Seasonal cocktail programs are an excellent addition to any core cocktail program. They should up sell the core program, garner greater profits and offer seasonally craveable flavors. The holiday season is the perfect time to implement a solid, easy-to-execute seasonal cocktail program to increase fourth quarter sales.
Since so many of your guests and local businesses are celebrating already, a seasonal promotion is a natural fit. Allow yourself enough time to implement a strong holiday program. For best results, we suggest a seven-week program and promotion, beginning in November and running through December. You can promote gift cards sales, offer free in-house gift wrapping, holiday party bookings and chances to win local shopping sprees.
Cocktails don’t all have to be warm coffee drinks either, although it’s a good idea to feature one or two. Seasonal features can include Margaritas (Winter Berry Margarita), Mojitos (Blackberry), Sangria (Apple Cider) and Martinis (Chocolate is always a favorite). Trendier offerings could include mulled wine, Champagne cocktails and ciders or flavors like fig, cranberry and bacon. Think of nostalgic flavors with a fun or creative twist.
Employees play an important role in the success of the program, so it’s important to get them behind it with an incentive contest or a special holiday decorating party. Include decorating a Christmas tree featuring personalized holiday ornaments from each employee. You can also hang employee stockings and fill them with a holiday bonus or have a stocking hung in the back of the house that the server with the highest sales each day wins. Prizes should vary so there is always excitement (gift cards, free shift meals, small gadgets and electronics).
Charitable giving is always in season, but more so during the holidays. Hosting a toy drive is a great way to give back without negatively impacting your bottom line. Set up a gift-wrapped box near the entrance with signage inviting guests to bring a gift in exchange for a complimentary appetizer. Or have customers bring in non-perishable food for the local food bank. If you are located near a mall offer free gift wrapping for your customers while they dine.
Holidays are the perfect time to promote sales of gift cards. As customers sit down they could be presented with an oversized coaster that looks similar to a Christmas tree ornament. Another way to promote gift card sales is by using a festive guest check insert such as a stocking inviting guests to add the purchase of a gift card onto their bill. And give your staff incentives like weekly prizes to keep them motivated.