Coca Cola _ June 2019

A Lasting Impression

With the festive season upon us, it’s time to start preparing for the flurry of customers walking through your door. Getting your establishment ready for Christmas isn’t just about putting up the tree and hanging the decorations. Customers expect a clean, friendly and welcoming environment. Anything less will create a negative first impression with damaging consequences.

Presentation is key

Take the opportunity to dazzle your customers so they return in the new year, and maybe even rebook for next Christmas! Everything from the curtains and carpets to your barware and cutlery should be cleaned and polished. Your table settings and linen should be clean and changed between sittings. Plates, glasses and cutlery should be sparkling and chip free. Bathrooms should be kept clean and tidy – change the hand towel between sittings and check there is plenty of toilet roll too. According to research by Big Hospitality 94% of customers would not return to a restaurant if its bathrooms had poor hygiene levels.

Go crackers!

Regardless of whether your decorations are over the top and lavish, or stylish and subtle, one thing customers still love – and expect – when they are enjoying a festive or Christmas Day menu are Christmas crackers! A British tradition since the 1800s, this novelty (and fun!) decoration is a table necessity. Why not customise them for your party? Children’s crackers come in a whole range of designs, so choose those containing a game inside. For adults, ‘party’ crackers are fun as you can opt to fill them with gifts such as shot glasses, perfume or bottle openers.

Essential training

Staff are crucial in creating a positive lasting impression of your business, so make sure they are all fully trained and briefed before every shift. Customers want to be greeted with a warm smile and cheery welcome upon arrival. Smart and clean clothing or uniform is essential. It is important that staff exceed expectations at this very busy time. Therefore, clean and clear tables quickly, and if any tables which they aren’t serving need clearing too, they should inform the correct person, take them away themselves (if they have time), or reassure the customers that someone will be over soon – don’t just walk past and ignore them. Also, if any customers have a question or request and it’s not your serving table or you don’t know the answer, be polite and tell them someone will help them soon, and go get help.

Extra touches

Subtle, extra touches will make for a lasting memory once the turkey has been polished off. Seasonal winter flowers – bunches of ivy for example – make beautiful, tasteful decorations. Putting a small basket of complimentary toiletries in your bathrooms so people can freshen up will earn you extra brownie points – or go the extra mile and put hair straighteners in there too! Vacuum the floors between sittings to tidy up any food spillages before your next set of guests arrive, and why not hand out selection boxes to children who have booked the festive menu, or give them a festive colouring book and crayons?

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