Planning ahead for the new year is critical to maximising the sales opportunities presented by key events on the calendar.
Many people in Scotland and around the world hold a Burns supper to celebrate the life of Robert Burns. Next year, it falls on a Saturday.
What to do
• Offer a three-course meal complete with Scotch broth or smoked salmon to start, haggis served with neeps and tatties as the main dish, followed by the traditional dessert cranachan.
• Stock up on whisky! Malts or blended will do, and how about offering a whisky or wine pairing with each course? Laphraoig 10-year-old whisky is perfect to accompany dessert.
• Toasts and readings such as Selkirk Grace, the Address to a Haggis and Toast to the Haggis are an essential part of the supper.
• Dress staff in traditional attire for the evening and encourage guests to do the same. Men tend to wear kilts but a tartan bow tie and Cummerband is acceptable. Ladies wear a full length fluted tartan skirt with matching tartan. A tartan sash or wrap over a dress is fine too.
• A piper welcoming guests is the formal procedure for a Burns supper, or you could play traditional music instead.
• For those who can’t make the evening, why not have haggis as a special on your Friday evening and Saturday lunchtime menu? You could even have a piper playing to make it extra special.
Chinese New Year
Chinese is one of the nation’s favourite cuisines. With the celebrations falling on a Saturday next year, this is the perfect opportunity to make a weekend out of the event.
What to do
• Having a Chinese option on your menu will lure customers away from a takeaway.
• Offer an early bird menu, 2FOR1 or an all you can eat buffet to attract customers.
• Host a Chinese night, complete with food, decorations (red is the customary colour of Chinese New Year, along with gold or vibrant colours) and even a fireworks display to really welcome in the Chinese New Year.
• Cater for all tastes by serving a mixture of dishes. Simple dishes like sweet and sour chicken and chow mein are popular choices, dim sum are delicious and more adventurous, stir-fries are quick and easy and a healthier option, and Cantonese-style roast duck is a firm favourite.
• Stock up on Tiger and Tsingtao Beer for those who drink alcohol, and for those who don’t, tea is a must! The traditional options are Pu-Erh (black tea), Chrysanthemum tea, green tea and Oolong.
• Offer doggie bags. Not only will it help to reduce your waste it will impress your customers.
A major opportunity for every venue. The romantic event falls on a Friday, so why not make a weekend out of it?
What to do
• Create a special two or three course Valentine’s menu for Friday and Saturday evening.
• Have a lunchtime menu offer on the day itself and Saturday too.
• An early-evening ‘quick dining’ menu will appeal to those couples short on time.
• For smaller venues, little touches like heart-shaped cut sandwiches or love hearts on your coffee froth will help spread the love.
• Host a singles night. They too want to celebrate with friends, or hopefully find love!
• Stock up on Prosecco!
• Offer wine by the glass, bottle and half bottle.
• Serve special cocktails and mocktails for the occasion – visit takestockmagazine.com/recipe/categories/cocktails
• Complimentary gifts like flowers, chocolate or a glass of bubbly will impress the customer and leave a lasting memory. It will also encourage a future visit.
• Keep your regular menu alongside the special one, so customers can choose and don’t feel like they are being charged extra for the event.