How restaurants can adapt to COVID-19 holiday dining

Who could’ve guessed we’d get to the point where it would be dangerous to gather with family and friends during the holiday season? With all of life’s usual traditions tossed up in the air by 2020, some families might opt out of large family gatherings in exchange for smaller meals. In this caser, restaurants might stand to gain. Those that have something extra to offer their customers this year might just come out ahead.

To serve their customers and bring some joy to the holiday season in an otherwise challenging year, restaurants can take the following steps.

Embrace takeaway options

Many families may choose to skip the big holiday meals in favour of takeaway dinners. Especially for those unable to visit with family and friends this season, ordering in and chatting through Zoom provides a decent—albeit imperfect—alternative to usual holiday gatherings.

So, consider ways you can improve your takeaway options. For example, if your business only offers kerbside pickup, consider offering delivery services for the holiday season. You should also make sure your customers know that you have takeaway options by advertising your menu, hours of operation, and services well.  Start by updating your website or social platforms to get the word out.

Consider take-and-bake options

Besides traditional takeaway, have you ever offered a take-and-bake option to your customers? For some families, gathering around a home-cooked meal isn’t possible this year. Maybe one relative or another has all the good recipes or holds all the magical cooking touches. Whatever the case may be, the possibility of picking up a pre-packaged or pre-assembled meal to be cooked and completed at their leisure can certainly be enticing for many customers.

Prepare for smaller portions

If your customers choose to entertain this holiday season, you can bet it will be a much more subdued affair. Retail businesses have begun stocking smaller turkeys to support smaller gatherings. Many restaurants are following suit by breaking tradition and offering smaller celebrations of the holiday. Keep this in mind when planning for holiday meals, whether with menus, food prep, or staffing. 

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