Eating out safely together as a family will be one of the first things people do as they seek the comfort and nostalgia of life before lockdown. Here's some tips on how to make these customers feel welcome
How to attract more families to your venue at Christmas
Activities for the table
Keeping children entertained while out for a meal can be a challenge for parents. So, to make their lives easier (and score brownie points!), think about what easy activities you could engage the children in that don’t involve screens!
Festive colouring-in is a simple one. Download and print ready-made pages, provide pens or crayons and offer them out when families arrive. On your kids’ Christmas menu, add fun riddles or puzzles such as spot the difference to keep the children entertained while they wait for their food.
Consider putting together a special pack for young diners who visit your venue as part of a pre-booking. Include items such as a wooden puzzle or mini jigsaw, a small pot of Play-Doh, colouring pages or activity sheets and crayons and an I-spy game. Make sure all the activities you include are sedentary to keep children at the table! Use social media and traditional advertising to let customers know that all your festive pre-bookings for children include a fun play pack to encourage sign-ups. Though this type of activity doesn’t need to be expensive, it will add value to the family experience and you’ll be remembered for future occasions.
To increase footfall at quieter times such as weekday afternoons, host Christmas craft sessions at your venue. A Christmas cracker workshop is ideal, giving the kids the opportunity to get creative, writing their own jokes and picking trinkets for each family member.
The materials are great value and will cost just pennies per child and the real benefit to your business is the incremental sales you will achieve while they are crafting at your venue. Make sure children are always supervised with the cracker snaps. Here is what’s needed and instructions.
Ask a ‘crafty’ member of staff to run the sessions and charge a set fee per child. This price could include the craft supplies and instructions, a mince pie for the parent and soft drink for the little one. Customers can then upgrade during their session with tempting dishes from your festive food and drink menu. Always keep some extra craft bits handy in case parents want to buy extra.
Put on a festive fair
Do you have the space indoors or outside to consider hosting a Christmas craft and/or food market with a special appearance from Father Christmas himself? This family-friendly event is sure to attract customers new and
old and could be great marketing for future business during the new year when trade quietens down after the busy seasonal period.
Charge local businesses a fee for a stall or table, and potentially take a percentage of their sales on the day.
For customers attending, you can
charge a nominal fee for entry with discounted or free entry for kids.
Consider running a children’s competition for the best decorated bauble. Charge £1 to enter with 50p going to charity and the rest to cover the bauble and materials. The children get to put their bauble on your official Christmas tree and the winner receives a free family meal at your venue and a small gift from Father Christmas.