As the Thanksgiving holiday fast approaches and the cold fronts roll in, many consumers will be bundling up and heading out of their homes to do their winter shopping. With special sales events like Black Friday coming up, everyone will be out and about checking holiday gifts off their lists. As time runs low, consumers will be turning to restaurants like yours to keep them energized as they frantically scramble to get gift shopping done in time. This means that as a restaurant, you had better be prepared! Your customers will have been battling lines and catty cashiers all day, and will expect their meal to be a relaxing break away from the mall madness. Here are some handy tips from ShortOrder to prepare your restaurant for a heavy holiday load while maintaining winter cheer.
1. Prepare the restaurant for volume. Since more holiday shoppers will be out and about grabbing a bite when they need it or taking the family out to dinner at the end of the day, it’s time to ready your restaurant equipment and prepare for your normal rush hours to shift. Consider creating a “fixed menu” for your restaurant, highlighting a smaller number of your favorite, easy-to-make entrees or holiday desserts. This will let you know exactly which ingredients you’ll need more of, and the kitchen will be able to work more efficiently and quickly.
2. Prepare employees for overstaffing. Let employees know that since you need to make sure you have enough manpower to keep things running smoothly, there will be more people on hand. After all, it’s easier to let someone go home early than to find someone to fill in at the last minute. Make sure that all employees are on the same page concerning changes to the menu or procedures during the holiday season.
3. Do a smallwares inventory. Check to make sure that there is no shortage of smallware such as linens, plateware, silverware, and water or wine glasses. There’s not much worse than a thirty-minute hiccup during peak business hours as servers wait for glassware from the dishwasher or a cook is waiting for clean plates.
4. Advertise! Long before shoppers venture out into the cold, make sure that you are promoting your restaurant and letting them know whether you’ll be open on the important holidays. If you have one, make sure to promote your banquet room – you never know who is looking for a place to host their holiday company event or family gathering!
5. Stay organized. Keep track of all reservations to avoid a double-booking disaster. And forgetting to write down a reservation can be just as bad as double-booking– when customers reserve tables and make plans ahead of time, they expect everything to run smoothly on their “special night”. On the kitchen end of things, have someone oversee the stocking of your commercial refrigerator every night. Don’t let the high volume of business catch you off guard!