10 Tips to Maximize Your Christmas

The festive season is upon us and at Key Restaurant Group, we always stress that clients should prepare 2-3 months in advance. If you have already started, congratulations, if not…the time is NOW.

Planning may be boring to some, but it is vital to the success of your business, your events, the impressions you leave, and the emotions you create. When planning your campaigns, consider using the S.M.A.R.T acronym (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely) to ensure your strategies are effective.

But first things first…

Ensure Communication. Communicate with your team first. Get their ideas and get them involved. Hold a team meeting and ensure your team understands the importance of this season and what your objectives are. A solid holiday season will help solidify the foundations for the following year.

Create Your Holiday Budget. What is your budget for marketing, advertising, and entertainment? At Key Restaurant Group, we always suggest investing 3-5% of your gross profits into this category. Consider the return on investment, use proper forecasting methods, and don’t be afraid to sell tickets, especially for New Years Eve.

New Years Eve. Get your entertainment sorted out as soon as possible. Local bands, solo artists, DJs, and magicians are all popular forms of entertainment and are often booked early! Consider all options for this evening and again, be creative. How can you be different this year?

Hiring and Training Staff. Once you complete your holiday marketing plan, evaluate your staff requirements. Ask ahead of time for their day off requests. Do you need to hire more seasonal staff to meet potential demand? If so, get them earlier to ensure there is time for adequate training.

Get Involved. The season is a time for giving. As an entrepreneur and leader in your community, take the lead and get involved. Set up a food drive or a toy drive, or have your team volunteer at a shelter for a night. Consider hosting a fundraiser for a non-for-profit in your community. Or if you are open for business on Christmas Day, have a free breakfast, lunch, or dinner for the less fortunate. If you care about your community, they will care about you.

Menu Planning. Create a holiday themed prix-fixe menu. Keep it minimal and simple while delivering on the WOW. Offer a few different price points to meet different demographics. Have a specialized cocktail menu and get your craft breweries involved. Communicate with your suppliers to see how you can collaborate to reduce costs and drive sales. Food trends this holiday season (2015) include foraging, fermentation, charred, ramen, and also piled-high sandwiches. At the bar, continue to involve cider, whisky, nut flavored liqueurs, chocolate, and mint. Use your three senses (taste, smell, and visual).

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Gift Cards & Certificates. Make sure you have enough cards on hand. Create promotional campaigns to sell your cards. For example, “Buy a $50 gift card, and receive a free appetizer to use in January” or “Receive 10% off your bill today with a purchase of a $50 gift card”. Get creative, consider your cash-flow, and remember sales are often slower in January. Use this to drive traffic!

Party Headquarters. Turn your venue into the holiday hot-spot. Use decorations, the power of video, and unique promotions & packages to drive corporate parties, organization parties, and large family & friend gatherings. Consider all inclusive packages to minimize issues with bills at the end of the event for large parties and consider shareable plates and appetizers for parties of 4-12 people.

Work Your Database. If you have built a database of loyal customers, whether through email marketing or other loyalty programs, take this time to thank them and give them a little something in return. Maybe an appetizer or dessert. Or something more creative like the chance to win a getaway or experience that is only available to your database.

Social Media. Utilize your online community. Create social media campaigns and consider allocating a portion of your budget to social campaigns. Have customers upload photos, create an advent calendar, get behind a cause, dress up your profile for the season, get your staff involved, and use social media to promote all of the above!

Lastlydon’t forget about your own staff. After the holiday season, consider closing one night to host your own party for your staff. Thank them for a great year and their amazing efforts during the busiest time of year. This is the perfect opportunity to build morale and retain your staff.

If you need assistance putting together your holiday plan for this year, contact Key Restaurant Group today. We can help you engineer your festive menu and prepare you for a fun and profitable season.