What will Christmas 2021 look like for pubs, bars and restaurants?

Megan Lipscombe

Megan Lipscombe

Head of Marketing

With less than two months until Christmas, what can we expect from the ‘most wonderful time of the year’? There’s no denying that it’s unlikely to be the Christmas season we all know and love, but we’ve come a long way since the Christmas of 2020. So what will Christmas 2021 look like for hospitality businesses?

Guest priorities have changed

‘Meal quality’ may have overtaken last year’s frontrunner as the most important factor when choosing a Christmas venue, but safety is still a close second in the list of guest priorities. And it still trumps both location and entertainment factor in the decision making process. Although guests are a lot more comfortable than they were last year, don’t forget everything 2020 taught us when it comes to health and safety. 

But let’s face it, we all still want a good old knees up this year, it’s just a case of finding that balance.

Christmas celebrations are back 🎄

Christmas bookings may have got off to a slower start this year due to the uncertainty around future COVID restrictions, but things are beginning to pick up. 

Thanks to guest eagerness to make up for lost time, more and more companies returning to the office and bookings being carried over from last year; some hospitality businesses have even reported that it’s looking like they may exceed the numbers they saw in 2019. 

… but there’s still a market for virtual parties

Many people are still wary about what’s to come over the next few months, so are opting to stick with the virtual Christmas parties of 2020. Luckily many pubs, bars and restaurants are now well versed when it comes to virtual Christmas celebrations. For many of you this won’t be your priority, but if you can continue to offer a virtual option, alongside those face to face parties, then you might want to consider doing so. 

More than 6 🎉

Do you remember our old friend the ‘rule of 6’? Yes we try not to as well. With the regulation binned, you’re likely to see lots of larger groups celebrating together this year.  

However, with many people still wary about COVID, you may see some sway towards a more traditional Christmas celebration. Think Christmas crackers and sit down meals, or perhaps just the more cautious approach of bowl food over buffets. 

The hospitality staffing crisis 

With the number of job vacancies in the food service and accommodation sector over 300% higher than last year, accommodating for the increased number of festive bookings could prove difficult for some hospitality businesses. Whether your approach is to focus more on staff retention or hire a brand new team, it may not be a quick win. Make the most of solutions such as Rotaready to help you optimise the team you have and prioritise busier times of the week/day

Is Christmas coming early? 🎅🏼

With 41% of Christmas shoppers expecting to be fully prepared for Christmas before December even begins, will Christmas parties and pub trips follow the same trend? After all, Christmas shopping is always that much better followed by a festive drink or two. Keep a close eye on guest behaviour and utilise your tech to make sure you always have enough inventory and staff on hand to deliver that festive cheer.

We’d love to hear your thoughts!

Of course every business will have their own experiences and predictions, so we’d love to hear what you expect to see from Christmas 2021. Or indeed what you have already seen. Please share any thoughts or comments with us at comms@rotaready.com, so we can add any common trends to this blog.

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