November, December and January are usually hectic months in the restaurant world. Without proper preparation for the increased traffic and inevitable scheduling conflicts that will occur, these next two months will be stressful. It is up to you to see if the mark the holidays leave on your restaurant is a negative or positive one. Here are three ways to prepare your restaurant for the holiday rush.

Check Your Supply Counts

Trust us, it is always better to have too much supply than too little! Your restaurant is there to provide a joyful holiday experience. Running out of an ingredient that is key to a dish will make people unhappy when they cannot order it. Look back at your past sales and try to order supplies to meet the traffic that is coming into your restaurant.

Something not many managers and owners think about when it comes to supply is dishware. Having guests wait for an available table is one thing, but to make them wait because you need to speedily clean more dishes to serve their meal is another. Double check your dishware inventory and make sure you have plenty. Remember that everyone in the restaurant is going to be busy and dishes might take longer to be washed.

Overstaff for the Season

 Your staff is what makes the cogs in your restaurant work. During the busy holiday season, schedule more staff than you usually need. It will be easier to let people go home once the rush dies down than to try and call people to come in during peak times. It is also a good idea to hire more people to prepare for the holiday season. See where there are skills or availability gaps in your current staff and hire people to fill those gaps. To save time, call former employees that left for college and see if they will be home during the holiday season.

Promote Your Restaurant’s Holiday Offerings

 Even though the season will be busy on its own, you want to maximize your sales. Start promoting your restaurant’s holiday offerings as soon as possible and get reservations for your party rooms or large tables on the books. To do this, you need to dress your party rooms for the holiday season and spread photos and benefits of reserving one of your holiday packages in a brochure or on social media. Also create a special holiday menu full of unique flavors and plates. People will be lining up to host their holiday event at your restaurant!

Take advantage of the busy holiday season by preparing and utilizing all the tools at your disposal to increase sales and bring in new regular customers.

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Matt Thompson

CEO of ShiftNote
Matt has let his lifelong passion of food and people lead him to 15 amazing years as a restaurant manager and another 9 years working as a Director with a major food service distributor. He has channeled this passion to help create and run ShiftNote. When he's not dominating the food service industry, he's spending time with his 4 children and cheering on the Tigers as a Mizzou Alumni.