Whether it’s Christmas work functions or New Year’s Eve cocktails, this is the time of year everyone in hospitality loves and hates in equal measure. This year we’re likely to see customers on the hunt for value and memorable experiences during this period than any other time of year, whether it’s dining in, take away or catering orders. Here’s how to make sure you’re ready to meet the demand without compromising your customer experience.

Look at the Data

There’s no denying that during the holiday rush operators can expect to see increases in traffic, gift card sales and reservations – though with the currently climate this year will probably look a little different. But knowing exactly how busy you’re going to be shouldn’t come down to assumptions and guessing.

Looking at previous year’s data you should be able to determine how busy you’ll be over the next few months – taking into consideration current economic factors and adjusting as needed.


  • The specific times when service slowed down.
  • The days that where the busiest.
  • How many staff are needed to cover those times? Did you have enough in previous years?
  • Do you have the inventory to meet the demand – also consider this year’s trends to gauge what customers are going to be looking for.
  • Did certain menu items sell better – is there any opportunity to upsell on these items?

Update your digital channels

Social media is one of the first places customers will go to see what your business has going on during the holidays so make sure they can find the information.

Add opening times, location links and (if applicable) reservation links to your bios and/or posts it makes it easier and quicker for customers to find what they need.

Share your seasonal specials on your social channels with eye-catching photos (or, even better, videos) and include digital menus if possible.

Don’t forget about your Google listing – make sure your holiday times are up-to-date and publish your offers there too.

Offer holiday specials

For holiday shoppers over Christmas and New Year grabbing an indulgent drink is just as much a part of the experience and tradition as anything else, it’s often the focal point of the shopping trip.

This is where creating and marketing unique seasonal experiences comes in. Give new guests a reason to visit and past guests a reason to come back!

Create multiple revenue streams

Take advantage of the holiday rush by offering gift cards, special merchandise or retail versions of your customers favourites – whether that’s mini versions of their favourite Sweetbird syrups or boxed cakes and cookies – give your customers a chance to share their love of your products and services with their friends and family.

Events and pre-paid tickets

The holidays are busy and people are looking for a chance to make memories. Why not offer barista training sessions, open-mic events, wreath making workshops, wine tasting evenings and more in your space. By selling tickets you’ll know exactly who’s coming and how to prepare.

Start collecting data for next year

Take advantage of the opportunity to collect data and use it to better prepare next year. Some of the most important data to collect includes:

  • Wait times and table turns
  • Reservations
  • Table management
  • Staff
  • Inventory
  • Guest data
  • POS data

Analysing your business’s year-on-year data will also help you determine how to best stock inventory for the holiday rush.

It may seem like a lot at first but once you start to put these ideas in place you’ll be set for every holiday season to come. It’ll take some work in the beginning, but if you plan ahead, you’ll see it will have all been worth it comes the holiday rush.