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Restaurants Prepare for the Festive Season

Christmas is one of the busiest periods of the year for the hospitality industry. Whilst consumers may think it is too early, trade insiders are too aware of the intense planning and organisation that goes into Christmas.

All this time and effort is not wasted, as Christmas is one of the biggest retail periods of the year in the UK. Research shows UK spend at Christmas time was forecasted at 821 million pounds in 2017 alone. As the festive appetite grows, business owners should start their planning their Christmas offerings from now.

As a leading supplier to restaurants, pubs, bars and hotels, Cunninghams EPOS Group have compiled some essential considerations when preparing for the festive season. These top tips will help business owners capitalise on sales and revenue in the future potential market.

Many Britons are increasingly choosing to book tables in restaurants for Christmas dinner and lunch. The growing trend of eating out at Christmas has increased in previous years. Family members are increasingly choosing to dine out instead of slaving over a hot stove for the big day.

Seasonal Produce, Seasonal Menus

Christmas brings around a nostalgic time of year. With its unique tastes, smells and traditions, restaurant kitchens can refine and adapt their menu considerations. Chefs are increasingly changing restaurant menus to offer a wider variety of dishes. Variety is essential when catering to a wider group of diners. According to Christmas Tree World, 51% of people say the food menu is an important part of the Christmas experience.

A time to congregate and eat in larger groups - a wider group of diners brings increased variety of diets.According to Foodable labs, in 2018, 51 percent of chefs in the US added vegan items to their menus. The UK has seen an increase in the number of vegan diners. A survey conducted by Compare the Market via Bidfood estimated there are 3.5 million vegans in the UK.

To become the restaurant of choice for diners, restaurants needs to ensure they are offering a variety of meals, each catering to unique dietary requirements. Christmas is the ideal time for families and friends to gather together, and a varied range of food choices will guarantee to attract larger crowds and fill seats.

Don’t Forget Drinks

Drinks are an important consideration to any meal. The perfect drinks menu becomes a showstopper in its own right. No longer simply an accompaniment, shoppers are becoming increasingly likely to visit restaurants and opt for drinks and nibbles in place of a large main meal. As the sales of canapes and miniature meals will rise over the Christmas period, restaurants and bars need to ensure their drinks menu provides the same level of flexibility.

The festive period sees an increase in drinks sales, and according to The Spirits Business bars in the UK reported a 1.8% rise in drink sales over the Christmas period. Offering a varied selection of cocktails, mocktails, teas and mulled wines will entice buyers - especially stressed out Christmas shoppers looking for pit stops during long days.

The provision of alcoholic alternatives is a trend for the restaurant industry this year. Recent consumer surveys highlighted record numbers of under 25's are choosing to abstain from alcohol. Crafting an impressive soft drinks menu will attract more customers, including the designated driver and mum-to-be.

Ensuring a well rounded offering of drinks and food is present and available at Christmas will attract more customers, although these are not the only deciding factors. Overall customer experience in the restaurant is a strong driving factor to generate repeat business. One major element of customer experience around the festive period is the ability to book tables and guarantee a seat. Many restaurateurs are moving to using software booking systems to stay organised.

Never Miss A Booking

Lunchtime and evening rushes are the norm during the festive period, so ensure you have adequate staff and a reliable bookings system to keep your customers happy. Many restaurants also use their booking systems to offer their special set menus, take deposits and reduce no-shows.

The use of reservation software allows businesses to maintain customer satisfaction. Ensuring that no walk ins are turned away, but filling tables using online bookings will generate the most revenue during the festive period. Using a reservations software allows restaurants to better manage their table plans, ensuring no business is wasted or customer is sent away hungry.

Cunninghams EPOS Group offer a reservations software which restaurants can use to collect, manage and monitor bookings. Connecting with the EPOS system or used as a standalone product, the software is easy to use and makes it easier for hospitality staff to keep up during busy period.

To discuss the reservations software or any of the other products mentioned, contact Rich Vickers on 0330 024 5014 or email


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