Here’s how to make sure your restaurant is prepared for the entire Thanksgiving week.
The biggest food holiday of the year is approaching, which means restaurateurs are scrambling to ensure that they are prepared for the hectic week to come. Not only is Thanksgiving Day the most important day to have your gravy and stuffing recipes perfected, but the week also brings crowds to celebrate Thanksgiving Eve and Black Friday back-to-back. It’s the one designated week out of the year when friends and families can gather together, most conveniently at a bar or restaurant. Here’s how to make sure your restaurant is prepared for the entire Thanksgiving Week.
Since Thanksgiving Eve comes first (even though some would argue really the party begins on Tuesday as the unofficial Thanksgiving-Eve-Eve), we’ll begin there. The influx of people coming into town the day before Thanksgiving could be intimidating, especially when they all start hitting the town at night. The first tip of advice we can give you is to relax. Treat the evening as a normal Friday or Saturday night. Make sure you’re fully staffed with servers, bartenders and cooks and be ready to stay late to service those who will be staying until closing. Keep your staff in the loop by setting up a meeting earlier in the week to discuss the schedule, any special holiday menus and explain any changes to procedures that may be different than normal. If your restaurant is open for Thanksgiving, make sure you split up your staff, so everyone has an opportunity to spend time with their families over the weekend. Don’t forget to remind them that tips typically increase this time of year and thank them in advance for their hard work!
Most restaurants that are open for Thanksgiving generally require guests to make reservations ahead of time, so they have a pretty good idea how much food to prepare beforehand. And the Thanksgiving feast is not a meal that chefs take lightly. Guests have a lot of traditional requests for their Thanksgiving dinner that go beyond the showrunner that is the turkey. Partstown.com suggests offering a family-style package to accommodate larger parties. This would include everything from the turkey and sides to traditional fixings and desserts. For couples dining at your restaurant, introducing special dishes or an a la carte menu may be most desired giving each person the option to choose what they would like to eat. Another important part of the preparation process is to make sure your equipment is ready to go for the big day. You don’t want to step into the kitchen on Thanksgiving morning only to discover that your oven bit the dust right before you put the turkey in. Routine cleaning and maintenance on all kitchen appliances are highly recommended, regardless of the holiday.
So, you got through the holiday rush, but now the weekend has officially begun, and holiday shopping is in full swing. Many people are out and about searching for great holiday deals and looking for a place to refuel. RewardsNetwork.com encourages restaurateurs to put signs outside their establishments advertising food and drink specials to attract customers passing by. Capitalize on the holiday week and offer Thanksgiving weekend-themed specials or introduce new holiday treats that you have been planning. This is also a good opportunity to offer gift cards for guests to check off their shopping lists as well.
The next week will be busy for many restaurants, but that’s a good thing! Don’t sweat the crowds. As long as you are well-prepared, you will have no problem getting through the holiday season. Good luck and have a Happy Thanksgiving!
About the Author: Courtney Ciandella has been the sole Marketing liason for Bielat Santore & Company since 2013. She is also the conductor behind the Who’s Who in the Restaurant Industry and Restaurant Tip of the Month series.