If it seems like we are talking about the holidays a lot, it’s because we are. In an industry that can double or triple their business during this time of year, usually October, November and December are the months a restaurant will be open more hours, go through more and still have to prepare for the next year. Hopefully, we are breaking it down and helping you develop a strategy for each layer of your restaurant so a cohesive plan can come together that allows you to be profitable and running sweet as a Christmas cake. Let’s talk about the people, the backbone of your restaurant. Most restaurants either hire temporary workers to work specifically for the holidays, they have staff they bring back or their current staff is ready to work the holidays. Whichever way you go, create the process and training to keep the customers happy, fed and feeling the holiday spirit!
Over Communicate. Make sure you have sent an email, text or staff meeting to let all employees know of the upcoming holidays. The actual day, hours you are open and how many staff you are going to need. Make it clear how you are going to handle time-off requests, special training sessions or parties on-site and catering events. This information can’t be shared enough. Clearly state if there is going to pay changes and/or tip practices. Special uniforms or any other changes.
Have a plan. Are you going to be closed any days, adding extra hours you are going to be open, changes to how the kitchen is going to be staffed (cooks and prep coming in early or staying late). Planning for how many people you need for each shift FOH and BOH. Plan for no-shows.
Do a run-through. Prepare your team for the most difficult of customers. Take some time and have some extra training sessions. If you are bringing in staff just for the holidays, this helps them acclimate to the existing culture. For your staff, it’s a refresher for the holiday crowds. Do a tasting with any new dishes, so everyone can be familiar with the menu, understands the POS system and flow of the holidays.
And, finally… a few quick reminders. The holidays are challenging. Make sure you take the time out to surprise and delight your team. Host a small party for them, do a secret Santa or even just hand out gift cards. Run a small contest. Make sure they realize you appreciate and respect the hard work they are doing.
Short on staff? Don’t stress. In a pinch, you can download one of these apps and have quality temporary employees lickety-split. It’s better to have a set of untrained hands in the field then trying to shift work to your already busy employees.