Home for the holidays? That’s a fact for many Canadians who are still grounded by COVID-19. But that doesn’t mean celebrating the festive season has to be a bust – for your guests or you.
Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, and New Year’s are just around the corner, and many guests are already preparing for Zoom and other virtual holiday get-togethers. Even though many restaurants are closed or limited for eat-in business because of the pandemic, you can still offer special holiday and seasonal menus to capture some of those holiday dining dollars. Think festive takeout and meal kits to help your guests ring in the season.
- Tip: Do something seasonal with your takeout packaging. Use splashes of colour, add festive messaging on packages, wrap with bows or even tie with balloons. Christmas crackers and New Year’s hats can help turn takeout into memorable experiences.
Ramp up your meal kit service
Some of your guests will want to replicate the experience of creating that special holiday meal, whether they’re eating with close family or Zooming with a crowd of fellow diners. You can provide the inspiration, the ingredients, and the packaging while letting your guests feel they’re the chefs.
- Tip: Pre-prep your packaging and simple step-by-step instructions for a select group of holiday meals so you’re ready.
Offer “fancy” meals to go
While most restaurants with takeout and delivery are offering pared down, simple versions of their menus, there’s a niche for operators who also want to feature a gourmet menu for special occasions like the winter holidays. “Fancy” food still has a place with guests celebrating the season who don’t want the same old, same old menu items. For a higher price point you can feature a stylish, one-off menu, along with a good wine, that replicates a fine dining experience. Bon appétit!
- Tip: Ramp up your Instagram photography to show diners the fancy dishes that are just a click away.
Don’t forget cocktail kits
Now that many restaurants can add alcohol to takeout and delivery food orders, why not do something fun, like creating cocktail kits? In many areas, operators are not permitted to sell actual cocktails for delivery, but there is no law against sending deconstructed versions of your guests’ favourites. For instance, a Mexican restaurant could include the ingredients for a mojito – sealed bottles of rum, lime juice, soda water, sugar and mint. One bar in Toronto, Project Gigglewater, used Instagram to advertise cocktail kits ready for delivery with such names as “Keep Calm & Quarantine” and “Toilet Paper Greens.”
- Tip: Consider creating winter holiday-themed cocktail kits. Eggnog, anyone?
About the Author
Jane Auster is the editor of ChefConnexion.com. She has been a foodservice writer and editor for more than 30 years. Jane was the editor of Your Foodservice Manager, a national magazine for professionals in the foodservice and hospitality industry in Canada, and FoodBiz.ca digital site. She was also editorial consultant and managing editor for the relaunch of Flavours magazine.