Thanksgiving is one of the most celebrated holidays of the year, so drawing a crowd can fill those seats and help you make this month’s revenue. With the cost of groceries rising nine per cent, and dining costs increasing about 8.8 per cent year-over-year, more people may be choosing to skip the hosting and visit a restaurant for Thanksgiving this year.
Make your restaurant their destination of choice by creating an experience that makes you stand out and fill those tables.
Make a memorable menu
The holidays are all about making memories and celebrating with family, so keep those goals in mind when creating your menu. Your guests will likely be looking for the traditional dishes like turkey and stuffing but think about re-creating that home feel with family-style dining, share plates, or a buffet to create an environment where it feels cozy and welcoming.
Alternatively, you may see a benefit in offering a prix-fixe menu so everyone knows what’s for dinner. This can also help keep it simple for your kitchen and make managing inventory easier, too
With so many people enjoying off-premise dining, some families will want to enjoy your menu from the comfort of their home, so adding items that allow guests to pick up their holiday dinner will make you more versatile. From whole pies to all the fixin’s, create a menu (and packaging) that works to allow customers to visit your restaurant to celebrate and take their orders to-go, upping your revenue with a bit of a break on labour.
Don’t forget to include an cocktail and mocktail menus that will interest your guests and add revenue to their orders! Offering seasonal specials that pair well with your holiday menu and get guests’ attention can encourage them to order. Mocktails have grown on menus about 233 per cent over the last four years, so adding options that appeal to non-drinkers and children will help your bottom line.
Embrace what the holiday is all about – being grateful for the things we have in our lives. From your guests to your community to your team, make sure that this comes across during the celebration. You might think about offering added value to your guests, like rewarding guests with a free appetiser for early booking, a pie to take home for large parties, or whatever fits your model and encourages visits.
You may also want to host a fundraiser, accept canned donations, or partner with a local charity to show support and gratitude for your community. This can help make a difference while engaging your customers in a shared project that means something to your business and your community.
Let your staff know you care by creating a schedule early so they can plan their family time around their shifts. Also, try and schedule adequate staff to avoid overworking staff as the restaurant gets busy. Demonstrating gratitude for your staff, their home life, and their hard work will build loyalty and show your staff that they are part of a team that is working together towards the same goal.
People will not visit you for the holidays if they don’t know you’re hosting, so marketing is crucial in attracting guests. Post your menu on your website, advertise on social media, and get your team talking up the event to guests. You may even want to advertise on local radio to help create a local buzz.
Consider a reservations-only approach, too, so you know how many people to expect, and you can avoid long lineups and a backed-up kitchen. It’s also a great way to be able to budget your labour once you have confirmed traffic with bookings ahead of time.
Plan ahead! Rather than replacing their family celebration, many people dine out on Thanksgiving Eve, as they are too busy preparing for their holiday dinner to cook. Look at staffing, extended hours, and LTOs for that day to encourage people to choose your restaurant the day before the holiday or on the weekend prior.
With the cost of living and customers watching their spending, this year it’s more important than ever to capture the attention of your customers. Giving them a memorable, simple way to celebrate Thanksgiving with their loved ones – without any of the work – benefits your business and keeps you top-of-mind for future holidays, as well.