Kick-starting Christmas – tips for hospitality businesses

Megan Lipscombe

Megan Lipscombe

Head of Marketing

Jingle bells, jingle bells… too early? Yes, Christmas is still 6 months away but as you’ll know, there’s no time like the present when it comes to getting your hospitality business ready for the busy festive period. 

In this blog, we highlight some of the things you can start doing now that’ll help you get ahead of the game and ensure a successful Christmas. 

Perfect your festive menu 

When selecting a venue for a Christmas party or meal with friends, the food is a top priority for potential customers. Not only do you have to appeal to your customers, your menu needs to work for you. So, get ahead of the game and plan your festive menu months in advance. Here are some of the things you might want to consider… 

  • What has, and hasn’t, worked in previous years? 
  • What’s new to the scene this year – what are your customers loving that wasn’t on the radar before?   
  • Preparation time  
  • Availability of ingredients  
  • And of course, cost 

Hire your seasonal staff 

With increased reservations and walk-ins it’s highly likely that you’re going to need a little extra help during the festive season. There’s a huge amount of competition when it comes to recruitment as it is, let alone at one of the busiest times of the year when footfall is at its peak across both retail and hospitality businesses. So it’s certainly a case of the early bird catching the worm here. Look to start hiring your seasonal staff 3-4 months in advance of the festive season, so you have plenty of time to get them on board well ahead of the Christmas rush. Which leads nicely on to… 

Train your team 

This applies to both your seasonal and existing staff. Whilst many of your team will have previous experience of working during the festive season, others may not. Or not for your business at least. Ensuring your entire team has all the knowledge they need ahead of the busiest time of year will be a key player in your success. So make sure your new and existing employees have had the correct training and know exactly what to expect of the festive season. Solutions such as CPL Learning can help you achieve this; ensuring your team is trained correctly, not just at Christmas, but throughout the year.  

Utilise data to prepare accurate rotas  

Granted the festive season is going to be busier than other times of the year. But the questions you should be asking are ‘How much busier?’ and ‘When will we be busiest?’ Look at sales and reservations from previous years and keep a close eye on bookings to help you identify peaks and troughs in demand, enabling you to schedule appropriately. 

A solution such as Rotaready will help take care of this for you. Utilising existing and past data from your EPOS and reservation systems to inform your rota building, and ensure always have the right number of staff to meet demand and are neither scrimping on customer service or wasting money. 

Make the most of your marketing channels 

You might have the best festive menu going, but that’s only any good if your customers know about it. Whilst your existing customers may go looking for it, you want to get in front of new customers too. So have a think about how you can reach, and appeal to both audiences. Promote your seasonal menu on-site at your pub or restaurant, well in advance, and make the most of your social media channels. You may also want to consider investing a bit of money in online advertising to help you reach new audiences.  

Prepare for changes in wage costs 

Another thing to make sure you’re aware of is how the festive period can affect your outgoings, so you can prepare for these changes. Be it altering your overtime policy, accounting for seasonal staff wages and contracts or implementing bonus schemes, for example. 

Failing to do so can result in mistakes when it comes to paying wages and it’s fair to say that’s not something that’s going to impress your staff at this busy time of year. Keep your staff happy and avoid wasted time on admin tasks by ensuring perfect payroll. 

That’s all for now! 

That’s probably enough talk of Christmas for this time of year, so we’ll leave it at that. If there’s anything else you’ve found useful when preparing for the festive season that isn’t mentioned in this blog, then please let us know at We’d love to share as many tips as possible to help hospitality businesses ensure a fantastic festive season. 

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