With Thanksgiving just around the corner, the holiday season is here at last. With the festive mood of the holidays comes hungry and thirsty guests that fill up many restaurants this time of year. With the extra obligations that come with the holidays such as shopping, travel and decorating, many people flock to restaurants during November and December to unwind and bond with friends and family. If your restaurant tends to get busier during the holiday season, this can also be a very stressful time for your restaurant staff if you don’t help them prepare. Get your restaurant staff ready for the holidays with these tips:
1) Look at records from previous years to plan ahead
If you tend to have large parties show up to your restaurant or demand increases for a specific dish on your menu, there are steps you can take to ensure you don’t sacrifice the happiness of your customers, or the tip earnings of your staff. Get your restaurant ready for the holidays by making sure you have more than enough ingredients and supplies to support the restaurant menu demand from years past. Encourage large parties to make reservations ahead of time, by offering discounts as an incentive. Promote this policy on your website, social media, and with signs throughout your restaurant. Also, ask your employees and customers for their thoughts on changes that tend to take place among your restaurant consumers during the holiday season.
2) Give your staff an honest heads up
The most effective way to get your restaurant ready for the holidays is to let your staff know exactly what to expect. Don’t leave them blindsided by a busy holiday rush they were completely unprepared for. Prepare your restaurant staff for the holiday season by letting staff members know if they will have to work later certain nights, and train them on how to turn tables faster on busy nights. Also, encourage better communication between kitchen staff and front-of-the-house staff such as servers.
3) Give your restaurant technology a boost
If you don’t already have online and mobile ordering options for restaurant customers, get your restaurant ready for the holidays by implementing them as soon as you can. Online and mobile ordering is a win-win for your staff and your customers. It creates a lower chance of human error on customer’s orders, and wastes less of your staff’s time taking orders over the phone. Make sure you thoroughly advertise these options, so customers are aware of them. Offer online-only discounts to help spread the good news.
Also, you may want to consider a better ticketing system to help your staff reduce chances of making mistakes. Instead of handwritten tickets, you can have your servers take orders on tablets. And in your kitchen, you can install a Kitchen Display System (KDS), which can help your kitchen staff expedite orders faster.
4) Hire seasonal help where needed
While a busier holiday season is a great chance for your staff to make more money, you also don’t want to burn them out. If your restaurant tends to get busier this time of year, get your restaurant ready for the holidays by hiring some extra staff. Especially during special events and when large parties come to your restaurant, make sure you have a few extra servers and bussers to help. Appearing understaffed can leave a bad taste in customers’ mouths and negatively affect the reputation of your restaurant.
Author: Jessica Cody
Jessica Cody, a native of Fairfield County, Connecticut, has a background in online marketing and public relations. Currently, she works at VHMNetwork LLC in the role of Marketing Analyst. She is a graduate of the University of Connecticut, where she studied Journalism and Political Science. She is also an avid runner with a passion for the outdoors.