This time of year everybody’s thinking about how to hire restaurant staff in time to be ready for the holiday season. While you are getting your hiring program in gear, there other steps to take now to satisfy holiday demand spikes.

Encourage early bookings

Market your special services early, and provide incentives to clients to get their orders in as soon as possible. Tell everybody that you are ready to take early orders and will offer coupons with serious discounts for comfortably early bookings. If your catering program racks up extra reservations, you have time to staff properly.

Earlier catering orders from your customers will allow strategic moves such as staffing additions, schedule changes and supply sourcing.

Promote early using the social media tools that your community prefers. (Thinking of expanding into another social platform? Do that early, too!) Mention that you offer 10% off on early reservations for holiday party catering on your printed menus and add the pitch to your recorded phone messages, too.

Use annual trends to plan ahead

Yes, you must hire enough people and give them enough time to learn your systems. When restaurant guests wait for long stretches to place an order because you provide only one waiter on a shopping weekend, there’s a possibility that they’ll never come return to your establishment. Understaffed restaurants do significant damage to their brands.

Having those year to year records to compare makes your judgment call much easier. If you know from annual trends that you will need a certain level of help for the holiday season, you can line up quality seasonal staff by starting outreach early.

Understaffed restaurants do significant damage to their brands.

If you have been in business for under a year, or have been open at a particular location for less than a year, be bold and invest in generous holiday season customer service. You can cut back next year, but you may not be able to make up for the diminished reputation that a bad holiday experience can engender.

Start hiring earlier rather than later

Now that you’ve started planning for the holiday season, you should have a better idea of how much additional staff you’ll need and when you’ll need it, so don’t wait until the last minute to actually get the word out.

Also, decide what channels you’ll be using to hire. Online hiring platforms, like Sirvo, are great because they’re easy to use and can increase your reach to potential candidates. Not to mention, having a talent library to search through can help you, the employer, be proactive during the process.

Prevent your staff from getting in the weeds

During heavy demand, your staff will walk a tightrope, having to balance providing great service with turning tables quickly. Conflicting impulses and tired shoppers can create stress and alienation among your servers.

For exceptionally busy times, consider offering a shorter holiday menu to make decisions easier

You can help prevent holiday burnout and even address slowed service during a rush with just a few suggestions to your staff. For example, encourage servers to make compelling verbal suggestions when or even before a menu is presented. For exceptionally busy times, consider offering a shorter holiday menu to make decisions easier.

Keep the kitchen stocked

Running out of advertised dishes is never the mark of a solid restaurant operation, but it is much worse at the time of special splurges and meaningful holiday meals.

Keep a healthy inventory, and don’t run out of your signature dishes. Ordering what you need for increased demand will instill confidence and show that you take the season seriously.

Your employees want to make a good living in a good restaurant. Providing them what they need to keep your holiday diners smiling will help everybody win.

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