Restaurant seasonal menu items are a great way to increase sales during the holidays. Most customers dining at your restaurant at this time of year — especially those who visit restaurants while out shopping — are in a festive mood and are seeking a dining experience that incorporates a little holiday spirit.
Holiday flavors and seasonal menu items are only available for a limited time, so people are often willing to splurge on their favorite selections. According to Grubhub, restaurants that have seasonal items on their menu report 26 percent more sales and checks that are 23 percent higher than other times of year.
How can you maximize revenue from your restaurant’s seasonal menu? Here are a few hints to get you started:
Deck the Halls: It’s hard to feel jolly in December when a restaurant looks the same as it does in June. Diners are looking for more than just a meal. They want a great experience — so make sure your restaurant’s atmosphere offers plenty of holiday cheer.
Adjust the lighting so it’s warm and introduce holiday décor at an appropriate time. Holiday decorations can be tricky — just because stores have been advertising Black Friday sales since Halloween, doesn’t mean it is okay to start hanging garland in October. When you decorate, make sure people can still move around comfortably, and it doesn’t look overdone.
Be Nostalgic: For food-centric holidays like Thanksgiving, people crave dishes reminiscent of cozy family gatherings, such as stuffing, cranberry sauce, turkey, and gravy. It’s not the time to stray from traditional flavors or add unusual twists to popular holiday favorites. Research firm Technomic reveals that in a recent survey, 59 percent of diners are more likely to order an item described as “seasonal,” while 49 percent of respondents said they found these selections more appealing.
Once you’ve rolled out your restaurant seasonal menu or holiday specials, get your customers excited by posting teasers, photos and other information about holiday offerings on social media, on the restaurant’s website, and in marketing materials.
Drink up: Holiday beverages are another way to enhance any restaurant seasonal menu. People who don’t normally order a pricey drink may spend a little more during the holiday season, so profit margins that typically range from 25 percent to 30 percent per drink are higher for specialty holiday beverages. Hot cocktails that incorporate hot chocolate, cider, eggnog, or coffee that take the place of dessert are very popular at this time of year. Diners may also be open to trying a new wine to treat themselves for the holidays — offer wine pairings, which are often less intimidating to customers than making a new selection from a wine list.
Staff Suggestions: Make sure your employees are familiar with the seasonal menu, so they can make suggestions and upsell holiday selections. Encourage them to upsell sides, holiday drinks and desserts by reminding diners that these selections are available for a “limited time only.”
Restaurant seasonal menu items are a great way for diners to add fun to their holidays. For many patrons, this is a time of year to celebrate and splurge, so incorporating holiday cheer into their dining experiences will not only help you increase average checks, but may also help win customers over and inspire them to dine at your restaurant all year long.
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