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Seasonal Touches

It’s now officially the time of year. THE time of year. It’s a time of year when peace and busyness, activity and nostalgia, cheer and exhaustion all run hand-in-hand. This is good news for restaurants because their patrons will likely be more frequent, merrier, and readier to spend. Throughout the holidays and into the new year, restaurants can make small changes that subtly appeal to the holiday senses.

1. Decor: You don’t have to commit yourself to one holiday or even decorate specifically to enhance the atmosphere of your space for the holidays. Any touches that add warmth, glow, and cheer to your aesthetic are bound to draw in your customer. Consider soft lights, rich colors, candlelight, and other nuances that will improve and play on holiday ambiance.

2. Seasonal dishes: We all have certain foods in the backs of our minds around the holidays, dishes like mom made. Incorporate a homey, comfort food into your meal. Work with local farms to choose items that are in-season in your area. Get a recipe from your grandmother.

3. Drink specials: Maybe it’s just a funny cliche, but with in-laws pouring in all over town, some people are going to need a drink. It’s party time, after all, throughout the holiday season. Consider offering deals on drinks or creating a special holiday libation. Also make every effort to encourage safety and responsibility.

4. Appeal to shoppers: Be an oasis for potential customers out running their holiday errands. Create space and a check-in system for coats and packages. Offer quick, ready-made dishes for those on the go. Use social media tools to offer coupons to those running errands or checking-in (Facebook, Foursquare) in your area.

5. Be charitable: Everyone feels generous during the holidays. Contribute to your neighborhood and get your patrons on-board. Offer a free side for a donated canned good or host a drive in your restaurant.

Photo courtesy of Magelie L’Abbe.