It’s no secret that Christmas starts early for hospitality venues. If you’re a bit stuck with getting a festive menu sorted, we’ve put together a few tips for a top-notch holiday offering.
It was good to see that dining-in occasions at on-premise venues increased to 74% in the 12 weeks ending 3rd October 2021. This trend looks set to continue over the Christmas period, with 75% of customers saying they plan to visit the on-trade during this time*!
Many customers have also said that COVID-19 has made them want to embrace the moment even more. As the experience matters just as much as what’s on the plate or in the glass, your menu should play a key role in shaping the occasion. In this article, we’re taking a look at how consumer habits might be a bit different this holiday season and how you can use these insights to get the best value from your festive offering.
Engineering your menu for Christmas
We all know how the design and layout of a menu plays a role in persuading customers towards making certain decisions. Backed by science and countless hours of research, the psychology of menu engineering covers a range of aspects from positioning, colour theory, wording, controlled costing and more.
For details on optimising your menu, check out these articles that have some great and easy to follow tips:
Customers visiting the on-trade this Christmas will be seeking treats they can’t easily get at home. Draw attention to those festive serves on your menu to maximise on this opportunity and increase your profit margins.
Consumer Christmas Habits 2021
Of those who plan to go out over Christmas, 53% are planning to go out as often or more often than in 2019. Once again, the on-trade will be driven by young customers – a third of 18-34-year-olds plan to go out weekly in December*.
We’re seeing some of the trends predicted at the end of last year playing out now, such as a rise in digital ordering. Table service and phone-based apps have seen a huge rise in popularity over the last year. Digitalising your menu can also showcase your full range, encourage trade-up and allow people to order at their own pace.
And again, people are seeking experiences they can’t get at home. Basics such as quality, atmosphere and presentation are playing an increasingly more important role in people’s venue choices.
Christmas Menu Staples
Not sure what to feature on your Christmas menu? We’ve picked some of our favourites that will be a perfect fit for the Christmas consumer of 2021.
- Christmas is the busiest time of year for hospitality, with cocktails surging in popularity over the period. Keep the drinks flowing with Smirnoff’s on-tap Passion Fruit Martini and Espresso Martini cocktails that are sure to grab customers’ attention and deliver a drinking experience they can’t get at home.
- For gin-lovers who are looking for something a little different, Beefeater’s range of flavoured gins such as Peach & Raspberry or Blood Orange are sure to delight. They work perfectly for some festive gin and tonics or some creative, festive cocktails.
- You can’t go wrong with the classics. Jameson’s Irish whiskey is synonymous with the festive season and their newly released Jameson’s Orange flavoured whiskey is perfect for capturing those who are new to the category or are seeking a new flavour experience!
- This year, we’re expecting smaller groups but higher spend as customers are looking to treat themselves. Draw attention to those premium wines on your menu to encourage a bigger spend. Da Luca’s range of wines will bring a taste of Sicily to any festive occasion. We’re fans of the richly flavoured Pinot Grigio or their bold and bright Nero d’Avola.
- For those who may be looking to spend a little less, but still want that quality taste, Footsteps have a range of wines from all over the globe, from a French Merlot to a Western Cape Chenin Blanc – there’s something for everyone!
Beers and Ciders
- Thinking of those customers who are looking for a treat this Christmas, Menabrea is the perfect premium beer to include on your menu.
- We’re seeing more and more customers practicing mindful drinking, opting for low and no alcohol option. Entice the non-drinkers in with Birra Moretti Zero, full of the rich flavour of this classic Italian lager, minus the alcohol.
- Apple cider still reigns supreme, accounting for the majority of cider sales. What's more, it's growing with premium brands such as Orchard Pig. Their core range of ciders are real crowd-pleasers and offer something for everyone, like the always popular 'Reveller.'
We’re looking forward to seeing another busy and successful Christmas for the hospitality sector this year. Your menu is your best communication tool to showcase your offering, so be sure to spend time getting it right. Pair this with an amazing experience for customers and you’ll be onto a winner!
*PROOF Insight Analysis & POURTRAITS Panel