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Making a list and checking it twice

The holiday season offers many opportunities for fun, goodwill and lots of business. But behind the glamour of hospitality, there needs to be some basics to keep things running smoothly.

Is the holiday season about to kick into high gear? No matter what type of operation you have, there are many opportunities to take advantage of the fun, celebrations, and goodwill of the season. But behind the glitz and glamour of hospitality, make sure you tend to the basics to help keep things running smoothly.

Gift certificates, gift boxes and bags, decorations, holiday cards, and even clip art should be on-hand. Be prepared to print special menu inserts, holiday flyers, reserved table signs, etc. with a special holiday flair. And make sure you have the supplies to make sales of those high profit stocking stuffers and hostess gifts a breeze. Talk to your distributor sales reps to see which items they can help with, and source out additional items as needed.

It's time to put on your Guru of Marketing hat and outline the marketing ideas and promotions you'll be having during the season. Then clearly communicate the plan with your team. Whether it's selling retail items, hosting special events, creating themed menus, etc., all of the details should be finalized, and your staff should be well informed. Use large format wall calendars, pre-shift briefings, pay check inserts and employee newsletters to get the word out.

Shameless idea borrowing
I admit...it's difficult to come up with unique ideas to market your restaurant and stand out from the crowd. That's why I always make the time to get out and go shopping...not with the intention of crossing more names off of the list, but of getting inspired by other merchants and retailers from all industries. There are lots of great ideas that can be adapted to your business with a little creativity. Encourage employees to do the same, and have a great idea contest to get their brains working overtime on your behalf.

Record keeping
Now that you've put all the work into a great holiday season, be sure and keep track of the details. When you keep track of special holiday supplies like bags & boxes, it will save you some time next year when you don't have to re-source suppliers, and know just how many you should order. And logging your marketing campaigns will help you make educated decisions about what work, what doesn't, and what's most profitable. 

We've put together a short-cut page of Trade Secrets, downloadable tools, and on-line resources to help you make the season run smoothly and profitably.

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