The season of comfort and joy is here, but in the industry, stress can easily outweigh feel-good vibes. Ensure your customers have memorable celebrations and take the stress out of planning with these quick planning tips.

Staffing Support

You’ve already begun seasonal hiring, but you may need to bulk up your staff further into the new year. Entice new workers and retain current staff with extra perks like holiday pay, team parties, and gift cards.

Put a deadline on requests off. Asking to have R/Os in earlier than usual is not unreasonable; last minute scheduling issues are the last thing you need to deal with. Consider posting sign-up sheets for the peak dates. By putting people on their desired shifts, you can fill the spaces without even needing to stress about who you're going to give days off to. One Source partner, Qwick, can ensure shifts get filled with high quality staff while controlling your staffing costs.

Meal Kit Merriment

Don't miss out on the revenue to be had from those who like to host from home. Offer holiday meal kits boasting choices for the consumer who wants to enjoy the comfort of their own house, while saving time in the kitchen to focus on family. Whether you offer pre-portioned ingredients along with a few famous recipes, or pre-cooked meals to simply heat up in the oven, this is a great opportunity to expand your reach beyond your dining room.

Keep offerings limited but allow buyers to build their own meal from a variety of options within each course. Having a couple vegan and/or vegetarian options is important in today's market, and of course, don't forget dessert!

Catering to Everyone

There's always high demand for catering with the abundance of winter events upon us: corporate holiday parties, family functions, and winter weddings, to name a few. Advertise so as people start planning, you're first on their minds. Consider offering an incentive to encourage people to book ASAP. When reservations fill up early, not only are you guaranteed profits, but you also have more time to then prep for maximum efficiency.

Take stock of your inventory so you're able to take on bigger and better events that come your way. The larger the groups, the more dietary considerations you'll need to accommodate, so include a few gluten-free, dairy-free, and veg options so everyone can celebrate.

Gift the Goods

In recent years, consumers aren't even waiting until Black Friday to get in on deals. Ramp up your loyalty program and increase revenue with holiday gift cards. Offer bundle deals on your gift cards now to catch those early birds getting all their shopping done so they can kick back and relax. Gifting "experiences" instead of tangible items is more popular than ever, so make it a no-brainer for people to buy their favorite foodies a dining experience they'll rave about for years.

Happy Hour is a great opportunity to sneak in some giveaways as well. Offer a seasonal drink special that automatically enters guests into a drawing. Ask your brand reps for any goodies they may have, like clothing items or sporting event tickets. Other great raffle prizes are gift cards, discounts, or freebies that get them to come back to spend money at your establishment. Announce winners on social media and your e-mail newsletter, and you'll already have everyone signed up for future marketing too.

Winter Wonderland

Don't skimp on decor; it's important because it evokes memories and magic that so often gets overlooked in the consumerism aspect of adulting. Decorate your establishment beautifully (within the realm of your brand, of course) and folks will be taking all their pictures with you — even better for your social media.

Also, consider coming up with something family-centric promos to win over parents whose kids usually get excluded from fancy holiday functions. Hire mascots for a day of Polaroids; have a hot cocoa and cookie decorating station; or show holiday movies on your TVs while families dine. Sounds like holiday magic everyone can get behind.

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