Happy holidays! This may be a good time or a bad time for your restaurant. But as December approaches, it's important to get what you can out of the month and finish the year on a strong note.

December was always the time to go shopping and buy gifts for kids and family members, and with that, hungry shoppers also went to restaurants for lunch or dinner.

But online shopping is taking away that presence in restaurants away from businesses. In Dec. 2021, independent restaurants had a 50% decrease in sales.

There are ways to entice customers to your restaurant during the holidays. You can update your menus with holiday-themed specials, limited-time offers, or keep customers coming back with freebies or discounts.

No matter who comes through your door, you should be ready to offer them the holiday cheer they deserve.

On the other hand – many regular guests spend this time at home with their families or traveling to see loved ones far away. You might be short-staffed when servers take time off to celebrate. 

Though the three major holidays of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day can be very busy, is it profitable enough to open your restaurant?

  • Thanksgiving Day restaurants can expect a decrease in revenue since most people dine with family or friends. However, Thanksgiving is one of the busiest travel weekends of the year, with long-distance travel increasing by an average of 54% during the 6-day holiday. More than 109 million people traveled for Thanksgiving weekend last year. Essentially, you may not want to open on Thanksgiving Day, but you can make up ground through the weekend.
  • Restaurants that opened on Christmas Day welcomed back guests after arguably a two-year hiatus. Customers who were sheltered for many months were excited to get back to in-person holiday shopping were also ready to get back to in-person dining
  • If you're hesitant about opening up on Christmas Day this year, one option is to offer Christmas dinner staples for takeout like Cracker Barrel served last year. The result was some revenue growth and could be a gain in lieu of your restaurant opening.
  • New Year's Day has become less of a "sit-down to dinner at home" with the family than years ago, so being open is probably an obvious choice for your restaurant. If your restaurant has several TVs, then opening on New Year's Day 2023 is a no-brainer since there is a full Sunday of NFL games.

Knowledge is power. This information gives you the power to staff and build holiday hours that work for you! Restaurants are accommodating holiday diners more often. But if traffic is likely to be light, you can opt to close and give your whole staff a gift they’ll definitely appreciate: a day off.

Seasonality Checklist