The festive season is upon us once more, and with that comes the busiest time of year by far for publicans. However, many landlords up and down the country fail to capitalise on the natural good cheer surrounding this time of year. So, with this in mind, we thought it would be a great idea to give you some hints and tips on how to make the most of the Christmas period. Let’s get started:
Getting your menu straight as early as possible will help you to prepare for the upcoming busy period. Knowing what you’ll need in advance will take the pressure off you and your staff and it may even give you a chance to negotiate with your suppliers so that you can land your business a few extra discounts too. As for what you should offer, standard Christmas fare is naturally a must. However, there are an increasing number of vegetarians and vegans nowadays, so don’t forget to include something that will cater for that market as well.
Now that you have the menu sorted, it’s time to let people know exactly what they can expect when they visit your establishment. Promotion is a vital component of success, so be sure to have flyers made up and take out ads in local media such as papers and magazines. Online promotions via your website can also bring in a lot of business, so make sure that that is updated too. Social media can also be a great way to get people through the door. Make sure that all of your pub’s friends and followers know about your seasonal offerings and encourage them to share them with their connections too.
Taking bookings over Christmas can be a nightmare if you haven’t got a decent system in place. Consider appointing a trusted member of staff as the coordinator for the festive period. Having one person in charge of your booking diary can help you avoid double bookings and confusion, so it is well worth thinking about. Try and get your staff involved as much as possible with the booking process. Setting targets for certain days and offering incentives for the goals being met will encourage them to do a lot of the promotional legwork for you. Another tip you could use is to offer early-bird discounts to those who book before a certain date. This will help you get a handle on how many people are taking notice of your promotional drive and give you an idea on whether or not you need to do more to push your offers.
- Don’t wait too long
Start getting people through the door early with some well-organised pre-Christmas events. These could be anything from setting up a Christmas quiz for punters to enjoy, through to opening up your beer garden to local farmers and producers for a festive food fayre. Get creative with this and you could lengthen your busy period considerably.
If there’s one thing that will turn people off from returning to your pub then it is an understaffed bar. No one likes waiting inordinate lengths of time before being served, so make sure that you have adequate bar staff to cope with the extra customers. Set up staff rotas early and get some names and numbers of reliable casual staff that will be willing to come in and help out at short notice. This will help you get through the inevitable absences and extra busy periods with the minimal amount of stress.
People are more willing to spend freely at this time of year, and upselling can help you bolster your takings considerably. Train your staff to recommend certain drinks to customers when they are at the bar. Seasonal cocktails and warming spirits naturally work very well around this time of year. Similarly, you’ll want to bring your Champagne display to the fore too. Having a few decent bottles of fizz in the eye-line of your customers can often entice them to splash out on a bottle or two. It is the celebratory season after all!
- Cash flow
Preparing for the Christmas period can mean that you will have to increase your outgoings before you reap the rewards at a later date. This is largely due to the need to increase stock levels to cope with demand. Recent studies show that sales of spirits alone rise by around 40% over Christmas, so you’ll need to be fully stocked in order to make the most of the increased demand. Festive menus too can often cost more than the standard pub grub you may normally offer. All of these extras have to be taken into account as they are going to be on top of the regular expenses that you incur each month and cash flow can become an issue at times.A merchant cash advance can help to ease the pressure that this brings, making them a good idea for many publicans. If you enjoyed this blog post then perhaps you would like to read "5 Reasons Why Our Cash Advances Are Helping Businesses Across The UK"?