October 31, 2017 glimpse_team

Tis the Season – How to Handle the Mad Dash to the End of the Year

Staffing early and training rigorously, staying on top of food orders, working to complete menus early, get schedules confirmed so any changes can be handled in advance. Thanksgiving is quickly becoming a popular holiday to eat out, and more restaurants are opening on Christmas Day as well. Millenials are eating out more and more on holidays.

In recent years the holidays have taken on new challenges with an increasing amount of people not only traveling and eating out but requesting to eat out more on holidays. With Millennials leading the way in restaurant reservations on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day, it is important to have a plan in place to prepare for a yearly increase in diners each holiday season. There is no perfect plan for restaurants to follow, but below is a general guide that can help ease some of the pain with a difficult holiday season. We’ll discuss this by looking at the usual strains placed on restaurants during this hectic season.

We all understand the pandemonium that happens during the holiday rush, but there’s nothing worse than having staff members who aren’t ready to handle it and, worse, don’t know what to do.

Yes, you can hire and start training immediately, but the question is when?

Do you see more guests during Christmas than Thanksgiving? Do you have a much smaller menu for Christmas to help control food and prep times? While these will impact your food order, this will also let you know what to expect from your team. It’s possible that with these things your seasonal employees may only need 30 hours of training to be comfortable vs the usual 45 hours due to the variables. Knowing this, you can then determine when to begin hiring and training for your team members. At some fine dining locations, training takes 3 months vs some more casual restaurants who can hire and train someone in less than two weeks. Why the focus on the team? Because they are the face of your organization and customers know when a server is in over their head. Make sure they are ready and able to handle the demands and needs of these customers.

So you’ve got a plan in place for the team, great. What’s next? The food, as servers won’t have jobs if they can’t put food on the table. Usually, holiday menus have limited options to make it easier on the kitchen and provide greater control of quality. The most important thing is to agree on the menu early so it can be posted and shared with potential customers through your website as well as reservations channels. Also at this time, you should determine how many seatings you wish to have leading up to the holidays as well as on the holiday if you decide to be open. Managing your books early can help you secure more guests as some will want to reserve their seat early.

Finally, you’ll want to educate everyone on your plans for the holidays and discuss menus, hiring procedures, and protocol with everyone. Nothing is worse than the errors that come from miscommunication as it can quickly lead to distrust amongst the team and create problems for you down the road when you need your team the most. Yes, the holidays are difficult, busy, and generally, make a lot of money for restaurants, but planning and communication can easily turn it into a more manageable experience for yourself and the team.