How can I increase restaurant profits this Christmas?

“There several ways to increase restaurant profits this Christmas: look at the margins of the food on offer, check for possible supplier price changes, raise awareness of your Christmas menus and make sure that the final dining experience is second to none. “

Whilst you may have already created and advertised your menus and taken bookings, it’s not too late! Now is the time to think about how you are going to maximise the profit-making potential that the festive season brings. Here, Michelin Starred chef John Wood, gives his insight into making the most of your Christmas custom…

The next five to six weeks, from the last week of November to the end of December are crucial for any F&B operation. During this short time, many F&B businesses take 25% of their total annual revenue. It’s therefore imperative to get it right.

Are they sitting comfortably?

At this time of year, we’d hope to see an influx of friends, family and office parties. With quieter lunchtimes being filled and even fully booked weeknight evenings, it’s essential to capitalise on your seating capacity. Ensure that the tables are booked correctly, so that you can turn them for a second and possibly a third sitting.

Make sure you’re prepared to give your customers the full festive experience, with lights, music and decorations.

Get social

Tempting tastebuds with pictures of the dishes on your Christmas menu is a great way to show what’s on offer and to generate interest. Schedule your social media posts to publish just before mealtimes, when your followers are at their most hungry!

Think about using hashtags on any social posts and encourage happy customers to take photos, share and tag your business.

Recalculating….

Even if you’ve decided on your dishes and written your menus, its still not too late to improve your profits. Take the time to review every dish and make sure that you are going to achieve the maximum amount of profit from each one. Whilst changing dish prices and names may not be practical, small undetectable portion adjustments and product changes could make a huge difference at this stage.

As a financial example if you were to take £/$/€ 45,000 net per week for the festive 6 weeks, with some small manipulations, you could easily increase 2% on your margins with detailed live costed recipes and menus. That is £/$/€5,400 more to the bottom line. A nice Christmas bonus with very little work.

Beware of product price increases

Just as you are trying to make the most profit from the Christmas period, so too are your suppliers. Many products will increase in price for various reasons:

  • Suppliers and vendors will have to increase prices to deal with the demand.
  • Suppliers are confident that customers will will pay more for these products during this time.
  • Due to cold weather and seasonal changes, many products will become hard to find and therefore demand and prices will go up.

Taking this into account when you’re costing recipes and menus weeks or months in advance, is almost impossible. It’s therefore good practice to check for price hikes shortly before the season begins, in time to look for better options.

Use the opportunity to impress

  • This is a great opportunity to impress and win more fans and customers. Many customers will be visiting for the first time, so this is your chance to make a lasting impression.
  • Suggest that satisfied customers may like to leave Tripadvisor reviews to raise awareness, promote your business and raise your rankings.

Tips to improve your profits

  • More business means more staff , often casual staff to bridge a gap over the busy period. It is imperative that you maintain consistency; provide very clear specs, with presentation photographs and videos if necessary – this will ensure that standards are maintained.
  • Arm the teams with as much information about the menus and what they are serving as possible.
  • Make sure that you have great service training tools in place. This will enable your new team members to be brought up to speed quickly and accurately.
  • Suggestive selling opportunities to encourage customers to potentially buy more or upgrade from their original choice.
  • Wine, beer and drink suggestions that complement each dish and menu will support the service teams. Arming your team with this knowledge will allow them to make useful and informative recommendations.
  • Through well informed suggestive selling techniques/knowledge you will see an improvement on sales and Gross Profit.

Ho, ho, ho!

With very little effort, you could make this the most successful financially and operationally festive season you have ever had. A system like Kitchen CUT will manage and monitor everything, from product price changes to service spec sheets and videos.


You can get more information about Kitchen CUT or a free online demo by emailing sales@kitchencut.com or calling +44 (0) 330 113 0050

You can register for a free trial here

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