How Restaurants Can Win This Holiday Season – With Takeout Meal Packages

Restaurants across the country are entering the most financially lucrative time of year, the December holiday season. Before the pandemic, most establishments made their profits from dine-in guests; however, as industry stakeholders seek to recover losses from the past two years, everything has changed.

This season, most provinces are allowing dine-in without capacity limitations, unlike the previous year. However, this season the industry can pivot and offer both bricks-and-mortar and takeout experiences simultaneously. As concerns over the Omicron variant rise globally, it is in the best interest of most venues to offer holiday on-premise experiences, coupled with festive takeout offerings, giving customers options.

The prepared holiday meal market is very competitive and saturated. Competing with larger grocers with even larger buying power and marketing spend is possible. Here are some tips to maximize revenues this December with takeout packages:

(1) Make your menu stand out. Larger grocers tend to offer similar meal packages. Most require some level of at-home preparation and feature a turkey or ham. This is where you can showcase your more unique offerings. Independent restaurants don’t have to provide the same volume as grocery stores; take advantage of that and build a menu that is as creative as possible. Your holiday dining packages should showcase your culinary ethos while scaling down serving size to appease smaller groups. Add a la carte items as modifiers to ensure the experience is more bespoke than larger grocers offer and upsell. 

(2) Take advantage of consumers’ desire for efficiency. Restaurants are accustomed to online and app ordering, and consumers’ behaviour and ways of procuring food have also shifted. By offering your packages on Tock or UberEats, with reasonable prep time and inventory control, smaller F&B establishments can compete with most grocers’ requirements to place orders days in advance. Being reactive to consumers’ last-minute holiday culinary and delivery needs will set you apart from grocers and bring in more money.

(3) Connect with your dine-in guests with strategic customer relations management (CRM). Distribute a newsletter with solid calls-to-action for purchase, post content about your offerings on social media and try contesting to help organically spread the word. Make sure your CRM tactics reflect your brand; the grocery guys often lack visual creativity when highlighting their holiday bundles.

(4) Use your venue space as a tool for promotion. Firstly, include value-add incentives to make your package more appealing. Guest traffic in January is slow; offer a 30% dine-in discount through the upcoming month with proof of festive takeout purchase.

Secondly, add as much tasteful signage in your venue as possible: include QR codes for takeout orders at the bottom of dine-in receipts, promotional signage at guest services, A-frames outside your space, and get this information in front of as many on-premise guests as possible, it will pay off.

(5) Utilize the power of public relations. Reach out to a couple of social media influencers or media in your community and have them try your holiday offerings weeks in advance to showcase your product over generic grocery options on their platforms. Make sure your package is media-friendly — something that can get lost with large grocers — and add personalized holidays props, flowers, decorations, notes, etc. A little creativity goes a long way to stay memorable and relevant.

Restaurants in Canada are better positioned to increase revenue this holiday season, as guests are eager to celebrate after long periods of lockdown periods. If you implement and execute an appealing takeout menu specifically for the holidays, you’re sure to make it on the nice list this year!