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September 30, 2021

How to get a head start on the restaurant holiday rush

From Christmas lunches to NYE cocktails, it’s your chance to capitalise on the holiday rush. See how to prepare without compromising the guest experience.
September 30, 2021

‘Tis the season restaurants and bars have been waiting for – the holiday season.

42% of consumers expect to spend more this Christmas than ever before. After months of lockdown, who can blame them? 

From large Christmas lunches to New Year’s Eve cocktails, the winter season is your chance to capitalise on the holiday rush. The trick is learning how to do that without compromising the guest experience. 

That’s where this guide comes in. We’ll share everything you need to increase your restaurant’s revenue this busy holiday without adding to the stress.

Anticipate the holiday rush with data 

During the holiday rush, restaurant operators can expect to see increases in guest traffic, gift card sales and reservations. Knowing exactly how busy you’ll be this year shouldn’t come down to guessing. 

For a normal holiday season, we’d suggest that you look at year-on-year data to determine how busy your restaurant, bistro or bar is going to be. But the global pandemic messed up Christmas 2020… so that won’t help. 

Instead, look back at the data from 2019 (and even 2018) in your Guest Experience Management platform, and analyse the insights to see how busy you were that year. 

  • Were there specific times when service slowed down? 
  • Which days were the busiest? 
  • Did you have enough staff to cover those times? 
  • What about inventory? 
  • Did certain menu items sell better? What about wine menus and other upsells? 

Use this data to anticipate staff scheduling, stock and even table management before the holidays begin. 

Update your reservation links 

Social media is one of the first places diners will go to see what your restaurant or bar has going on during the holidays. 

By adding a reservation link to your bio (on Instagram, for example), you’re making it easy for guests to book a table while they’re on the go – right from their smartphones.  

Create a great first impression 

Start the guest experience right with a reservation link that matches your brand.

Superb’s Guest Experience Management platform (GXM) makes it easy for guests to see exactly what you have on offer – from unique experiences to add-ons. You can rest assured that all the information is safely stored and easily accessible, so you’ll know exactly how to prepare. 

Provide holiday dining experiences

For holiday diners – during the Christmas season or New Year’s Eve – being at your restaurant is the focal point of their evening. 

That’s where creating and marketing unique seasonal experiences comes in. These give new guests a reason to visit and past guests a reason to return. 

According to FSR magazine’s research, over 50% of guests will choose a unique holiday-themed meal from October to January, if it’s available. See how Barr celebrates Christmas with the Great Christmas Lunch here.


Anticipate the restaurant holiday rush with guest data and Superb


Creating experiences also ensures that you have the inventory on hand to cover the overall experience. From drinks to dessert, you’ll know what to prepare and how much you can expect to make on add-ons like an open bar. And knowing that means your restaurant can reduce food waste and overspending. 

Add multiple revenue streams 

Don’t just be ready for the holiday rush… take advantage of it with gift cards, no-show protection, unique experiences and prepaid tickets with next-day payout. 

  • Restaurant gift cards 

Create gift cards for experiences, events or a set amount, and increase sales by sharing a mobile-friendly link across your social media. Superb’s GXM Lite helps you do all of that and more. 

  • Events and pre-paid tickets 

The holidays are busy. Your team doesn't have to be. Save time by selling prepaid tickets to events. With GXM Lite, you can block out tables automatically and receive next-day payouts for all tickets sold. 

You’ll know exactly who’s coming and how to prepare. And since Christmas is all about sharing… use a customised link to spread the word about your next event on your social media.  

  • No-show protection

Don’t lose revenue this holiday. Superb’s GXM Lite offers multiple features to curb no-shows like reservation reminders, no-show fees and waitlists, all from one platform.

Start collecting data for next year’s rush 

Guest Experience Management is the new way of running a restaurant using data. If this is your first Christmas with a Guest Experience Management platform, take advantage of the data you’re collecting and use it to better prepare next year. 

Since December 2020 was spent in lockdown, Christmas 2021 is your chance to collect the data you need to better plan for next year. From front-of-house (FOH) to the back, the stats and insights you gain from reservations, guest profiles and your POS (point-of-sale system) are keys to success. 

Some of the most important data to collect this year includes: 

  • Wait times and table turns 

Look at specific days (like December 23 and 24) or times (dinner vs lunch). This will help with staff scheduling and table management next year. 

  • Reservations 

Remember that guests may stay longer in your restaurant during the holidays – especially if you offer a Christmas dinner with multiple courses or an open bar. This may affect the number of reservations. 

  • Table management 

During the holidays, your restaurant will probably have larger parties than usual. By collecting this data now, you can analyse seating to forecast for the next holiday. 

  • Staff

94% of all holiday diners report that their dining parties consist of up to five other guests. FOH data will help you see if you have enough staff to accommodate the traffic. 

  • Guest data 

Not only will customer data help you tailor personalised guest experiences, you’re also collecting a goldmine for email marketing. And you can use these insights to upsell to guests when they return throughout the year. 

  • Bar and alcohol sales data

During the holiday, restaurants with bars will typically see 30% of their revenue come from alcohol sales. Pay attention to alcohol purchases and plan inventory and staff accordingly next year.  

  • POS data 

Use data from your POS and payments to improve your processes and update guest profiles with average spend and most-ordered menu items. 

Analysing year-on-year data will also help you determine how to best stock inventory for the holiday rush.

Restaurant marketing tips to win Christmas

Your restaurant isn’t the only one trying to cash in on the holiday rush. The key to increasing revenue is to properly market to your existing guests and potential customers on social media and through email marketing. 

Here are 4 tips for how to market your restaurant, bistro or bar during the holiday season:  

  1. Use all marketing sources. Social media – website – email list. These are the 3 can’t-forget sources to attack this holiday. It doesn't take a long time, either. Use the same messaging and imagery across all platforms. The key is in showcasing what you have to offer and enticing guests to make their holiday reservations with you. 
  2. Start in October-November. Start telling your audience about your Christmas and New Year’s plans in October and November. You want them to know you’re an option and exactly what you’re offering – a Christmas lunch, wine menus, special holiday experiences, etc. Let them know about gift cards in both your email marketing and social media posts. Use the link-in-bio feature on your social media to connect with your website and other important links. 
  3. Use holiday-themed images.  If you want to sell the idea of Christmas at your restaurant or bar, you have to do more than just write about it. Show it with holiday imagery – either from your business last year or showing the food you plan to offer. 
  4. Create events. Use your website to promote a special event and sell prepaid tickets. Be sure to give all the information possible about the event so guests can make an informed decision. This is especially important if you hope to catch companies and families looking for a place for Christmas lunch or a meal together. Offering an event is also a great way to upsell add-ons

What if we told you Christmas was just the beginning? 

The holiday season has already started with bookings and reservations being confirmed for November, December and New Year’s Eve. Preparing your restaurant, bistro or bar and focusing on creating incredible guest experiences starts now… not later. 

With Superb’s GXM platform, you can activate new revenue streams and deliver unique experiences for this holiday and the other 365 days a year. 

Book a quick call to get started. We’ll handle transferring your data, so you can start building the future of your business in time for the holiday. 

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