Yes, I know the kids haven’t even gone back to school yet, but Christmas should be your most profitable time of year, and this year will probably be more competitive than ever. So here are 20 actions to do now, so you don’t leave things to chance, and help get you on track for your best Christmas season ever.
- Finalise your Christmas menus offering lots of sparkle to give your customers exceptional value for money, and make you stand out from the competition.
- Make sure you fully cost everything including extra labour costs, entertainment, decorations and non-food consumables to ensure you are still on target to reach your profit margins.
- Plan your minimum spend per booking, taking into account popular dates and less popular times, and price accordingly.
- Be creative with the type of events you can hold – can certain areas be roped off for drinks parties, pre dinner receptions or buffet events. If demand normally outstrips your capacity can you hire a marquee for the garden (with all the appropriate access, lighting and heating of course)?
- Create a Christmas web page(s), which includes menus, costs, capacity, deposits, dates, times of service, etc.
- As well as the small print, make your Christmas web page inviting: Dig out your old photos of past Christmases with everyone having a good time, and the restaurant or hotel looking its cheery best.
- Plan your promotional material and get this professionally designed and printed as soon as you have finalised your promotions.
- Set up a Pay Per Click campaign on Google Adwords to attract Christmas parties.
- Make it easy to pay deposits – ideally with a few clicks on line, or via credit cards over the phone. Waiting for a cheque to be posted and cleared is too much hassle for most people, adds more uncertainty for you, and does nothing for your cash flow.
- Brief staff on what you are offering, prices and everything they need to take bookings and deposits.
- Send out regular mailings to everyone on your list (you do have a list, don’t you?) each time focusing on a different aspect of what’s on offer.
- Offer attractive incentives for early bookings (with a deposit).
- Contact everyone who booked last year (and the year before), identifying what you are doing this year to make the occasion different / even better than last year. Include an exclusive offer for them only, and first option on dates.
- It’s never too late to start building a list, so run a competition or prize draw for a seasonal hamper or case of champagne.
- Contact local businesses, club secretaries, local societies, business networking groups, the local gym, village/town hall, and wherever groups of people get together who may want to celebrate.
- Invite party organisers to a preview event to give them a taster, or put together an exclusive offer, to build loyalty.
- Talk to other local businesses who offer complimentary services – your wine merchant, local B&B’s, gift shops, other attractions to share mailing lists, and potential joint ventures.
- Nothing should be competing with your Christmas promotions so don’t plan any other offers or accept other vouchers during this period that undermine your potential Christmas revenue.
- Plan your extra staff requirements now so you don’t get left short. Contact your seasonal workers – and local colleges as soon as they are back – so you can get your pick before the competition or supermarkets snap them up.
- Christmas should be a season of goodwill – so don’t forget your loyal staff and give them something to look forward to and an incentive to put in that bit extra over the busy period, and help you make it a huge success.
To give you that nudge you need and help you get off to a flying start, we are offering a Christmas Menu Review, to help you make sure you are offering the best possible options, whilst earning you the best possible profit margin.
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