by Gemma Benford

12 tips for a Christmas done differently in hospitality

12 tips for a Christmas done differently in hospitality

Make my wish come true, all I want for Christmas……is a crystal ball!

Will consumers feel confident to venture out and celebrate, will the R number be back to a more manageable level, what about a full lockdown; is that on the cards? Upon writing this, groups of no more than six can meet and in some parts of the country this is limited to single households only. It’s an ever changing picture and one that could make or break the festive season.

These unknown factors make planning for Christmas a tricky task, particularly for the hospitality sector who would normally be gearing up for the biggest season of the year and are potentially having to deal with a combination of different rules across their sites. To give us a glimpse of what the future may hold, last month we spoke to consumers about their intentions for Christmas – and it’s fair to say they’re planning to take a cautious approach:

  • Over 60% of consumers told us they hadn’t started planning yet
  • 31% plan to make Christmas smaller than last year
  • But encouragingly 1 in 5 told us they were planning to spend more… it’s not all doom and gloom. (Bidfood Research Sept 2020)

To try to make life a little easier for you, we’ve put together 12 tips with areas you will undoubtedly be already considering, to help you take a different approach to Christmas this year.

  1. Rethink your model

If your business relies on Christmas parties or festive bookings, you might need to adapt your model. If your customers are not coming to you, now is the time to think about how you can go to them! 27% of consumers told us they were interested in Christmas hampers and take-away.

  1. Review your target market

With the question mark over consumer confidence and spending, this year might mean you need to attract a different consumer demographic or reach your regular customers in a different way. Review whether you need to change your offer slightly as a result.

  1. Review your marketing strategy

Christmas planning has undoubtedly started later this year and simply advertising your Christmas menus might not be enough to entice customers in – priorities have changed. In fact, although important, our survey revealed that excellent quality food and beverage is way down at number 3 on the list. What’s number 1? Feeling safe in the venue of course, with appropriate social distancing in at number 2.

  1. Re-think your menu options

The challenge for many will be offering an appealing festive menu whilst running on smaller staff and keeping a close eye on cash flow. There is also a question mark over manufacturer availability. We recommend taking a simplified approach to offering the full quality Christmas experience by focussing on key products, stocking up on contingency products, keeping things simple and sweating your assets.

  1. Serve your menu differently

The classic Christmas buffet will have to be on hold this year, but your customers don’t have to miss out on the tasty buffet food that makes Christmas – consider individual plates instead.  Review whether you can make your take-away menu more festive or offer a Christmas hamper complete with all the trimmings for customers to cook off at home. Find out more ways to do the Christmas buffet differently here. 

  1. Don’t forget the drinks

Make the most of every incremental sales opportunity with your festive drinks menu – for drinks in or drinks to take-away. Whether you’re looking for single serve options, cocktails or mocktails, we have a brilliant range of alcohol through Unity

  1. Maximise your use of technology

Ordering apps and QR codes are playing a vital role in the perception of safety. Over 60% of consumers we surveyed want to be able to place their Christmas orders via an app. Shout loud and clear about your seamless Christmas booking experience to reassure your customers that you’ve got it covered and they are in safe hands.

  1. Get creative with your space

Apparently John Lewis saw an 82% increase in demand for outdoor heaters this September versus last year as the nation braces itself for a chilly winter outdoors*. It’s been brilliant to see businesses adapt their outdoor space with retail stalls in pub gardens, drive-in cinemas in hotels and pop up bars appearing throughout the UK. Can you create a cosy winter grotto with heaters and fairy lights to create a Christmas atmosphere? You could launch a festive menu too with BBQ fayre and mulled wine – as long as seated service and maximum tables of six are adhered to.

  1. Tokens of kindness

It’s often the little touches that leave a lasting memory and businesses that do good will be those that get noticed. We have seen so much kindness this year, try and think about ways your business can give back to your local community or charity of your choice this Christmas.

  1. Make Christmas special for your staff

Your staff are what make your business, so make sure you thank them for all of their efforts during the last few difficult months. A small token of appreciation will go a long way!

  1. Have a plan B

No-one can predict exactly what will happen this Christmas so it makes sense to have a back-up plan you can fall back on should you need to. Be prepared to simplify your Christmas menus; buy from core ranges where possible and scope alternative products so you can switch quickly if you need to.

  1. Take a look at our Christmas range

We are proud to offer you a fantastic Christmas range this year with innovative new products and trusty favourites to help you keep menus simple and efficient. Whatever Christmas throws at the hospitality sector this year, we are ready to support our customers with the products, support and expertise to do Christmas differently!

No one knows your business like you do but we are here by your side to help you plan for the challenges this Christmas brings. You can find out more about the support we are able to offer in our 12 tips guide here:

You can find our full Christmas range here:

If you are thinking about becoming a customer, we’d love to hear from you. Get in touch at

*The Guardian Sept 2020


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