Restaurant furniture and how to prepare your venue for the busy festive period
The summer holidays are over, the kids are back at school and it seems the mornings are already fresher than in recent weeks. Summer has undoubtedly been an extremely busy time at home and at work and if you own or manage a hospitality setting, Christmas will now be in your sights – Possibly the busiest time of year and the most profitable, it’s important your venue is ready for the festive period which of course includes New Year. But where do you start? We’ll take you through menus to marketing through to restaurant furniture and planning.
Check your diary
Which day does Christmas fall on? This will actually have quite a large impact on trade. This year Christmas does, in fact, fall on a Wednesday which means that lots of people will still be at work on the Monday and Tuesday. So, make sure your promotions are geared up to those after work revelers.
Your ongoing, consistent staff may be fantastic employees, however, they will more than likely want some time off over the Christmas period. And so, if you’re looking for staff to cover, advertise now – How many do you need? Advertise early and make sure you get the best pick off the bunch. This also means that you will have plenty of time to train them on the business – Your brand, your processes, your systems, your menu etc. Hiring someone the day before they’re needed could potentially be a recipe for disaster. And once you have your employees in place, plan your rotas to give enough time to shuffle this around before Christmas trading commences.
Planning your menu early should enable you to negotiate discounts with suppliers and passing those discounts onto your customers, giving them an extra incentive to book. Creating a set menu (including vegetarian and even vegan options) will ensure your venue appeals to the masses. It’s also worth featuring special offers on drinks for those customers who are eating, for example a complimentary glass of bubbles or mulled wine for every customer (or of course something soft for the littlies!).
The Christmas party
Work forces around the UK will be planning their Christmas parties NOW! Yes, it’s only September, however, venues get booked up quickly and businesses and organisations like to book their parties as early as possible to ensure they have a decent party to go to, to reward their employees. So, make sure you have a clear offer, i.e. your menu is set, you know how much you’re charging per head, how many people you can comfortably cater for and any entertainment etc. You can promote to organisations directly, via social media, leaflet drops, your website and even radio.
Also, make sure you’re realistic – Who is your target market and what would they be willing to pay. Yes, Christmas tends to be about indulgence in terms of our appetites and our wallets, however, budgets can also be tight and so make sure this fits.
Restaurant furniture and layout
UK Christmas spending is set to reach a staggering £77.5 billion! But how can your venue maximise profit within this period with clever use of space and restaurant furniture? We’ve got some statistics for you which may make you re-think your restaurant furniture needs:
Could you fit in 4 more tables with 4 chairs at each = 16 people
With an average of 4 sittings per day 16 x 4= 64 sittings per day
If each sitting is worth £25 = £1,600
x 31 days in December = £49,600 increase in revenue!!
It is expected that 20% of UK residents will dine out on Christmas day. Do you have the correct tables and seating to cater for parties of up to 20 people?
If your venue could sit 60 people on Christmas day
With an average of 3 sittings
At an average of £30 per person for a 3 course set meal
This amounts to a colossal £5400 increase in revenue!!
Are your waiting times and queues too long? Is it because you simply don’t have enough chairs per table?
If each chair is worth £25 per sitting
And you’re turning away 30 customers per day over the 4 week Christmas period
This amounts to a staggering £23 250 increase in revenue!!
You can incentivise your staff to secure bookings in the form of a bonus and you can incentivise businesses to book with you. For example you could offer the organiser a meal for two for January/February if they are to book with you.
Marketing and promotion
Now you have your plan in place, it’s time to shout about it. No matter how big or small your venue, marketing and advertising your business, doesn’t need to be a costly exercise.
If you have an email database, you can start getting the word out in advance and offer your email recipients some kind of VIP experience or offer for booking with you. It’s a great way to create a buzz around your event. Mix email marketing with social media on all of your usual social platforms and use print marketing such as flyers in support. You may even be able to get your local press to cover your events and gain some valuable PR. And of course, make sure you don’t forget your own website, which could include banners and even a booking engine to turn web visits into solid bookings.
Once again, think about your audience – Who are you targeting? What do they want to hear and through which channels.
Plan plan plan
Make sure your staff (who are taking the bookings) know each and every drill. Ensure there’s only one system or diary for bookings to avoid confusion and disappointment from an employer’s point of view and a customer’s perspective. Remember you will be able to hold several sittings and so plan the timings of these in order to maximise your revenue.
Christmas is all about socialising, spending time with friends, families and colleagues and getting into the Christmas spirit. So, your venue needs to appeal to this notion with some (tasteful) decorations, lighting, music and all round atmosphere. Your staff could be dressed in theme (this doesn’t have to be tacky) and you could offer a free glass of mulled wine to get everyone in the mood.
Although Christmas may feel like a lifetime away, it really isn’t and the earlier you prepare your venue, restaurant furniture needs, menu, promotion and staff, the more chance you have of maximising your profits this Christmas. And, if you provide an unforgettable experience for your customers this Christmas, they will book with you time and time again.
To discuss your restaurant furniture requirements, please take a look at our website: eclipsefurniture.co.uk or contact us now on 01452 336520 e: firstname.lastname@example.org