Questions to ask as you prepare for holiday catering

Holiday catering can be a significant boon for restaurants, providing a way to boost sales and attract new customers as the end of the year approaches. However, if you don’t put a robust plan in place to handle the additional business or you fail to adequately promote your seasonal offerings, you run the risk of missing out on the profits that the holidays can yield.

Holiday catering can be a significant boon for restaurants.
Holiday catering can be a significant boon for restaurants.

As you prepare for the holiday catering rush, make sure all the elements on this checklist have been taken into account.

  • Do you have enough staff for the holidays? It’s common knowledge that retail establishments typically bring on additional employees during busy periods, and there’s no reason why your restaurant can’t do the same. College and high school students on break from their studies are often looking for a way to make a little extra cash this time of year, as are stay-at-home parents eager to make the season as magical as possible for their families.
  • Do you have the right catering equipment in sufficient quantities? There are few things more unprofessional than not having enough cutlery or crockery for an event, so make sure you rent or purchase extras as needed.
  • Do you know your limits? Catering an event with a guest list of 500 may sound like a lucrative opportunity, but if you don’t have the resources, you won’t be able to pull it off. Set limits based on what your business is realistically equipped to handle and make sure all employees responsible for booking catering engagements are aware of these restrictions to avoid the embarrassing situation of taking a booking and then later being forced to cancel.
  • Have you learned from the past? If you’ve catered holiday parties in previous years, then you’ll likely have collected a wealth of sales data. When you’re planning your menu, look back at your records to get an idea of last year’s hits and misses – but don’t be so focused on looking backward that you forget to incorporate the latest culinary trends as well!
  • Speaking of previous years, do you have a record of your past holiday catering customers? Reach out to them direct mail to let them know you’re ready and willing to host their events again this year.
  • Do your social media followers and email newsletter subscribers know you provide holiday catering? If not, then you have some work to do. You might even consider offering them an exclusive discount.

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