It’s the most wonderful time of the year according to Andy Williams’ festive tune, and it’s worth remembering that it’s also the most lucrative time for the foodservice industry. People start to think and plan their Xmas drinks and meals as early as September and it’s important to take advantage of this seasonal cheer. Most people are in the mood to treat themselves and increase their usual spend on food and drinks, as well as spoiling friends and family. To this end, we’ve come up with five easy ways to help you capitalise on the season of goodwill.
Offer a smooth booking facility
Organising the Christmas party is usually left to one optimistic individual, who more often than not have a lot of other responsibilities on their plate too. You can help set your establishment apart from the rest by making the booking process as hassle-free as possible. Think about allowing online booking through companies such as Open Table or Book a Table, and try and make booking a table with you a pleasant experience from the off.
Embrace the weird
We are not suggesting that you ditch the turkey (heaven forbid) but it can pay to appreciate the less traditional elements of Christmas. These days, it’s less about the formal three courses and more about sharing platters and fusion cuisine. Williams’s Onyx CPC2 Preparation Counter is perfect for this as it allows you to organise lots of small ingredients in one tidy prep station. Small bite-sized platters mean everyone can try a little of what they fancy, as well as being a more sociable way of dining. This also takes the hassle out of pre-ordering for the party organiser also.
Fusing the modern with the traditional can be a clever way of winning over a mixture of customers, those who stick with the norm and those who embrace the new. Offering the traditional roast meat with a variety of unusual side dishes can be a real crowd pleaser. Offering a variety of herbs, nuts or fruit in amongst your traditional vegetable dishes can elevate the meal to something really festive.
Get ahead with festive drinks
Come December most people are in the mood for a festive tipple or two. Theming your drinks around Christmas flavours such as cinnamon, ginger and cranberry is a doddle when you prepare ahead. Arranging all of the ingredients needed within easy reach of your bar staff is simple with the Williams TW4 Thermowell - a refrigerated countertop unit designed to keep ingredients perfectly chilled. Sliced fruit and other garnishes can be prepared ahead of time and kept perfectly cool ready for service.
Don’t forget the children
Happy children equal happy parents - so don’t overlook the little ones in your festive menu planning. Make sure your Christmas meal options are available in mini versions to satisfy the more mature palate, but also win over the fussier kids with the more usual child-friendly meals too. Festive variations such as battered turkey goujons with cranberry dip or a brie and turkey burger are a fun way of injecting some Xmas into your more standard meals.
Rewards for a gloomy January
Post-new year is a bit of a lull for all as purse strings and belts are tightened. January is typically a difficult month for retailers and the catering industry as cutbacks begin after the Christmas decadence. A great way of ensuring a steady trade in this quieter period is to engage with your Christmas meal customers directly. Offering an enticing deal or vouchers to visit in the New Year guarantees a little bit of traffic in your quieter months. Engaging the customers in planning for the next big occasion, St Valentine’s Day, can also inspire extra bookings.
Wishing you a happy, healthy and fruitful Christmas season, from all at Williams Refrigeration.