holiday restaurant menu

Ah, the holidays — for most, it’s a time of seasonal cheer, gift shopping and spending time with loved ones. For those in the restaurant and events industries, it’s often a chaotic time too. But while there are bound to be surprises, having a well-prepared staff can take loads of stress out of the equation.

Below, we’re breaking down a few ways you can prepare your staff for the holiday rush to make this time a success for you, your team and your venue.

Having a well-prepared staff can take loads of stress out of the equation.

Schedule a sit-down meeting beforehand

Before the full holiday rush goes into effect, it’s wise to schedule a mandatory team sit-down meeting to go over the holiday schedule and answer any questions your team might have. This is a great time to make sure everyone’s roles are clear so that there’s no grey area when it comes to who is responsible for what. This will take stress off of both you and your staff. You can also mention who people can turn to (you, a manager or another event coordinator on site) if they have any additional questions after the meeting as well.

Be clear about expectations

While the holidays are often a time to spend with family, those in the restaurant and event industries know it’s a time for hard work and busy schedules as well. Make sure your team knows what is expected of them. Since your usual employees will likely be taking days off, it’s a great time to hire a few extra people so you don’t find yourself short-staffed during a busy weekend night. And if someone needs to call out unexpectedly, do your best to have at least one backup team member who can jump into the role if need be.

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Have facts to back you up

The best way to gauge how busy you’ll be, how many employees you’ll need and what your inventory should look like is to check back on last year’s data. Look at your busiest days and staff accordingly. Try to plan ahead as much as possible so you don’t overbook, underbook, or run out of a food or drink item during a crucial time. You can even help boost your bottom line before year’s end by seeing which events were most successful and reaching back out to those clients to see if they want to rebook an event for this year.

Make sure employees feel valued

While it’s easy to get caught up in the chaos of the season, taking just a little time to make sure your employees feel valued and appreciated, especially this time of year, will make a big difference in morale and, likely, retention. Consider hosting a private holiday party at your space that’s just for employees, or your employee and a plus-one if you have space and budget. You can even do something small like a gift card or cash bonus. (Edibles like a box of chocolates will work too, just be mindful if any staff member has a dietary restriction.)

Offer a helpful takeaway

Between daily specials, floor plan layouts, the ingredients in a handful of cocktails and an ever-changing wine list, your staff has a lot to keep in mind. Add unexpected questions about future event date availability or a candle momentarily catching a napkin on fire with no extinguisher in sight, and you have a potential disaster on your hands. Consider creating a holiday takeaways sheet for your current and seasonal employees that break down things like what to do in case of a medical emergency, the details of your private events program (like where customers can send a booking inquiry) and other info that isn’t bound to change often.

Written by   |  
Caroline Cox is the content marketing manager for Gather, the leading event management software platform. She spends her time crafting blogs, thought leadership pieces, case studies, social media content and more, helping empower restaurants and other event venues to streamline their planning process and grow their events programs with success. Learn more about Gather and request a live tour at gatherhere.com.