Get your restaurant ready for the holidays

The holiday season has arrived, but is your restaurant holiday-ready? From special menus to labour management to your reservation system, getting ahead of the game will help you stay prepared, deliver a positive guest experience, and make the most of your margins.

Be proactive, stay organized, and plan for a successful holiday season!


Encouraging repeat visits through the holiday season may mean mixing up your menu. Consider weekly specials to keep guests interested, and holiday menus for takeout or delivery on the actual holiday days. Reports show that 77 per cent of people plan to rely on restaurants for some of their holiday meals, so make it easy for guests to enjoy your menu. Taking orders ahead of time for special days can help you better manage your kitchen, counter, and delivery staff to accommodate increased demand and provide the best possible service to your customers.

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The busier season means more traffic and that can cause labour challenges, especially if staff is requesting time off.  According to studies, one in four plan to dine in and order takeout over the holidays. This means planning ahead to have coverage on all fronts. One way to do that is to set your schedules early, so staff makes their requests ahead of time and everyone is on the same page for scheduling. This can help minimize last-minute changes and staff calling in to cancel due to personal conflicts. As well, you may have staff returning from school who are interested in holiday hours, so reach out to add as many staff members as you can to your roster.


Keeping your customers informed is key. Clearly communicate changing factors like order deadlines, event details, and seasonal hours. Post important information on your website and social media, and make sure guests are aware of any seasonal changes that will affect their experience.

Consider training a top priority, too. Whether you have hired seasonal staff or have seasoned veterans, be sure that everyone on your team is aware of promotions, changing menus, adjusted hours, and more. Your staff represents your restaurant so make sure that they are well-versed in holiday happenings to avoid miscommunication and disappointed guests.

The holidays are a busy time, but your guests expect the same level of experience year-round. Be prepared to deliver on guest expectations by providing a seasonal experience, managing your labour, and making communication a fundamental part of your holiday strategy.