The holidays are just around the corner, as soon as the Christmas rush is behind you, it’s time to start preparing for New Year’s Eve. The festive season is the perfect time to showcase your restaurant and create an exceptional dining experience.
We're sharing our top tips for ensuring a packed house whether you are a fine dining restaurant, pop-up restaurant, fast casual restaurant or bistro!
A special holiday menu!
During the holidays, your guests expect an exquisite dining experience with menu items that are thought through and enhances the festive mood.
Creating a festive menu for a fixed price, with variations to accommodate vegetarians, vegans and specific allergies, also makes things easier for you. A fixed menu means your kitchen staff don’t have to prepare and cook dozens of different dishes at once.
There are many traditions on what to eat during Christmas whereas on New Year’s Eve you can be more creative and go outside the box. Of course some guests like the menu to contain a few traditional holiday dishes and ingredients, such as lobster, salmon, steak, fillet of beef, champagne etc.
Thinking creatively around your menu items and substituting expensive ingredients for more cost effective, yet appealing, options will reinvigorate a menu and drive profitability.
Promote your menu and restaurant concept
Most people make reservations well in advance, so make sure you have plenty of time to promote your menu.
- Take photos of your dishes to promote your New Year’s menu. There’s no need to hire a graphic designer: free software like Canva makes it easy to create a stunning menu!
- At the restaurant you can promote your menu by creating advertisements for each table and encourage your guests to book early.
- Make sure you have the menu on your website and a button to reserve a table
- Showcasing your menu on social media such as Facebook, Instagram and TikTok can help you create engagement and get new guests to your restaurant. Get more tips about social media.
- Ask your followers on Facebook and Instagram to share your menu and follow your page for a chance to win a holiday dinner for two. This is a very budget-friendly way to boost your visibility.
Once you’ve set your menu and tested your recipes, it’s time to start ordering your ingredients. You want to make sure everything you need will be in stock.
Make it easy to book a table
Hand-written reservations are a thing of the past. Reservation software makes the booking process much easier to manage. Bonus if the reservation system is integrated with your POS system!
A good booking system should be available 24/7 so your customers can make reservations when it’s convenient for them. One in five reservations are made between 10:00 PM and 10:00 AM, according to ZenChef.
A complete booking software also allows you to send reminders by text messages or e-mail, which helps to prevent no-shows. These notifications make sure your customers don't forget their reservation or remind them to cancel if they can’t make it. The software can also recommend alternative dates based on your availability.
This makes it easy for customers to cancel if needed and helps you keep track of your bookings.
Ambiance and restaurant theme
Do you want your guests to stay until the early hours? Think about what kind of service you’ll offer. Is dinner alone enough? If you want to entice guests to stay as long as possible, you’ll have to get them excited about the rest of the night as well. You could hire a musician, a DJ or a band. Or you could create a dance floor where guests can dance the night away as they ring in New Year’s Eve.
Don’t forget about the restaurant design, the ambiance you like to create. Make sure to decorate according to your theme, and chose the right type of music, lightning and scent. All of these elements together are sure to create a memorable dining experience and evening!
As you undoubtedly know, good staff is hard to come by – especially during the holidays! Many employees ask for leave during the holiday season to go on vacation or to spend time with their loved ones. So be sure to start your search for extra staff as soon as possible!
These tips will increase your chances of a full house during the holiday season. Start preparing as early as you can!