How to Make Sure Your Restaurant Makes a Profit This Holiday Season

Most restaurant owners know that the holidays can be an exciting time if you make money, or a dismal time if you lose money. Some experts estimate that over half of the restaurants around the country experience a decline in sales during the months of November and December, with some businesses losing up to 20%. That can be a huge problem, especially with many restaurants struggling to survive post-Covid. The good news is that if you plan well ahead of the How to Make Sure Your Restaurant Doesn’t Lose Money This Holiday Seasonholiday season, you can be assured that you will be one of those restaurants that makes a profit this holiday season.

Open On the Holidays

Not all restaurants will be open for Thanksgiving or Christmas but each year more and more people decide that they don’t want to deal with the hassle of cooking on these special nights. This means that they would either prefer to take their families out to eat or have their holiday meals catered. This means that if you decide to be one of the few restaurants that are open on Thanksgiving or Christmas, you could end up making a hefty profit. Just be sure to announce this on all the appropriate social media platforms, with your hours posted  In this way, it wil be your restaurant that shows up in Google searches for restaurants open during the holidays. It is also best to get the word out early enough, right after Halloween, so that people who like to make plans will know well in advance, so they can organize their holiday plans accordingly.

Offer Catering and Delivery

Some people don’t want to deal with the hassle of cooking, but also don’t want to spend the holidays in a restaurant. These customers would rather you do the cooking and deliver the food to them. Since you probably set up a catering and delivery system during the covid pandemic, offering these services during the holiday season will be within your realm of expertise. Be sure to advertise your catering and delivery services early enough, and be sure to include catering company holiday parties, if that is within your capabilities. There is a huge potential in catering company holiday parties, in addition to private parties, as almost every company will have some sort of holiday party for their employees. 

Seasonal Menus

If your restaurant will be open on Thanksgiving, chances are that you will want to have a special Thanksgiving dinner menu. But that isn’t the only time that you can make some changes to your menu. Customers love variety and eating foods that fit into the season. Because of this, it can be a great idea to offer a few seasonal items on your menu in conjunction with the holiday season. Try adding a dish with squash in it, pumpkin pie, or a pumpkin flavored beverage. These specials should be touted during the holiday season to attract shoppers and other people who may not ordinarily frequent your restaurant at this time of year. 

Keep Track of Staffing Requirements

Even if a restaurant is busy on Thanksgiving and Christmas day, chances are that the weeks in between these days may be fairly slow. Therefore it makes sense to keep track of staffing requirements and to add or subtract the amount of staff you will need. On any given day you may need to send an employee home in the middle of their shift if things are slow, but during slower seasons, you can expect to do this more often. To keep staff morale up despite this, try to rotate who you send home, and use your common sense when doing so. For example, there are always those employees who don't mind leaving work early, especially during the holiday season. At the same time, there are always those employees who are too valuable to send home early.

Offer Discounts

Another great way to make a profit during the holiday season is to offer discounts or other promotions. Promotions should be compelling enough that they will attract customers to your restaurant during  the busy holiday season, while helping you make a profit from the sale. A good idea is to offer a discount, gift card or free item when someone simply makes a reservation. You can also offer these promotions if they spend over a certain amount of money. To ensure that the customers come back, make the promotional gift card or coupon valid only for a set period of time, which should always be during the slow season that falls between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Found this article helpful? Read more relevant articles and how-to's in the food service industry.