The holidays are a bright and cheery time for many, but as a restaurant owner, the season may bring some additional stresses. Whether you’re prepping for holiday lulls when guests opt for home cooking rather than dining out, or working around your staff’s countless schedule requests, your head has probably been spinning for a few weeks now.
To alleviate some of the winter warfare, we’ve got a two-part series that includes how holiday trends can impact your restaurant, and how your restaurant’s technology can help you make the most of the season.
Ghosts of Christmas Past
With many out-of-towners flying home to celebrate the winter holidays with family and friends, it’s prime time to draw new and regular diners back to your restaurant. Here’s a look at last year’s dining trends in the United States that can give you some insight on what 2019 may hold.
Holiday Dining Habits
Thanksgiving Eve is one of the busiest days of the year for restaurants, and the busiest bar night of the year. It’s even been nicknamed “Drinksgiving,” so make sure your staff is trained on when to draw the line with guests who may have had a few too many. Toast bars and restaurants saw a 33% increase in sales in 2018 on Thanksgiving Eve compared to other Wednesdays in November of last year.
In light of the higher amount of guest traffic in your restaurant on Thanksgiving Eve, you can use GuestCenter’s reservation functionality to give guests a real-time glimpse at how busy your dining room is, allow them to make reservations, and let them check their place in line from the warmth and comfort of their own home. You can also include your bar seating in your reservation bookings to accommodate an upsurge in guests.
Thanksgiving Day sees a much smaller crowd than Drinksgiving, and restaurants have taken note. Only 30% of Toast customers remained open on Thanksgiving Day last year, and a 2018 Statistica survey revealed that only 4% of people planned to eat their Thanksgiving meal at a restaurant.
Christmas and Christmas Eve have seen a small amount of diners in years past. Christmas Eve brought a 39% decrease in sales compared to the rest of December 2018, and restaurants saw an even greater decrease of 85% on Christmas Day.
Lastly, New Year’s Eve commonly draws a crowd if a restaurant embraces a later closing time, while New Year’s Day has fewer patrons, as people spend the day at home after a night of excitement. Restaurants saw a 5% increase in sales on New Year’s Eve, and a 72% decrease on New Year’s Day compared to average December sales.
Now, let’s determine how these metrics directly affect your business.