By Danilo Mangano, Managing Director, International at SevenRooms (sevenrooms.com/en/)
With the Christmas spirit in full swing and preparations for the big day underway, consumers are looking forward to a festive holiday season filled with meals with family, friends and colleagues.The hospitality industry has an invaluable opportunity to take full advantage of the fast-approaching party season and end the year on a high by maximising revenue this December. From putting together the perfect holiday menu to enhancing promotional marketing, there are various steps restaurants can take to ensure that they keep patrons and profit margins happy this season.
CREATING THE PERFECT CHRISTMAS MENU
A well-executed winter menu is an excellent way to drive direct reservations while keeping guests in the festive spirit. Regardless of whether you are offering an entire Christmas set menu, or a couple of carefully selected seasonal specials, it is important for restaurants to get creative and showcase some seasonal flair.While crowd-pleasing classics will always have their place on the menu, catering to more adventurous palettes can be a great way for restaurants to draw in new customers. Here are some classic promotional Christmas menu ideas that you can ask your chefs to get creative with:
Christmas Eve “Feast of Seven Fishes”
Modern twists on classics like Brussels sprouts and cranberry sauce Show-stopping roast ham, turkey, or duck (or even a three bird roast!) Home-smoked salmon for New Year’s celebrations
Since Christmas is the perfect time for a tipple, providing customers with an exciting range of festive drink options is an equally lucrative opportunity to increase sales. Putting a unique twist on an eggnog, mulled wine, or some non-alcoholic punch is a sure-fire way to tempt guests to indulge and spend a little extra over the holiday season. As beverages often play a crucial role in upselling, offering patrons a welcoming pre-dinner glass of champagne, a seasonal cocktail, or some wine to accompany their cheeseboard are a few easy ways to maximise takings.
Utilising customer data can play an instrumental role in helping restaurants select and create their festive offerings. By analysing approved data, restaurants have the ability to curate a range of dishes guaranteed to cater to their guests’ preferences, and promote their menus through a range of marketing promotions.
MARKETING FESTIVE PACKAGES AND PROMOTIONS
The options for Christmas promotions are endless, and a well-constructed marketing campaign can help your restaurant stand out from competitors. In addition to the standard catering and drinks packages geared towards larger groups and office parties, offering more unique promotions will help to attract regulars and newcomers alike.
Partnering with local businesses, for example, is an excellent way to grab guests’ attention.Whether you decide to collaborate with a local brewery to commission a festive beer, offer gift cards or giveaways, sell a wide range of branded gifts, or present a bespoke dining experience with a regional cheesemaker, the benefits of cross-promotion can help drive sales over the festive period.These offers can play a crucial role in retaining customers for the long term by keeping restaurants top of mind with guests.
Don’t forget to market to previous dine-in and delivery customers.With fewer restrictions in place this year, now is the perfect time to attract the attention of takeaway regulars or guests that may not have visited in a while, giving them a reason to celebrate on-premise this holiday season.
The winter holidays are undoubtedly the busiest time of the year for the hospitality industry.As restaurants prepare to welcome a rush of patrons, it is vital to ensure that operations are running as smoothly as possible. Technology has an important role to play in this, helping operators do more with less and giving them the tools to provide diners with outstanding experiences. Creating tailored customer segments that resonate with each audience is a great way of taking control of guest data. Communicating these messages through personalised emails that offer diners the opportunity to try the latest festive promotions is an excellent way to maximise the holiday season, while boosting sales in the quieter months to follow.
Christmas is a huge opportunity, which should be about more than just opening your doors and welcoming the increase in covers. Getting creative with your offerings and taking control of customer data are the best ways of maximising revenue over the festive period, while ensuring that diners come back for more in the new year.