17:40 | Fri | 02 July 2021
It is better to plan ahead. Many restaurant owners understand the value of planning ahead for the upcoming weather, season or holiday period. Currently, winter is six months away, however, this is precisely the right time to begin preparing for the coldest time of the year. With winter approaching albeit slowly, fewer and fewer people go out. Your restaurant needs to find ways to increase sales during the winter. This can be a serious challenge even if the world isn’t still suffering from post-pandemic consequences. Here we will present you with a few ideas of how to maintain your restaurant up and running during the winter months, as well as provide you with a guide of how to fully prepare your restaurant for the cold weather.
Having an operating outdoor space during the winter is amazing, especially if it is furnished with beautiful outdoor furniture. Creating a warm and cosy, well-designed outdoor dining space for customers to enjoy in the cold weather will surely generate traffic for your venue. A few heaters and some blankets would make your clients forget about the cold, and an outdoor fireplace can create a such wonderful ambience. Adding traditional holiday drinks to your menu such as hot chocolate, mould wine and hot mulled cider to warm up your freezing clientele will also help you increase sales. Keeping an operating outdoor space during the winter ensures you differentiate yourself from your competitors.
Food delivery is essential during the colder months of the year. Hiring or using a third-party delivery service can help you reach customers without the hassle of operating your delivery system. It is ideal as it allows your customers to continue dining from your restaurant if they don’t have a car or simply wish to stay in on another cold evening. This would also justify adding a delivery fee to the service.
Even though COVID-19 is thankfully beginning to fade as the world is trying to restore that sense of normalcy, there is still a long way to go. The restaurant industry has suffered quite a lot and you need to be prepared for further limitations and restrictions. Having an outdoor dining space is good, however it is safe to assume than more customers would rather dine indoor during the winter and you need to ensure the dining are space is as socially distant as possible in order to make your guests feel comfortable and more importantly safe. You need to have hand sanitizers installed and the staff has to be wearing masks when having face-to-face interactions with other employees and your clients.
We already touched on the bonus of adding hot drinks to your menu, however this can be taken even further. A unique menu filled with exciting food and beverage options will capture the interest of your customers, try adding soups, ramen and gumbo – traditional options during the winter.
While having food delivered is convenient for the majority of customers, there are some individuals who prefer to pick up their order themselves. Providing the option for people to order food in advance, pick it up and enjoy it the comfort of their home is a winning strategy.
If your venue can host private events or attract larger parties during the winter season, you need to start preparing now. Your customers are going to make social plans for the winter holidays and you need to be ready to attract them to your restaurant by presenting them with an enticing offer. Think about advertising your venue for such events. You won’t even a special room, you simply need to decorate your restaurant accordingly and let your clients know you are fully capable of handling special events. Consider the fact that many venues get booked very early, therefore you can begin promoting as soon as possible. Presume what your clients need and convince them your venue is the perfect place to hold a special holiday dinner or a Christmas Staff party. Consider creating a special events package price to facilitate your guests. It is the little details that count, having an extra decoration, or using upholstered chairs which fit in with the decor and theme of the party will set your apart from your competitors. Especially if those options are significantly affordable.
Whilst it is important to operate during the holiday season it is imperative to note that your staff are people who wish to celebrate with their families and might take some days off. Therefore, we recommend to plan ahead. Staying closed on a specific day such as Christmas is not an issue, however your employees may wish to take a couple more days of vacations and so it’s better to ask them in advance about their holiday plans and make sure you are not understaffed. Creating and implementing a holidays hours system can also work perfectly fine if the hours are equally divided amongst your staff members. Make sure you remember to inform your customers if your business will have different working hours on a specific date to avoid unhappy feedback.
Preparing for the cold weather can be a strenuous task. It is imperative to integrate innovative tactics to keep your business running and your customer coming back. However, it is also important to take care of your establishment and ensure it can thrive during the cold season. You must take the precautionary steps to keep your restaurant safe in the winter.
Stock on Supplies
A good preparation includes being ready for any situation. Winter storms can result in power outages and closed roads, you need to make sure you have all the supplies you need. Flashlights, first aid kits and toiletries are a few of the essential items. Others include caution signs, hand sanitizers, and tool kits.
Your restaurant must be prepared for a power outage. That may include investing in an emergency power generator and having a back-up heating system. Having extra candles is also a great idea, as it allows you to make the best out of a bad situation and create a cosy intimate atmosphere if the lights are out.
If your restaurant has outdoor furniture intended for use during warm weather you must make sure to clean it thoroughly and store it in a safe place. You may inspect the metal chairs and tables for rust or scratches. If you are using cane chairs you must use special oils on them before putting them away. For easier storing we suggest you use stackable chairs, check out our outdoor chairs for some amazing options.
You need to be able to prevent certain accidents during the cold months of the year. Think you what can go wrong and what I can do to stop it? The heating system being fully operational and adequate needs to be on the top of that list. Check that it is working properly to avoid any unnecessary problems.
You may be tempted to save a few dollars on your heating bill, but make sure that your building stays above freezing temperature when your business is closed. In fact, recent research has shown that it is less expensive to keep your building at a consistent temperature rather than letting it get very cold and then heating it back up again.
Clear snowing paths
You need to have a clear plan if the snowing is heavy. There are 2 places which you need to consider when it comes to snow removal – the parking lot and the sidewalks, paths leading to the restaurant. The snow in the parking lot will be taken care of by the communal workers, if it is a private parking lot, then you may need to hire a plowing service. The walking spaces and the entrances of your restaurant also need to be clear of snow. Ensure you have the proper equipment i.e. shovels, salt, and ice melt before the cold season begins. If your staff will be responsible for removing the snow, make sure they are physically able to perform this task and it is clear who is responsible in order to avoid getting the entrance snowed in.
It is inevitable that when it snows some of the snow is going to get inside your restaurant meaning the floors will be wet, slippery and unfortunately dirty. You need to have a plan to keep your customers safe and your floors clean. Good quality mats and rugs will need to be placed in front of the entrances, warning signs indicating the floor is wet and a good mop and bucket system for the busiest periods of the day.
We’ve already touched upon the possibility of creating a great outdoor dining space, however, you may not have that option and may need to winterize your outdoor space. You need to have a clear idea of how, where and when you are going to store your furniture as leaving it out in the open will only damage it and leave it in a bad state.
Preparing for the upcoming winter season is a great idea as it will put you in a better position compared to your competitors, thinking ahead is way better than reacting to the situation as it develops.
With a little care and planning, your restaurant could become the “go-to” place during the colder months and all across the holiday season. So get planning and good luck!
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