The kids are back to school so it must be time to think about Christmas.
Whilst the majority of the UK still prefers to celebrate at home (theirs or someone else’s), it’s looking like the number of households choosing to have their main Christmas Day meal at a pub or restaurant is back to (in fact, higher than) pre-Covid levels.
Some don’t want the hassle of planning, others resent being stuck in the kitchen and missing out on the action, and some people just can’t face the washing up!
Choosing whether or not to open on the big day is no easy decision – especially with good staff being so hard to find at the moment – so you’ll need to stand out to get those bookings secured. Here’s a few things to think about:
While a lot of people (particularly the over 65s) still love the traditional turkey, it’s the trimmings that mean the most, with potatoes, pigs in blankets, stuffing and gravy ‘making the meal’. Offering a choice of stuffing or ‘perking up’ your pigs can be a low-cost way to stand out.
If you’re a more gastro type venue, you could take advantage of the rise of chicken, other fowl and vegetarian mains making the main event. How does spiced roast goose sound? Or a jackfruit, smokey bean and sweet potato wellington? Or even a ‘turkey and trimmings’ burger?
The budget might not stretch to a full-on immersive experience, but even small things can elevate the ambience. A ‘wow’ entrance for insta-worthy imagery means your guests are actively marketing on your behalf before, during and after Christmas day. When looked after, pine branches can last for weeks and be dressed and re-dressed as much as needed. Coloured uplighters are cheap to hire and can make a HUGE difference to the feel of a space.
Special or personal experiences
Live music, a pub quiz – If your customers love it the rest of the year, why wouldn’t it work at Christmas? A post-meal quiz might hit just the right tone, giving time for your guests’ dinners to settle but also offering a bit more time to serve additional drinks.
Other ideas to help you stand out or boost revenue:
– Reindeer feeding (yes, you can hire them to hang out for a few hours!)
– Christmas cocktail making
– Personalised table gifts for your regulars
– An afternoon of board games with prizes for the winners
– A post-meal wildlife walk (then back to yours for mince pies and liqueur coffees)
Keeping it community
Partnering with other local businesses and charities offers the chance to share costs, cross-market, fundraise AND build interest in your high street. Think about what you can source locally or create goody bags of local gifts and produce for your guests to take away.
We’d love to know what plans you’ve got for Christmas. Follow us on Facebook and tell us how you plan to stand out for the big day.