The frosty air holds renewed optimism this holiday season. Employers are ready to acknowledge everyone’s hard work with annual end-of-year parties. So, what’s trending in celebrating? As reservations come in, it’s beginning to look a lot like a mix of in-person, virtual and outdoor holiday gatherings.
Decision One: In-Person or Virtual?
A company’s existing work protocol will likely signal how that team celebrates. For those back at the office, meeting up inside a restaurant won’t feel like a big stretch. Remote workplaces will likely opt into virtual meetups. As companies decide, restaurants have ways to stay nimble to accommodate.
Now Trending: Smaller, Safer In-Person Celebrations
Cue the twinkling lights and holiday carols. Restaurant bookings are up. Private rooms are being reserved early. And establishments that invested in beefing up patios with enclosures and heaters continue to see that as a popular option.
As HR folks lean toward smaller group parties, consider buffet lines and punch bowls sidelined. This year, presenting food individually offers peace of mind. Think hors d’oeuvres with domed cloches and samplings in bento boxes. Mason jars will circulate too. And nothings say “hands-off” like that perennial favorite, the toothpick. Think about what can be prepped in a small shot glass or wine glass. Mousse? Cheesecake bites? How about mini burgers wrapped in their own tiny boxes? Or seafood on a real oyster shell? Huddle with the chef and sort out what you can do to make everyone feel safe for the jingle mingling.
Virtual Parties Theme Up
Party planners are asking themselves how to make virtual parties personal and merry. Many are turning to platforms like Welcome, which makes a virtual event feel like an interactive TV show as folks go on stage to address the crowd or network in breakout rooms. Adding experiential layers is also in vogue. We’ll see virtual dance parties with DJs getting folks moving, virtual tastings of everything from chocolate truffles to wine, decorating contests for gingerbread houses and white elephant parties with gifts shipped to attendees beforehand.
Creative Holiday Brainstorming
Some folks may be a little confused about what to do. Be ready to invent new solutions for in-person and virtual gatherings of every size. Can you open your kitchen for a cooking lesson to a smaller group? If your specialty is breakfast, can you suggest a virtual flannel pajama party with your take-out delivered to everyone’s doorsteps? Or what about a bonfire with blankets and food delivered to guests’ laps?
Another Takeaway – Carry-Out Feasts
Many restaurants are banking on take-out. Heat-and-serve menus for everything from Thanksgiving to Christmas and New Year’s Eve will be popular like they were last year. New conveniences like OpenTable’s Delivery and Takeout tab make it easy to bring home turkey with all the fixings. Use social media to remind your customers that they can host gatherings for those near and dear with your specialties of the house.
Relying on Your Support System
The partners who help your restaurant throughout the year know things are still different this year. It’s a good time to lean into friends who support you to help you pull off ways to make the most of your holiday profits. And while 2021 is winding down, it’s never too early to think about bright possibilities ahead and better health for all in 2022. In the meantime, here’s to gathering and celebrating the magic of the season.
Southern Patios Enclosures supports restaurants all over the country with custom solutions of the highest quality. Let us know how our experts can help you maximize profits with new ideas and long-lasting, affordable, commercial-grade products.