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Kick-starting Christmas!

Ed Davies takes a look at planning ahead for the festivities...

Yes, I’m using the C-word in August!

About a third of my pub website clients have got their Christmas menus up on their website and are taking bookings already. 

I know what you’re thinking. 

I used to think the same. 

But instead of wishing Christmas was only allowed to be mentioned or thought of in December, I decided to join them and get customers booked in instead. The simple fact that people are booking parties (and paying deposits) in July means all I’m doing by not being ready for them is losing the early-bird custom. 

Let’s be honest, I’m not suggesting you put the Christmas tree up and decorate the pub already, but simply: 

  • Agree your menu with the kitchen
  • Have a page on your website with the menu on it
  • Print some off and have them behind the bar in case someone asks about it
  • Let your staff know your booking process

 

Agreeing the menu

This should be fairly straightforward - look at last year’s menu and sales figures, drop the least popular dish and replace it with something similar.

Tweak the pricing and you’re done. 

 

Have a page on your website

You can add it to your usual menu page, but there are a couple of reasons to have it on a separate page:

  1. SEO - An additional page of content will please the Google Gods
  2. If a customer isn’t interested in Christmas yet but is looking for your menu online, don’t put your Christmas menu in their way.
  3. If a customer is interested in Christmas, they’ll see it from a link in your menu and click it. Now you’ve got a whole page to tell them about offers (e.g. early-bird discount) and tell them about your booking process.
  4. Advertising - If you have the Facebook pixel on your website (and you should), it will track everyone who’s visited your Christmas page. Later in the year, you can select those people to advertise to, or create a look-alike audience from them.      

For the best customer experience, consider having your Christmas menu typed up and provide a link to download the pdf.

It’s much better for mobile users to read a typed up menu and scan for certain keywords (Turkey/Gluten Free/Children).

But for corporate bookings, they may want to download the menu and send it around their team, so giving both options is the best way to go.

 

Print Some Off 

If you have somewhere that isn’t too in-your-face to leave some Christmas menus, do so. Customers may pick them up, complain about how it gets earlier every year, then see your offer and take the menu with them to show others.

It’s also a much better scenario to have some in case someone does randomly ask for it, than to not have them if that happens.

 

Let Your Staff (and your customers) Know Your Booking Process 

This saves so many headaches. At your next team meeting, make sure all your staff know how to take a booking - especially if they need to leave a deposit.

For example, it may be that they simply need to leave a deposit of £5 per head, and in November you’ll email them with an order form that needs to be sent back by 1st December to secure their booking.

  • Where do your staff need to log that information?
  • Who is authorised to take that booking and who isn’t?

Thinking about this now will save you time and money further down the line, and potentially save you from unhappy customers if it wasn’t clear to them when they booked.

Also put this information on your website Christmas page, so it’s clear and easy to understand. 

And that’s it!

Once these basics are covered, you can look at running Facebook ads or Google ads to further promote your menu and increase bookings.

As always, if you’d like to know more about how Raising The Bar can help promote your business online, get in touch at ed@raisingthebargroup.com

Merry Christmas!