For the last 15 years, I have started to plan Christmas in January, yes it’s true, as soon as New Year is over, business is quiet and a great time to think, this is how I do it.
What worked last year
Take the best dishes and recycle, if the sales on those dishes where strong keep them, your team will know them, they don’t need to learn them again, you will have the spec and costings for the dishes that you just need to update.
And guess what, your customers won’t remember them from last year. It’s a winner half the menu is done!
The rest of the menu
Below, we share with you our selection – and some tempting recipe suggestions from our chefs:
Keep it simple, don’t make the menu too big, don’t make the menu too difficult for you and your team, the more moves on the plate, the more prep needed and the slower the team will be in getting it out.
Speak to your suppliers…ask them what lines they have for Christmas? Guess what they plan early too. A mix of great quality bought in items alongside homemade makes a great balance that is easy to control for cost and for your team.
The demographic of your customer’s changes in the Christmas period – bigger tables, office parties, people still want great food, but the fun side is so important to them, and make sure the turkey offering is straight forward, you will be shifting a ton of it.
Knowledge is important, cook off the menu for the whole team so they can see it, taste it, understand it, take notes for the front of house teams to refer to and spec pictures for the kitchen team.
Brief them to what you want, where it comes from, how it’s prepared, how we work as a team, I like to start the Christmas last week of November, the team then know the dishes before the busy times hit.
To sum up, the festive period is a fun time for the customers and it should be for us too. We are organised, we are ready, we have a plan and the team know the drill, the menu is easy so we can do big on numbers, make a few quid, then when January comes, let’s do it again.
One last thing, don’t spend time on making mince pies, most people just leave them!