Since menu, service, and ambience are what people look for when eating out1, the holiday period is the ideal moment to showcase your establishment.
Contribute to your success during this key period by avoiding these 5 mistakes and consider Chef Beall's precious advice.
Mistake #1: Compromising on quality
Inflation puts a lot of pressure on the restaurant industry, which is true on all levels.2 In order to counter those effects, many restaurants prefer to restrict their menu and focus on essential items.
Yet, consumers tend to seek out specialty dishes,3 especially during the holiday season. It’s therefore the perfect time of year to debut signature dishes that showcase premium ingredients, like truffles, superior meat cuts, seafood, foie gras as well as fine and imported cheeses. Finding a good quality-to-price ratio is also crucial: you want customers to feel like they’re paying a fair price for their meal.
People love to go to the restaurant to eat meals they wouldn’t make at home. Offering unique dishes is therefore an added value that could encourage customers to spend more, consequently increasing the average eater cheque.
Mistake #2: Limiting the creativity of your holiday menu
What do consumers look for the most when they eat at a restaurant? Hearty meals as well as new and bold flavours.4
It's time to indulge! Meet demands with dishes that are more decadent and richer in flavour. You could include more premium cheeses on your menu, something which Canadians love: 57% prefer cheesy dishes to salty (55%), spicy (53%) and sweet (53%) ones.5
It’s not surprising that cheese platters are among the most ordered shared dishes in restaurants.6 This sophisticated and customizable option can satisfy all taste buds and can easily be added to your menu thanks to our specialty cheese box.
Many other festive inspirations can take your menu to the next level:
- Swiss and Raclette Cheese Fondue
- Festive Baked La Sauvagine
- Sweet and Salty Upper Crust with Pacific Rock Cheese
- Festive Turkey Pizza
- Brie Cheese Mac N’ Cheese with Italian Sausage
- Cherry and Ricotta Pie
The holiday season is the perfect time to create comforting dishes and reinvent classics. Don’t hesitate to swap certain ingredients with seasonal items like turkey, fine cheeses, cranberries and Brussels sprouts.
Mistake #3: Overlooking the dining room experience
Each factor counts when it comes to creating an unforgettable dining experience: background music, festive decor, customer greeting, service quality and dish presentation!7
If your restaurant is at max capacity, and the kitchen has fallen behind, why not offer a glass of sparkling wine or a signature cocktail while your customers wait. It’s all those little extras that contribute to creating a pleasant and memorable experience.
Presentation has an impact on the customer’s experience. A garnish can enhance the taste and appearance of any dish. Shaved or crumbled cheeses are a quick way to add a finishing touch to refined plates without slowing down prep. A swirl of sauce on a plate, a pinch of sesame seeds, shredded nori or spice mix are also good options to elevate your presentation.
Mistake #4: Cutting down on employee training
Training is the key to a flawless, well-organized and efficient service.
Transparency is important to consumers, which is why they like to know the history behind dishes and ingredients.8 Well-informed service staff can therefore pass on the information and help impress consumers.
Doing more with less is the rule of thumb when trying to adapt to the current labour shortage.
Ease your kitchen staff’s workload by offering a special Christmas menu or an exclusive group menu with fewer options. The latter will be quicker to prepare, serve and explain when taking orders. It can contain two appetizers, three to four main courses and one dessert.
Mistake #5: Announcing your holiday menu too late
Don’t hesitate to disclose your holiday menu as early as September: numerous companies like to plan their employee Christmas lunch or dinner right after Thanksgiving. By taking care of this sooner rather than later, you’ll have time to introduce your holiday menu properly, especially if you offer catering services geared toward corporate groups.
How to spread the word efficiently?
- By posting on social media regularly
- By launching an ad campaign on Instagram or Facebook
- By adding a brochure to your delivery or take-out orders
- By offering a holiday promotion or discount coupons
- By displaying your menu strategically inside your restaurant
End the year on a high note by offering a memorable experience
By preventing these slip-ups, you can provide customers with a unique holiday experience. This is the perfect opportunity to make an impression and build loyalty by encouraging people to visit your establishment more often!
Contact your Saputo Foodservice representative for more information on cheeses and products that can help you finalize your holiday menu. For more expert content, subscribe to our newsletter, À LA CARTE.
1 GOOD & Upworthy, Food Studies: The Four Reasons People Choose a Restaurant, 2011
2 Technomic, Canadian Food Digest, March 2022
3 Technomic, Ignite menu, 2022
4 Technomic, Foodservice Trends Forecast 2022, November 2021
5 Technomic, Canadian Flavour Consumer Trend Report, 2021
6 Technomic, Ignite Menu, 2021
7 Technomic, Canadian Omnibus consumer survey, May and July 2020
8Technomic, What’s next in 2021, 2020