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8 Tips To Make The Best Of Restaurant Holiday Trading

June 3 / New Zealand

With ‘holiday’ days sprinkled across calendars throughout the year, it’s surprising how many hospitality businesses are leaving untapped revenue on the proverbial table. 

With seven national holidays and a slew of state dates, there are more than a few opportunities for hospitality businesses in Australia to make a few extra coins. But how do you make the best of them? There are a variety of strategies that hospitality businesses employ to better plan for, and cater to, customers during these times. Some are simple tips and tricks, whilst others veer more towards good housekeeping. Either way, it’s important to get your house to better see the hidden dollars come holiday time.

Add a surcharge

It may seem simple, but customers expect surcharges during the holidays and are often more than happy to pay a little extra if the service is top-notch. Even the world’s biggest companies are required to pay reward rates to their staff on Sundays, and the surcharge helps absorb some of those costs.

Roster more staff

Yes, it will be more expensive but consider upping the number of rostered staff during the holidays. Not only does this mean more availability to your customers and better customer service but you will also be able to serve them quicker. This means you’ll be able to cut down on wait times, despite a surge in customers, and clear their tables faster, meaning more customers can come in at any given time.

Do you have holiday trading hours?

Data is king when it comes to opening times. If you’re not open long enough, you’re missing out on profits, open too long and you’re paying staff to do nothing more than stare at the birds. Keep a log and analyse when your trade traditionally begins to fade, and then create special trading hours to maximise your profits. Cafes, restaurants and takeaway joints will have varying fade points so don’t assume your neighbour has the answer. Look at your base and your market and use the numbers to dictate your hours.

Don’t forget to update your trading hours on every digital platform that bears your name. That’s Google, social media, the company website, third-party delivery providers and your business window. More and more customers are using technology to plan around their wants and needs. Outdated timings mean disappointment for you or your customer. Both result in a loss of revenue. Communicate hours changes and/or adjust accordingly on your social channels and via any EDM you may be running.


Merchandise should already be a part of your offerings, but the holidays provide increased chances of shifting a few goods at purchase. Make sure you’re fully stocked with your chosen merch. Consider holiday-specific add ons to increase sale value. Steal tips and tricks from the supermarket giants. Perhaps Christmas cards, gifts cards, coupons, hats, T-Shirts and keep cups could drive additional revenue for your café, restaurant, or hip new burger joint.

Expand your marketing

You may already have a marketing strategy for day-to-day sales drivers but consider investing in some sponsored ads for your social media posts for the holiday period. Couple any spend with extra presence and communication on your social media channels and really leverage the nuances of the time of year. Easter may not be as relevant to the business as Christmas is but use trial and error to create yearly forecasts and better inform planning going forward.

Special Events

Small businesses are far more nimble than large ones and you’ll be surprised just how successful a special event can be in driving interest and sales. Think about creating a reason to get people through the doors. Can your café be turned into a Christmas and or autumn market? Could it get a makeover for Halloween? Think about how your business fits in with the community and create a pop-up event that surprises and delights you. Not only will it bring new customers, but it will also help retain existing ones.

Create a package

Some businesses can see a boom through meal deals and holiday specials. Perhaps it’s a takeout combo or a special menu item that will give you a reason to hit the socials. Make sure you update your third-party delivery app with a special ‘pick up’ or ‘family pack’ offer to better cater to a long weekend or special sporting event. If you have a large dine-in presence, make sure you take bookings and offer a set menu to increase the feeling of exclusivity and better plan your deliveries.

Have Fun

The holiday is a time to relax and have fun and your business should help customers do that.  Encourage your staff to get into the holiday spirit, even if it’s just a bank holiday. Offer a sense of occasion and see how customers rise to it. A celebratory glass of bubbles here, a bottle of wine sent to a friend’s table over there, a cookie with a morning coffee.

Every little bit helps.