Is your business prepared for Christmas? At this time of year, most restaurants, bars and pubs are ready, if not implementing plans for the festive season. In 2017, UK consumers paid out a whopping £821 billion at Christmas with an estimated £4.2billion of that spent on food and drink.* There is no doubt that Christmas is the largest commercial holiday for both the Retail and Hospitality industry, although there are different customer needs and wants.
If you run a restaurant, bar or pub, you will understand that planning for Christmas far in advance can help to alleviate the stress that comes tied with the season and also give you peace of mind that your business can flourish and reap the financial benefits Christmas has to offer.
GS Systems have vast experience in the hospitality industry, with over 40 years of knowledge on the subject. We have outlined 5 easy ways you can maximise your table bookings this Christmas, next Christmas and every Christmas after.
Running festive offers and promotions are a great way of enticing new customers to your business.
From limited time, special price set menus to complimentary champagne, there’s plenty of opportunities to cater to those looking for culinary festivities by switching up your offerings.
For inspiration look no further than Marco Pierre White’s Wheelers restaurant. Hosting ‘A Merry and White Christmas by Marco Pierre White’, two and three-course festive set menus boast traditional roast turkey and Christmas pudding. The menu and price offering varies to match demand, with rising prices and more extravagant menus during peak times or bookings closer to Christmas Day.
Offering fun festive feasts in your venue is a great way to switch things up and offer your customers something fresh and memorable.
Christmas is the time when large families get together, groups of friends plan a night out and companies put on a staff’s Christmas parties. To catch as many of these revellers as possible, you need to make sure potential customers have up-to-date booking information. Through online booking systems, ensure you showcase your availability so that you can accept last minute bookings and maximise the number of covers your business takes across this busy period. Achieve this through the daily testing and checking of your own systems, analysing the availability you can offer at any given moment. Through using your system regularly, you’re constantly aware of your daily patterns and peaks.
More often than not, these nights are planned 3 or 4 months in advance. Releasing details of your Christmas times, menus and events early will give your customer base time to contemplate and prepare in advance. To make sure that all regular customers start thinking about Christmas bookings, many businesses decorate their premises in early November. This will give customers a feel for any events or parties they may be a part of planning.
Space & Seating
Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you’ve had spare seats at tables, but nowhere to sit a newly arrived party? The seating arrangement of your venue may not cross your mind as the main issue, but it is. Organising your floor plan and being able to know what tables work well with each other if the situation called for the two to be pulled together will help you get the most out of every service this Christmas.
Work out your peak days or hours of trading with your team. Involving everyone ensures that the plans laid out for busy periods are clear to everyone and that everyone will know what to do. Incorporating daily or weekly team meetings with bar, kitchen and front of house staff can become essential in ensuring your staff understand the peaks and pressures the business will experience over the festive period and help them prepare correctly.
Utilise Your Social Media
You can do all the planning and preparations in the world, but it will do no good without marketing. Social media is a fantastic medium for you to engage with your customer base. Any offers or promotions that you are running in the build-up to Christmas can be posted on all your social channels in order to raise awareness. Posting Christmas offers and menus at the end of October and early November will help plant the seeds in the minds of your customer base.
By the time November comes around, people are actively thinking about Christmas shopping, nights out and meals. If you have a large social reach, social media such as Facebook and Instagram can be great cost-effective methods to attract Christmas bookings. If you’re new to Social Media and don’t quite have the customer base – you could look into paid social advertising to help you reach the right people for your business and in turn raise your brand awareness.
Take Deposits In Advance
The ability to take deposits online is a great way of securing custom during seasonal periods.
Our intuitive MAX Bookings system allows you to take online deposits efficiently and with complete legal compliance. MAX Bookings fully integrates with your EPOS system ensuring that online deposits are automatically allocated to a specific reservation. When the guest arrives for their booking the deposit is already logged against the table, saving you and your team time and effort assigning, amending and reconciling deposits in what is already your busiest trading period. MAX Bookings will also send reminders to customers once the booking has been made, urging them to make their deposit soon or their reservation will be cancelled.
MAX Bookings is the easiest, most cost-effective intuitive online table reservations solution on the market. With its full range of dining functionality, it can be tailored to any hospitality business large or small.
Our packages are tailored to suit your business needs for one fixed-rate monthly cost with no hidden fees starting from just £49 a month.