them feel at home.
2. Have a Presence at Local Events
There are lots of local events in almost every city during the holidays that require food and drink stands. Participate in holiday music festivals, tree lighting ceremonies, craft shows, and parades. Whatever your city does, your business should be a part of it as a community outreach effort. The more exposure you give your business during the season, the more likely you will see a return on investment within the same quarter. People are spending the most amount of money annually during the holidays. Stay on their minds by getting in front of their faces, and they’ll walk through your doors.
Who doesn’t love a beautifully decorated building around the holidays? Set the tone with tasteful, festive decorations and candlelight. Seasonal decorations can walk a fine line between cheesy and classic holiday appeal. Be sure not to go overboard. Classic and simple is always best. But watch how your customers react when they see the lengths you’ve gone to to create a warm, inviting atmosphere that evokes the holiday spirit.
4. Recruit Corporate Holiday Parties
Appoint someone in your management staff, or if you have one, your marketing department, to actively recruit businesses to hold their holiday parties at your establishment. This is a huge revenue generator for lots of restaurants during season. And if you can handle large parties, this is a key to staying busy throughout the holidays and beyond. Some businesses hold holiday parties in January, typically a slow month for most restaurants. But with a few of these group parties locked down, you can ensure that your staff and business will have a solid first quarter.
5. Throw a Party!
New Year’s Eve is the best night out of the season to host a big bash! Make sure you start promoting it early enough out. Right after Halloween is a good time. You can hand out inserts and have your chef create an elegant but easy to execute pre-fix dinner with corresponding cocktails. And don’t forget the complimentary champagne toast for everyone at midnight! You can even do a themed party to spice things up.
6. Start promoting NOW!
You can have the best holiday menu in town, or the swankiest New Years Eve party planned and it won’t matter if you’re not actively promoting it early enough out. People plan and coordinate with friends and family months in advance. So should you. If you’re planning a New Year’s Eve bash, don’t wait until the last minute to create the menu with your chef. Work on it now and start getting it out there right after Halloween. Seed with social media and other online platforms. Work with your advertising agency to develop a strategy for Q4 that is going to ensure you are making the most out of the holiday season.
The best gift you can give yourself this Christmas is a busy restaurant and we’re here to help you make it happen by advising you along the way and making sure you’re properly promoting it!