7 Steps To Prepare Your Restaurant For Thanksgiving
Every day requires preparation when you work in a restaurant, but Thanksgiving takes it to an entirely different level. The fact is that restaurants open on Thanksgiving day will be busier and customers will expect more. They are entrusting their holiday to you and they expect you to meet their needs. This means getting your restaurant completely ready for the rush before the big day arrives. If everything is ready and waiting, then your wait staff can focus on serving the meal and pleasing your customers. Stop and take a look at each area of your restaurant and see where you can prepare early.
Back of the House
If your kitchen isn’t ready then the day will not be successful. It is important that your kitchen run smoothly throughout the hours that you will be serving Thanksgiving dinner. This means getting every aspect of the kitchen prepared in advance. Here are a number of things you can do to help this process:
- Proper Staffing: Make sure that you are properly staffed: Nothing is worse than being short-handed on one of the busiest days of the year. It is much better to have too many employees and find yourself needing to send some home, than to have too few and have customers get frustrated with slow orders. See our article on Thanksgiving staffing for more helpful tips.
- Stock up: You will be serving a lot of food on Thanksgiving and you will need to be prepared. Once you market your dinner, it is vital that you have everything you need. Can you imagine the chaos if you ran out of turkey? Order well in advance and order plenty of food.
- Organize for productivity: Because you will be serving different types of food than normally served, the layout of your kitchen and work stations may need to be changed temporarily. Make sure that everything is set up so that it is most productive for the staff and can help them to provide food quickly.
Front of the House
The front of the house is what your customers will see and enjoy while they dine. It is important that it is fully prepared for this busy day. Here are some ideas to help you make sure that your customers have a pleasant experience:
- Stock the wait stands: Make sure there is plenty of everything at each stand, from napkins, utensils and menus, to salt, pepper and more, stocking up will prevent customers from having to wait too long while their server looks for what they need. It also helps the server keep up with the high demands of the day.
- Fully staff the restaurant: You would rather have more employees on staff, than too few. Limit the number of tables you give each server so that customers can get extra-special attention and make sure you have plenty of hosts and even managers on duty.
- Prepare for groups: It is Thanksgiving and many families will be dining out together. Set up an area with large tables for groups and divide it up among servers. Be ready when you get those large groups and they will be impressed with how quickly they get a table and service.
- Create the right ambiance: Add centerpieces, décor and other things to create a soft, comfortable feeling for your guests. Remember that this is a holiday and they chose to spend it with you. If you make them feel welcome and happy while they are in your restaurant, chances are that not only will you see them again next year, but probably even sooner.