Guide for Thanksgiving at Your Restaurant

According to the National Restaurant Foundation, 33 million Americans enlisted the help of restaurants for their Thanksgiving meals last year. For some, eating out on Thanksgiving is part of the Black Friday shopping experience, which now starts as early as Thanksgiving night. For others, restaurants provide an alternative means of sharing a meal with family, without the hassle of cooking.

If you are one of the restaurants staying open on this lucrative business day, be sure to incorporate the following must-have tips:

Advertise. With family members flying into town and businesses booking large parties for the occasion, planning for the annual Thanksgiving get-together happens well in advance. Send the message out early, announcing your restaurant’s plans to stay open, along with any Thanksgiving amenities or specials on offer, such as a to-go meal option or available banquet rooms.

Market Your Menu. One of the most important aspects of a restaurant Thanksgiving? The food. Help your menu stand-out with signature items like made-from-scratch biscuits and breads and gourmet sides. For those looking for a departure from the same old turkey dinner, consider incorporating a non-traditional Thanksgiving special as well.

Staff Appropriately. Be prepared for the rush—make sure you have enough staff available on Thanksgiving Day to cater to those who dine out. In addition, keep your staff happy during the busy holiday season to help ensure good service. Employee appreciation can take the form of a monetary bonus, turkey gift, or even a staff appreciation party.

Use Festive Décor. There’s something to be said about the personal touch of dining at someone’s home. Along with top-notch service, seasonal décor can give your customers a unique holiday experience while adding a fresh quality to your dining room.

Put on a Thanksgiving Promotion. Holidays are an excuse to spend. Rather than offer discounts for Thanksgiving, find ways to add value as part of your Thanksgiving promotion. This can include everything from a free glass of champagne to a two-for-one special on dessert.

Organization is essential to successful holiday service. Customers will be extra sensitive to mistakes during these important occasions. Make sure your POS system tracks every aspect of your business, including inventory management of must-have food items.