Christmas is the “most wonderful time of year” for hospitality. After quieter Autumn trading, the festive season brings a surge in demand and a chance to drive repeat custom.

The festive atmosphere marks an increase in footfall and a boost to profits. The best operators will exploit this further to maximise revenue in preceding months. Providing customers with exceptional service during December will promote the long-term health of their business. Here are our top tips to make this Christmas a roaring success.

Prepare in Advance All Year Round

Kitchens tend to run most efficiently on Christmas day. In anticipation of a high footfall and eagerness to get home to families, most of the meal preparation is done beforehand. This shortens the service length and keeps labour costs down. Customers benefit from reduced waiting times and staff experience less pressure during their shifts. It would make a huge difference to take this approach throughout the year.

Schedule to Match Demand

The festive period brings a unique pattern of high demand for sales and is the busiest time of year for hospitality. A large group booking will justify having additional team members on shift. However, if you know the party will only be on site for a few hours, there is little point having everyone working the whole day. To maximise revenues and staff productivity, stagger start and end times. This will reduce unnecessary labour spend and encourage flexible working. Staggering start times will make team members more receptive to a later than usual finish. A well organised rota will keep staff energised to provide high quality service and makes it easier for them to plan their festive activities.

Upsell Premium Products

Christmas is the time of year when customers want to celebrate and treat themselves. They are more willing to indulge in exciting drinks and festive desserts. This is the perfect occasion to upsell premium products. It is important staff are pushing high margin products in a way that highlights the variety of choices available. Emphasising a high-quality wine or specially selected dessert option is the simplest way to maximise spend per head. Failure to do so is a wasted opportunity and could potentially harm future profits too.

Make it a Memorable Experience

Focusing on high quality food and service is a sure-fire way to drive repeat custom. As seen at the Propel Multi Club Conference this Autumn, exceptional food quality is the number one driver of people recommending a venue to family and friends. Christmas brings countless new people to pubs, restaurants, and other hospitality sites. This is the perfect opportunity to mitigate those January blues by converting these seldom-seen seasonals into year-round regulars. Making sure there are enough staff working will help to deliver a memorable experience that will keep customers returning long after the Christmas decorations are stashed away.

Reward Your Team!

Rewarding staff for working the festive period is crucial. Employees in hospitality sacrifice their own time with family and friends so guests can enjoy a special occasion. Plan an end of festive season event, such as drinks after a busy shift, to show staff how valued they are. It gives staff something to look forward to and appreciate words can have a huge impact on morale. Happy, motivated staff are much more likely to deliver exceptional service, earning valuable repeat custom into the spring and beyond.

The festive period is an excellent opportunity for hospitality businesses to enhance their reputation with customers and generate repeat custom in the following weeks and months.

S4Labour helps users schedule the optimal number of staff during busy periods. This allows its users to take advantage of increased sales opportunities, whilst maintaining high standards of service and driving repeat business. Click here to find out more about the benefits of S4Labour.   

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