While many people traditionally associate Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with cooking and dining at home, others instead like to enjoy elegant holiday meals at top restaurants. In fact, some analysts believe the number of people doing so will rise significantly this year. In the United Kingdom, online reservation service Bookatable says that in the last three years it has seen a 150 percent increase in the number of people dining out on the holiday.
Joe Steele, chief executive of Bookatable, tells The Independent that in years past, people were more likely to head to restaurants on the day after Christmas.
"However, we have seen a significant shift in consumer habits as people are now becoming more open to eating out on Christmas Day itself to avoid the stress and expense of cooking at home," Steele tells the source. "There is quite evidently a desire for people to enjoy their Christmas meal with family and friends in a relaxed environment, with others taking full responsibility for all the hard work that a Christmas meal entails."
According to Bookatable, diners are also making their holiday reservations early than ever, some more than a year in advance.
If your establishment is planning to welcome diners on December 24 and 25, the pressure is on. It's important to realize that customers expect an extra-special experience on holidays, so plan accordingly. Here are some tips as you finalize your restaurant's Christmas and Christmas Eve plans:
Be festive, but stay on brand
Give a festive nod to the holiday season with decorations and seasonal menu items. However, be sure that you are staying true to your restaurant's brand. For example, a sophisticated, high-end restaurant should stay away from tacky tinsel and fake evergreen garlands, opting instead for tasteful wreaths and subtle Christmas lights.
Schedule enough staff
Nothing will ruin a customer's holiday meal quite like bad service. One of the top reasons people choose to dine out on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day is to minimize stress, which means that they expect their dining experience to be smooth sailing. Don't scrimp on overtime costs — schedule enough staff to ensure your customers get the relaxing meal they anticipate.
Set a pre fixe menu
A pre fixe menu allows you to provide your guests with a distinctive dining experience while also maximizing your profit margins. Your chef can buy fewer ingredients for less by ordering them in bulk, and meals can be priced slightly higher than normal. According to The Wall Street Journal, diners are accustomed to pre fixe dinners costing as much as 20 percent more than a la carte ones. Emphasize the value of the overall experience by printing set menus on the highest quality cotton paper, such as Reich Paper's finely crafted Savoy line.