The last quarter of the year is no doubt the busiest for the hospitality industry, with customers relying on restaurants as part of their holiday celebrations. Many restaurants have prepared their holiday packages and have exciting new menus — with and without Brussels sprouts — ready to go for this Christmas season.
You have the potential to make the 2022 holiday season a success, but only if you know what to expect and make the right moves to prepare. Here are 10 things that restaurants need to know to get ready for the end of the year.
1. Brits are in the mood to celebrate
After two years of canceling or scaling back holiday celebrations for pandemic precautions, Brits are eager to observe the season with friends and family. 31% say they are putting more effort than normal into celebrating this year. And we’ll toast to the holidays with 250 million pints of beer! Use QR codes to track beverage orders and payments for holiday events, get out those festive ornaments, and don’t hold back on your restaurant decor plans!
2. Planning started early
A survey from KAM and Toggle in September revealed that people were already starting to make holiday plans. Out of the 18% that said they were working on holiday plans, 17% have been invited to celebrations at the homes of family and friends, 13% have already invited people to their house, and 9% have already made a reservation at a restaurant or pub.
3. Catering is trending
Catering — traditionally reserved for large banquets or formal get-togethers — has become a convenient option for parties of all sizes. From pre-ordered office lunches to a weeknight family dinner to a brunch party, customers are opting for professionally-prepared food to save time and stress. Get ready for more catering requests this holiday season. Tripleseat can help you manage your catering orders through our Tripleseat+ Direct   booking system that will allow you to capture all of the catering or event details through our easy-to-use platform.
4. Restaurants are included in holiday plans
With several holidays as part of the season, customers have multiple opportunities to visit restaurants. 1 in 10 people intend to visit a restaurant or pub on Christmas Day. Here’s a look at the percentage of people who are making restaurants or pubs part of their 2022 holiday season:
- Christmas Eve 13%
- Christmas Day 11%
- Boxing Day 17%
- New Year’s Eve 24%
- New Year’s Day 14%
5. Tuesdays and Sundays are popular for bookings
Based on Tripleseat customer data, consumers are choosing particular days of the week for their holiday celebrations. Bookings for Tripleseat customers in December show that Tuesdays and Sundays are the most-booked days during the season, with Tuesday, Dec. 6, being the top date for private events out of the month. Be prepared for an influx of bookings, but also keep these preferences in mind when receiving enquiries — you can suggest alternate or slower days to prospects when your venue is sold out on popular dates.
6. Food makes a great gift
Food and dining is a popular gift on Britons’ wish lists. These are the purchases that consumers have made during past holiday seasons:
- Gift card for a pub or restaurant 35%
- Branded merchandise from a hospitality business 23%
- Retail products from a hospitality business 23%
- Pre-packaged dining experience 18%
7. Spending is up
When the holidays come around, UK consumers are determined to have a Christmas to remember, even if they have to pay a bit more. The average spending of British households typically increases by 29% in December. And 65% of consumers who have difficulty keeping up with debt said that they would not cancel Christmas. However, savvy consumers are on the lookout for savings during this time of year, so be sure to offer discounts, buy-one-get-one deals, or complimentary offers on holiday event bookings.
8. Experiences are in
Younger demographics (particularly Generation Z) prefer to buy their friends and family an experience instead of a physical gift. Some common restaurant experiences include a dinner for two, a wine-tasting experience, or a cocktail-making class. It’s also the perfect opportunity to get your fill of competitive socialising in by booking a day of mini golf, bowling, or shuffleboard to keep the whole family involved and entertained. Extend the holiday event surge in the new year by selling tickets to experiential events in the first few months.
9. Make the holidays easy for customers
Given all we’ve covered so far, your restaurant can take advantage of holiday momentum and trends by setting up special event packages, meals, catering offers, and gifts for your customers. Having options for them to choose from will make it easier to make decisions about purchases and bookings. The Tripleseat enquiry form is one of the best features to help your holiday bookings. You can easily create a unique enquiry form for your different holiday events to easily manage each event and simplify how you keep track of all of your customers information.
10. Technology can make it all happen
Customers want convenience, and the technology is available for restaurants to provide a better, faster, convenient experience for their customers. Event enquiry forms, self-booking or ordering, event management, and online payments are just a few of the ways that restaurants can make their business run smoother for the holiday season. Choose the right software to help you do it all and drive more revenue.
Timing is everything
Your customers can’t make bookings or purchases if they don’t know what’s available. Promote your holiday offers via email, social media, your website, and digital ads as soon as they’re ready. Share the information multiple times a week — it might not make an impact on the first try, but seeing your content will make an impression over time, and you’ll be top of mind when customers are ready to make a decision.
Don’t wait to focus on the holidays. Get started right now to prepare your marketing, menus, venue, staff, and schedule for the season. The minute you have everything in place, your customers will have everything they need to know to make their plans early.
Tripleseat is a catering and event management platform used by more than 15,000 venues each day, enabling them to streamline the planning process and increase sales. Tripleseat is used by restaurants, hotels, bars and pubs, and unique venues to manage all of their events. To date, the Tripleseat platform has helped venues book over 6 million events and capture £13.5 billion in event enquiries. To learn more about Tripleseat or to schedule a demo, please visit www.tripleseat.com/restaurants-uk.