Mid-November through to the end of January is when things really get busy for the hospitality industry, making it a great opportunity to boost revenue. However, with the rising cost of living crisis deterring people from visiting restaurants, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to maximize profits. Despite this, hospitality venues are forecast to see a £12 billion boost over the festive season as diners celebrate with family, friends and colleagues.
As Jess Orton, Director of Client Services at Yumpingo says, “Party season is fast approaching, and with it comes the opportunity to increase profits. From getting gift cards in the hands of guests to hosting company or private events, as well as seamless reservations and menu innovation, operators spend all year prepping for this season.”
This means that your sales teams are flat out, marketing campaigns are at full speed and kitchen staff are sweating over the final preparations before handing the baton to operations.
With everything going on it can be difficult to think any further ahead. But as you welcome a horde of guests, (many new!) it’s a great opportunity to deliver the level of service that will guarantee you’ll be seeing them again throughout the new year.
Jess explains why capturing guest information is even more vital at this time of year and that, “capturing AND USING meaningful and personalized data is what will really set operators apart come Spring 2024.”
“For those using Yumpingo, last year’s guest feedback is already helping you to engineer this year’s festive offering, optimize margins and reach out to previous visitors. And if you’re new to the Yumpingo family, this is a crucial time to gather that impactful data to help you make the right decisions at speed next year”.
If you haven’t got Yumpingo (and why not) there are a few things you can do to pad out your revenue:
Adapt to smaller gatherings
During the festive season, we often envision large gatherings, instead of smaller groups of friends or family coming together to celebrate. However, people want more premium experiences and lunches rather than booking parties and late evening meals. Adapting your offerings and menus to this could help you gain an influx of new customers that keep on returning well into the new year, helping you increase profits.
“You can do this by changing your floor plan to cater for smaller bookings,” Jess explains, “as this will allow you to get more customers seated, and avoid the disappointment of not getting a table.”
Making your customer service more personalized is another great way for you to adapt to smaller gatherings. For example, you could create customized menus that address dietary requirements, create seasonal menus or be willing to take special requests.
Remember that, particularly for company outings, there is a great opportunity to impress a large, diverse group in one booking. A lot of those guests will be coming to your venue for the first time, and a well engineered allergy menu will win them over before they’ve even taken a seat.
This can improve customer satisfaction and give you a competitive advantage as you will be delivering better customer experiences.
“Everyone is in a festive mood and wants to celebrate. It’s not called Budget Season!” – Katie Yen, Sales Manager, Yumpingo.
Push booking in advance
Encouraging customers to book in advance can help you plan staff rotas, table arrangements and the amount of food to order and prepare. It also ensures people have a table and won’t be disappointed.
You also want to try and avoid no-shows, as they can be extremely costly. 75% of surveyed restaurants say they require deposits during the festive season to prevent people not showing up. However, you can’t completely remove the chance of people not attending or canceling a booking. But, by improving your capacity to take walk-ins it’ll help boost your profits.
Adapt your menus
Many people look forward to restaurants bringing out their holiday season menu each year. Implementing seasonal vegetables like brussel sprouts, cabbage and kale can help you keep costs down, as in-season products tend to be cheaper.
Using seasonal produce allows diners to try new foods and dishes and gives you the opportunity to curate menus tailored to products that are more readily available.
Using seasonal produce highlights that you’re using local ingredients, showing that you implement sustainable food and practices within your restaurant. This in itself can help you maximize revenue during the festive period as you’ll appeal to the eco-conscious consumer group. You can also use hashtags like #farmtotable or #seasonalproduce to further emphasize what your menu has to offer.
A great way to boost seasonal dish sales is to highlight that the menu will only be around for a short period of time. Creating a sense of urgency encourages customers to try new dishes before they’re no longer available. This not only helps you improve sales but helps customers make more eco-friendly dining options. This is due to foods from local sources having a lower carbon footprint due to them not needing to be delivered as far.
