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  • Writer's pictureUHY Haines Norton

How To Prepare Your Café or Restaurant For The Holiday Season

By Steve Marsten

The Christmas festive season is fast approaching, and people are not just loosening their belts when it comes to food, but also their wallets. The Christmas party season is the perfect time for cafes and restaurants to capitalise as the “go to” places for customers to celebrate. Good planning can be the difference between the holidays season being a lost opportunity verses one filled with engaged customers, more referrals and rebooking’s and increased revenues. This is especially important after the horrific past year and the hardships that Covid-19 has caused for the hospitality industry.

We have many clients in the Café and restaurant space. Below are some ideas that always seem to help your business festive season be more profitable.


Draping your dining room, enter way and exterior (if possible) with holidays decorations can help put customers in a festive mood and ensure they get to experience the season when dining. Make hanging the decorations an out of hour’s activity to allow all employees to contribute to the setup of the space. Be mindful and practical when selecting decorations and locations as you do not want to allow the decorations to negatively affect the dining experience for your customers.

Gift Cards

Let your customers give the gift of your restaurant during this holiday season. The National Retail Federation acknowledges that gift cards are the most requested gift item during the holiday season and restaurant gift cards are included. Gift cards allow customers to have convenience and flexibility to come and enjoy what your restaurant has to offer. They are also an easy and affordable option to incorporate into your business.


The Christmas time is the perfect opportunity to bring in a special menu, or even just integrate a small holiday touch into your standard menu. Simply adding a few special dishes can make your menu feel more like the festive season. If the opportunity is there - consider offering catering to your customers. This is a potential additional income stream as the holiday season is the busiest time for the catering industry. Bringing your restaurant to your customers allows you to widen your opportunity and shows your commitment to your customers.

One “left field” option taken by one of our clients last year was to offer “Cooked Christmas meats”. Ie Roasted Turkeys; chickens; pork’s and Hams. The option was so popular he needed extra staff to work through the night to have the foods ready for pick throughout Xmas Eve. Everything was paid in advance! This ultimately allowed his customers to enjoy their time more with friends and family.


Holiday staffing scheduling can be a stressful time with the combination of time off requests, no shows and increased reservations. Being properly staffed is a key to a great customer experience. Hence planning for the season early and hiring adequately trained new staff if required, before it is to late. It is important to take time to address your team about your needs and expectations of them for the holiday season. They need to be Happy and enjoying the atmosphere as much as possible as this adds to the vibe of your Café or restaurant!

For more information feel free to contact the team at UHY Haines Norton on 07 49721300.

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