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The holidays are a notoriously busy time for the restaurant industry. For most of us, it’s all hands on deck from around Thanksgiving until after New Year’s Day.

But the holidays aren’t just busy for us. They are busy for our customers too. The average American consumer is spending more time shopping, traveling, and visiting friends and family. They are saddled with long to-do lists and extra obligations, not to mention juggling all of their normal responsibilities at work and at home.

Whether they are short on time or burnt out from dealing with cold weather and crowds, many customers turn to their smartphones for takeout and delivery. So while you are preparing for the holiday rush inside of your restaurant, don’t forget about those who are looking to enjoy a quick, easy, and delicious meal at home.

Here’s how you can increase your revenue by maximizing your takeout this holiday season and beyond.

Streamline your takeout menu

Offering a streamlined takeout menu can be good for both you and your customers. First, some items just don’t travel well. Skip the heavily fried foods like fish and chips. They might taste great fresh from the fryer, but they quickly grow soggy and cold in a container. Just because you’re streamlining your menu doesn’t mean you need to cut your best sellers, but when planning a takeout menu focus on things that travel well–pizzas, gourmet flatbreads, sandwiches, chicken wings, and cheeseburgers.

Streamlining your takeout menu can also help workflow in your back of house. Offering items that are easy to prepare and package can keep your kitchen running smoothly and efficiently, even during the busiest of holiday rushes. Also, fewer takeout items should allow your back of house to do more prep work, making churning out orders easier, allowing you to provide high-quality customer service to all of your guests, whether they are dining in person or at home.

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Of course, this means designing a new menu. Even if you are technologically savvy and have an eye for graphic design, creating a new menu can be a lot of work, especially when you have a business to run. Luckily, you can find professional, visually-appealing, and free menu templates online from services like MustHaveMenus.

Offer holiday-inspired dishes

Customers looking for takeout and delivery have more options than ever. They can peruse menus, review sites, and social media accounts, directly comparing your business to your competitors. So before you can get them excited about your takeout this winter, you need festive appetizers, entrees, and desserts that stand out from the crowd.

There are many ways to incorporate the season into your dishes. You can offer traditional Thanksgiving fare. Green bean casserole and mashed potatoes with gravy are perfect for long winter evenings. Or you could put a seasonal twist on a crowd favorite, whipping up a turkey and stuffing burger. For Christmas classics, think scalloped potatoes, baked brie, and prime rib.

If heavy comfort food isn’t your restaurant’s thing, dishes that incorporate fresh and local ingredients are another way to get customers excited. Fall and winter produce like apples, brussel sprouts, pumpkins, and squash are sure to keep your dishes flavorful and also profitable. Not only are fresh and local ingredients produced in your area better for your customer, savings on transportation costs can also make them better for your bottom line.

There are scores of holiday twists you can put on your dishes. Find some that work for your brand and promote them online via your website and social media, where your takeout and delivery customers are sure to find them.

Use website ordering

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Customers expect convenience. If you want them to choose your takeout over a competitor’s, you need to make it as easy as possible for them to order from you.

The easiest way for your customers to order takeout is through your website. Gone are the days when you had to call a restaurant, wait on hold, and carefully explain your order to a server who can’t hear you over the din of a busy dinner rush. Online ordering allows them to peruse your digital menu, option their food, and pay via a card or digital wallet, making it the fastest and easiest option.

Website ordering is also great for your business. Your front of house staff doesn’t need to answer a phone, takedown orders, and punch them into your POS system. Your website can automate all of that, allowing your servers, hosts, and expos to focus on providing the best experience for your dine-in guests.

There are a lot of software options for online ordering, many of which can be directly incorporated into your back-of-house technology. Most third-party online ordering services take a small percentage of your sales, but there are some free options. Also, your current POS might come with online ordering capabilities. With a bit of research, you can turn your website into an order processing machine.

Finally, make sure you are promoting your website’s online ordering capabilities. Customers have gotten so used to delivery apps like GrubHub, Uber Eats, and Postmates that sometimes they order takeout there too. These sites are great for delivery, but they charge service fees for every transaction, even for pickup. So make sure your customers know they can order through your website, and you can avoid the unnecessary fees.

Offer takeout only specials

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Another way to boost your takeout sales this holiday season is to incentivize it with takeout only specials. Your specials could take a variety of forms, allowing you to increase the likelihood of customers ordering your takeout and using your website to do it.

You could incentivize takeout to boost revenue on those slower days of the week, like Mondays and Tuesdays, by offering a certain percentage off of each online order through your website. Or you could offer a free appetizer or free dessert with each online order. These appetizers and desserts can be high-margin, pre-made items like soups, salads, or slices of chocolate cake, making it a good deal for your customers, your staff, and your business.

Also, catering options and specials can be very popular during the holidays. If you offer a set catering menu for various sized parties, your customers don’t have to take individual orders from each of their friends and family members. Instead, they tell you the size of their party and you do the rest, whipping up an entire meal, complete with an array of crowd-pleasing appetizers, entrees, and desserts.

A small catering menu also allows your kitchen to do a lot of the prep work before hand, making it easy for them to churn out larger meals for the whole family while staying on top of the orders from the dining room, making it a win-win for both your customers and your business.

Promote your takeout!

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Finally, if you want to deck the halls with your takeout orders this holiday season, you need to promote your takeout in your restaurant and on social media.

You can promote in your restaurant with posters, flyers, table tents, menu inserts, and more. Consider posting a QR code on your table tents and flyers that link your customers directly to your online ordering platform, so they can bookmark it and save it for later. Also, if you are running any specials, make sure to include that in your in-store marketing materials.

Of course, you’ll want to market your holiday takeout far and wide across social media. Post all of those mouthwatering photos of your food in takeout boxes and your catering options. You can incentivize user-generated content by offering discounts or freebies to anyone who posts about your takeout on their account. Don’t forget to post a link right to your online ordering in your social media bio, making it as easy as possible for your customers to order your delicious food.

As far as social media goes, the general rule of thumb is three posts per week. If you are wanting to boost your takeout over the holidays, consider at least two takeout-oriented posts per week. This will keep your restaurant and its takeout on your customers’ minds, but it won’t annoy them with constant reminders from your brand.

As you know, social media is more important than ever. If three posts a week or 150 posts per year sounds like a lot, that’s because it can be, especially for the busy restaurateur. If it’s hard for you to make the time to brainstorm, draft, and post new content, you can find free social media templates online (MustHaveMenus has a post for every occasion!) to help. These templates are professionally-designed to get attention and promote your brand, and they are easy to customize and share.

Spread the holiday cheer

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This holiday season, don’t forget that it’s all about your customers. As a restaurant owner, you have the opportunity to bring friends and family together to break bread. Make it as easy and rewarding for them as possible, and they will think of you and your business long after the holiday season.