8 Ways to Cater Better to Holiday Demand

Fortunately for businesses with catering services, not everyone wants to cook during the holidays. Many want someone else to cook for them. We’re talking anywhere from normal-size family orders, to large-scale holiday dinner parties.

But is your business ready to make the most out of the upcoming holiday season?

Every food and beverage company, from catering businesses, to restaurants, delis, bars and otherwise, should be trying to make their establishment a staple holiday experience for the people in their community. Here’s the 8 most effective ways to make it happen:

8 Ways to Cater Better to Holiday Demand

  1. Put Your Holiday Spirit on Display: This is an obvious practice, but it’s something that many food businesses underestimate. If your establishment isn’t completely decked out for the holidays, complete with holiday lights, ornaments, some kind of tinsel and sparkly holiday stuff hanging around your head at every turn, then people won’t come, period. Holiday eaters are so deep in the wonder and spirit of the holidays, they don’t have any time or patience for anything that doesn’t align perfectly with the magic they’re feeling. To attract customers, an keep them inside, deck the halls as much as you can in a way that sticks with the aesthetic of your brand, and you’ll see an enormous increase in interest and returning customers.
  2. Offer Delivery & Pickup Service Discounts: Customers love the convenience of picking up food for their family on their ways home after work. They also love the option of leaving the party they’re hosting and go out in the cold to get their food. But what customers love even more than either of these things is the chance to be serviced at a discount. Why not offer a certain percentage off for the holidays, or even free delivery for those who order a certain type of package, or an order that exceeds a certain price? A little generosity goes a long way with customers knee-deep in the holiday spirit/nostalgia.
  3. Host and Sponsor Holiday Events for your Community: Rent a Santa to come in to your establishment and take pictures with kids. Host an ugly sweater party for your customers – the winner gets a free catered delivery. Schedule a tree lighting on your front lawn or inside, and hand out free coffee and hot chocolate. Sponsor a holiday parade or event in your community, and get your name and logo up on the official t-shirt. Create a float for the parade and give out samples of your food. The more creative and involved you get, the more customers you’ll serve, and the more you’ll make in return!
  4. Put Some Backbone into Your Advertising: You can’t expect your customers to just know how much effort your business puts into making the holidays special for them. You need to assume that even your most loyal and trusted customers have no idea as to what’s in store for them. Now is the time to triple your advertising and marketing efforts. And that doesn’t just mean stapling posters on telephone polls. It means adding holiday graphics to your website. It means re-designing your menu. It means getting new outdoor signs and flags waving your deals around in people’s’ faces. It means finding a mail house that can mail physical advertisements (maybe with coupons inside?) to entire neighborhoods of potential customers. There’s a thousand ways to get your name out there – now’s the time to do it!
  5. Create Holiday-Specific Packages: Prepare your restaurant to offer a Halloween package with spaghetti brains and meatball eyeballs. Offer a Thanksgiving package with turkey, mashed potatoes, veggies and cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie for dessert to families who don’t have time to prepare a meal (or failed at making one). Prepare a Christmas dinner special with turkey or ham, veggies, stuffing, turnips and biscuits, and fuel the stomachs of countless customers in a single night.  These “limited offers” are the types of packages that every customer goes crazy for during the holiday season, no matter what industry they’re buying from.
  6. Create or Redesign Special Gift Cards: If you don’t have gift cards already, NOW is the time to get them. Not surprisingly, the holidays are the #1 highest-selling season for food business gift cards. Many don’t even sell them during during the rest of the year. But when the holidays come around, the businesses that make the most order hundreds to thousands of holiday gift cards to display right in the lobby for all to see. This is often an amazing and high-selling gift idea among last-minute shoppers, as well as returning customers that want to share your brand with their friends and family.
  7. Get in on the Black Friday Specials: If you don’t already have something special planned for black friday shoppers, you’d better start now. Customers are going to be frantically looking for a bite to eat on the go between stores. Slap a huge “BLACK FRIDAY SPECIAL” sign in the window with a moderate discount, and throw in something even slightly holiday-oriented (We’ll give you a free coffee with some red food dye and whipped cream in it for FREE if you buy THIS), and watch them come pouring in through all hours of the day. And when those same shoppers are home, you can count on them wanting to order food in, instead of making it or going out to get it. Offer something fun and cozy for them to look forward to at the end of the day, like a “FREE DELIVERY ON BLACK FRIDAY” if they order more than $50 dollars of food, or something along those lines.
  8. Most Importantly – Keep the Holiday Cheer in Your Staff: Remember: it’s the holiday season for your staff as well. It’s easy to forget as you’re delegating tasks up to and throughout the holidays themselves. You can’t forget that they only work for you, and unlike you, your business isn’t their entire lives. And unlike you, they’re making the same amount of cash no matter how much business you’re generating. This goes for your loyal, overworked employees that are handling 10X the amount of customers they’re used to, as well as your temporary hires that are just barely treading water. During the holidays, you have to keep the spirit up within your employees, or risk making them overwhelmed, and missing their families. Throw them a party, give them bonuses, give them free drinks while they’re working – anything to keep your workers happy and satisfied, as they’re handling more work than they will during the entire rest of the year.

Need Help Maximizing Holiday Profits?

With so many things to do, and so little time, chances are you’ll need some help coming up with the cash to fund your holiday preparations before it’s too late.

Fortunately, NBC offers small business loans and revolving lines of credit that specialize in helping fund restaurants, catering businesses, delis, diners and virtually any business in the food services industry prepare for maximizing their profits during the holiday season.

Give us a call at (877) 482-3008 or apply online today for help funding the inventory, staff, advertising, marketing, holiday renovations, gift cards, or virtually anything else you need to capitalize on your business’s full potential – in as little as 24 hours after applying!

About the Author, David Surrusco
David Surrusco is the Head Content Writer at National Business Capital, is best known for his work in creating what has become the best business financing blog known to mankind: The NBC Advisor.