Katie Yen, our Sales Manager, who is a former Head Chocolatier of a high end tapas lounge, found that adding wine/ cocktail pairings with pre fixe menus, as well as expanding the dessert menu to include additional digestifs, dessert wines and cocktails, was an easy lift that added significantly to check averages. As Katie says, “Everyone is in a festive mood and wants to celebrate. It’s not called Budget Season!”
So give your diners what they want and make it easy for your staff as well. You don’t always have to rework an entirely new menu for the month of December. Instead, Katie adds, “focus on (re)training your staff on upsell opportunities. If you have Yumpingo as part of your tech stack, you’ll be able to track that and have a better insight into how well your menu performed over the holiday season.”
Another great way to adapt your menu is by reviewing last year’s data to identify what dishes sold and the ones that didn’t. This will help you effectively plan your festive menu as you’ll understand exactly what your customers are looking for. Providing more of the options diners are looking for will help you improve customer satisfaction scores, in turn increasing revenue.
At Yumpingo our Customer Experience Management Platform collects data and customer reviews on the dishes they ordered. This gives you in-depth feedback on how your food is performing giving you the opportunity to adapt, keep them the same or completely remove items from the menu.
We can also collect Customer Sentiment and NPS (Net Promoter Scores) in individual venues and your restaurant chain as a whole. This gives you the opportunity to make effective changes that can boost the quality and reputation of your restaurant.
Take care of your staff
While all businesses want to boost revenue, it’s important to prioritize employee’s mental health, especially during the holiday period. Who knows, if you prioritize wellbeing, you might see yourself having the best profits you’ve ever had.
When staff feel valued, aren’t overworked and are in a good headspace, it allows them to deliver the best customer service possible. This can help attract and retain customers as they’ll have positive experiences that they may share with family and friends. Remember, it’s not all about the food, it’s about how you make people feel as well.
This period is both expensive and overwhelming, as many people aim to take on extra shifts to help them get more money in. As a business owner, you have a duty to ensure your staff aren’t overloaded with work. Here are a few ways you can improve employee satisfaction during the holiday period:
Get in the spirit
Consider holding a holiday period party or a secret santa exchange as this can help staff let off a bit of steam while building stronger relationships. This can help improve morale, teamwork and your overall working environment. You may also find this helps to boost profits, as the team is working more cohesively to deliver the best customer service possible.
Get the rota right
We all know that restaurants are busier than ever during this period, but it’s still important to get rotas right. Individual working preferences and needs should be taken into account when planning shifts. Things like staff needing certain days off for childcare should be considered when making these decisions. You also want to make sure that you are putting enough staff on busier shifts. Days that are understaffed can lead to employees feeling frazzled and overwhelmed, causing poor customer service.
However, there’s no need to fret! At Yumpingo our Customer Experience Management Platform can help you identify when your busiest days, weeks or months are so that you can fully optimize your rota to have the right number of staff. This helps you plan well in advance, giving employees the opportunity to let you know whether they can or can’t work a shift.
Our software can also analyze what menu items are performing poorly so that you can find ways to optimize your menu and performance. We also provide you with simple Smart Actions to help you make small and easy adjustments to improve customer satisfaction scores and improve your customer feedback.
Communicate with your staff
Regularly communicating business updates, large table bookings and updated menus is a great way to help staff feel a part of the team. This allows them to understand what’s happening in the business and gives them the opportunity to offer any feedback or opinions. This in turn can help business operations run smoothly, improve customer experiences and boost profits.
Create an inviting atmosphere
Creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere within your restaurant is a great way to get people through the door. During the festive season, many people are looking for places with a bit of seasonal cheer!
Creating warm lighting, adding soft furnishings and not having your music too loud can encourage people to give your restaurant a try. Remember it’s not all about having a fantastic menu, the experiences you provide go a long way toward creating a truly satisfied customer.
So if you’re looking to maximize your revenue, get in touch with us today to see how we can help you work smarter, not harder.