How to Prepare Your Restaurant for the Holidays: A Comprehensive 10-Step Guide
Elevate your restaurant's holiday game with our comprehensive 10-step guide. From decor to menu planning, discover expert tips to ensure a seamless and festive dining experience for your customers.
Publishing date 12/19/2023
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The holiday season is a wonderful time full of happiness, festivities, and a significant increase in the number of customers visiting restaurants. With the joyful atmosphere all around, it is extremely important for restaurant owners and managers to take proactive measures in order to be fully prepared for the upcoming busy period, guaranteeing a smooth and prosperous holiday season. Ensure holiday success with our comprehensive preparation guide.

This blog will explore 10 crucial steps to help you effectively ready your restaurant for the festive season.

1. Collect Holiday Time-Off Requests from Your Staff – Act Now!

The first step in holiday preparation is understanding your staffing needs. Reach out to your team and request their holiday time-off preferences as early as possible. By doing this well in advance, you can create a schedule that accommodates everyone’s needs, minimizing disruptions and ensuring a fully staffed and efficient operation during the holidays.

2. Hiring Seasonal Staff to Meet Increased Demand

To handle the increased demand during the holiday season, consider hiring seasonal staff. Whether it’s additional waitstaff, kitchen support, or cleaning crews, having extra hands on deck will help your restaurant maintain high levels of service. Start the hiring process early to allow time for training and integration into your existing team.

3. Staff Recognition with Incentives and Thoughtful Gifts

Recognizing and appreciating your staff’s hard work is crucial during the holidays. Consider offering incentives such as bonuses, extra time off, or even small gifts to show your appreciation. Happy and motivated employees contribute significantly to the overall success of your restaurant during the bustling holiday season.

4. Special On-Premise Holiday Party Menu

Many businesses and groups plan holiday parties at restaurants, making it essential to have a dedicated on-premise holiday party menu. Craft a menu that caters to group dining, with shareable appetizers, festive entrees, and indulgent desserts. Promote this menu through your marketing channels to attract party bookings and increase revenue.

5. Introduce a Festive Online Ordering Menu for Holiday Celebrations

In addition to on-premise dining, capitalize on the growing trend of online ordering during the holidays. Design a special online ordering menu featuring holiday-themed dishes that customers can enjoy in the comfort of their homes. Ensure that your online ordering platform is user-friendly and provides a seamless experience for customers placing orders.

6. Create Holiday Catering Menu Options

Expand your reach beyond the walls of your restaurant by offering a holiday catering menu. Businesses and individuals often seek catering services for their holiday events. Develop a diverse catering menu that includes options suitable for various occasions, from corporate gatherings to family celebrations. Market your catering services through targeted advertising and collaborations with local businesses.

7. Ensure Timely Inventory Orders for Seamless Operations

A well-stocked inventory is crucial for meeting the increased demand during the holidays. Review your sales data from previous years to estimate the quantities of ingredients and supplies you’ll need. Place orders well in advance to ensure timely deliveries and prevent any disruptions to your operations.

8. Transform Your Patio for Winter Comfort and Charm

If your restaurant has an outdoor patio, consider winterizing it to accommodate guests who prefer al fresco dining during the colder months. Invest in outdoor heaters, cozy blankets, and festive decorations to create a welcoming winter ambiance. Promote your winterized patio through social media and marketing materials to attract customers seeking a unique dining experience.

9. Optimize Your POS System for Restaurant-wide Efficiency During Busy Periods

A reliable Point of Sale (POS) system is crucial for managing the increased volume of transactions during the holidays. Ensure that your POS system is up-to-date, integrates seamlessly with other aspects of your restaurant operations, and can handle the rush without glitches. Train your staff on any new features or updates to maximize efficiency.

10. Schedule a Post-Holiday Closure for Well-Deserved Rest and Recovery

While the holiday season is undoubtedly lucrative, it’s essential to prioritize the well-being of your staff and yourself. Plan to close your restaurant for a brief period after the holidays to allow everyone to rest and recuperate. Use this time for thorough cleaning, equipment maintenance, and strategic planning for the upcoming year.


In conclusion, preparing your restaurant for the holidays requires careful planning and attention to detail. By following these 10 steps, you can ensure that your restaurant not only survives but thrives during the festive season. From accommodating staff schedules to expanding your menu offerings and optimizing your operations, a proactive approach will set the stage for a successful and delightful holiday season at your restaurant.

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