What restaurants should do to get ready for the holiday season


The holiday season is fast approaching, and that means hastily getting affordable plane tickets, finding hotel rooms, buying gifts, and looking for a place to eat. Whether your restaurant gets a lot of holiday traffic or not, start taking steps to make sure your place is ready.

The “holiday season” is SIGNIFICANTLY longer than you think so plan ahead

Most people consider the “holiday” season a few days before Christmas plus the holiday itself. But actually, it’s more like 17 days (if you also include New Year’s). So instead of thinking that everything it’s going to go back to normal after Christmas, it’s going to be closer to getting back to normal after New Year’s. Remember that while a lot of people will go back to work the day after Christmas, many people won’t be getting back to work until the beginning of the New Year.

The decision on whether your place should be open on Thanksgiving and/or Christmas depends on your staff and your patrons

The common sense answer is “Yes, absolutely my place will be closed on the major holidays,” and that’s true for most major places around the nation (with a few exceptions). And even though common sense would be to just close, you have to keep a couple things in mind.

One thing you have to keep in mind is whether the holidays are actually busy for your establishment. If you are the place that’s busier during certain holidays (such as Labor Day or usually any other bank holiday), then you might have to be inclined to be open during the holidays. Additionally, if you know for sure that your patrons would want to eat out at your place during holiday season, then you’ll have a reason.

And as a sense of courtesy to you as the owner or the manager, try to be as accommodating as possible to your staff should you decide your restaurant be open during Thanksgiving or Christmas. If people really wants the hours, go ahead. But otherwise, try to make accommodations and/or rewards to maintain employee morale.

If you live in an area with inclement weather, take advantage of it.

Floridian restaurants have it easy. But if your place snows a lot around this time or experiences similar inclement, it can be way too easy to throw in the towel and enjoy the eggnog.

However, there is a way to turn the frown upside down on the situation.

Instead, offer something tantamount to a “bad weather special.” When you feel like you start to get snowed in or you have a lot of nasty weather coming, start offering free coffee and something similar to create a warming environment so your patrons wouldn’t start stressing about being snowed in. In a way, your patrons went out of their way to visit your place instead of lying on their respective beds binge-watching Netflix all-day. Think of it as a way to reward them for going the extra mile.