Customers won’t want to miss out on treating themselves this festive season… Especially since this is the nation’s first Christmas without any restrictions since 2019!
Undeniably, the hospitality sector has been no stranger to challenges over the last couple of years, however, we have every reason to believe that this year can help mitigate some of that. Consumers still crave experience with a real focus on ‘treat’ occasions in the On-Premise continuing to drive sales and purchasing behaviour, according to the CGA. Not to mention, there is the added promise of footfall to village, town, and city centres thanks to the ongoing FIFA World Cup making its way into mid-December.
With that being said, our intention is to fill you and your staff with unwavering hope as the holidays fast approach by suggesting (and reminding you) that you don’t need to go to such great, expansive lengths to prepare your venue for Christmas 2022. Customers are happy to indulge in the simple pleasures having been denied them for so long…so go back to basics! It’s easy to get wrapped up in the need to build, expand, do more, and work harder, but really, there is no need to.
Let’s explore a variety of ways you can maximise what your venue already has to the greatest effect this December. From your Christmas menu to staff ‘refresher’ training to festive food and wine pairings, there are a multitude of ways you can bring simple pleasures to life this Christmas for your customers & provide them with both the comfort and memorable experiences they crave.
The power of your menu
Christmas provides you and your staff the perfect opportunity to expand your wine offerings and diversify your by the glass list. After all, a well-crafted wine menu can set the tone for a festive evening and help create an unforgettable experience.
One of the most important things to consider when creating your wine menu is the manner in which you intend to serve; how many options will you offer by the glass, for example? Not only will this massively help determine how you lay out your menu, but it will also be the key to your success during the holiday season!
Pop-out with something special
Rather than speak about the traditional wine menu and its layout, what about thinking about a totally new format? The festive season gives you the perfect excuse to deliver a new ‘mini’ festive menu filled with limited-time wine offers, cocktails, and beyond. Producing a high-quality card you can hand guests, for instance, allows them to know this is something truly special and doesn’t impact your regular menu.
Another thing to consider when designing your holiday wine menu is price point. With a real emphasis on saving money this Christmas, it’s important to offer affordable options. However, that doesn’t mean that all of your wines need to be budget-friendly. It’s always good to have premium wines on hand for those who want something special. Serving by the glass helps relieve some of the financial pressures, meaning your guests don’t have to spend a fortune but can still indulge and enjoy themselves.
Festive [wine] cocktails
When it comes to seasonal drinks, don’t forget about the beloved wine cocktails! Regardless of your selection, Christmassy wine concoctions are sure to get your guests in the mood for the holidays. Looking for inspiration? We will be featuring some holiday-themed wine cocktails on our social pages here and here – take a look and get mixing!
Sparkling wine & Champagne
Finally, don’t forget about the Champagne (and sparkling wine)! Always a popular choice at Christmas, make sure you have a variety of options available by the glass. From dry to sweet, there’s something for everyone to love! It really is the season of that magical pop. Go beyond Brut by the glass this year; why not introduce a rosé or even a vintage for something really special for guests to indulge in as they celebrate!
Whatever choices you make, be sure to design your wine list with care and excitement, and remember to enjoy the process! Draw attention to those festive serves on your menu – or on your specials board – to maximise this profitable opportunity and delight your eager guests.
Providing your guests with a memorable experience this December leans heavily on your amazing team. And part of providing a ‘great’ service means ensuring that your staff are equipped with enough knowledge and confidence to promote your wine service.
A good way to provide refresher training for your staff this festive season is to hold an in-house workshop where you rejuvenate and replenish their wine knowledge, serving by the glass etiquette and know-how, wine preservation, as well as the importance of caring for your wines.
Sometimes all it takes is a gentle reminder about wine pairings, or simple descriptors for the wines on your list, and a quick [re]demonstration of how to properly preserve and store your wines to lock in ultimate freshness – and satisfaction! Reviewing, and in some cases, updating, your preservation policy is crucial at any point of the year, but especially so during a very busy holiday period.
Also, what better place to host this than your very own venue? Well-equipped with everything you need to teach [or reteach] your staff about wine service & preservation, it offers great opportunities to taste different wines, learn about their flavours & characteristics, as well as allowing staff to become comfortable with the preservation methods & equipment in use.
Impress your guests with some delicious food and wine pairings this Christmas. C’mon, did you really think we were going to write a festive blog and not mention pairings?
Still one of the best ways to upsell wine, especially by the glass, is by putting your festive food and wine pairings together on the menu. This allows your guests to see exactly what goes together, combatting those feelings of uncertainty and anxiety when it comes to figuring out what wine best complements their choice of Christmas dinner.
Even better, serving by the glass means they do not have to commit to an entire bottle, but rather, they can experiment and explore different wine varieties in the space of an entire Christmas dinner. This means you can create a uniquely festive pairing menu and suggest different wine options for different courses!
Why not pair a glass of Vintage Champagne with your Christmas ham dish? The bubbles will cut through the richness of the meat and enhance the depth of the flavours. Alternatively, if you’re serving up a roast turkey, why not try an oaky white Burgundy in the likes of a Meursault or a Puligny-Montrachet?
With a beef dish, we’d recommend a red wine like a traditional Claret or a Cabernet Sauvignon – Merlot from the Napa Valley; these wines are usually full-bodied and pair well with flavourful meats.
If you’re looking for something a little different and more experimental, how about pairing some figs wrapped in prosciutto with a young Chianti? Or maybe serve up some glazed carrots with a nicely chilled, off-dry Mosel Riesling?
It can be tricky to know which wines to pair with your holiday feast, but with so many different options available, there’s sure to be something to please everyone’s palate. By making it obvious and clear which foods go well with each type of wine, your guests will appreciate your efforts in creating an amazing wine experience they’ll never forget.
Simple pleasures this Christmas
Christmas really is a time to savour the simple pleasures in life and create memories that will last a lifetime. While consumers may be especially astute this year due to financial pressures, venues can still show that they offer both a worthwhile investment and an unforgettable experience.
One of the best things about the holiday season, at least in our humble opinion, is the variety of wines available. So how can you help your consumers get the most out of your by the glass offerings this year?
- Identify a selection of wines from your list and match them with delicious dishes on your Christmas menu. This way, having removed the guesswork, your guests can get the most out of their dining experience while spending less money.
- Ensure your staff are well trained and equipped with the necessary knowledge to serve fresh and delicious wine. A little bit of care goes a long way to guarantee that guests have a good experience and leave with a positive impression of your establishment.
- Also make sure your staff is up-to-date on all the latest festive food and wine pairings, allowing them to provide an excellent experience for guests during the festive season.
So what are you waiting for? With more than a quarter (27%) of hospitality businesses seeing bookings surge for Christmas, which is higher than in previous years, make sure you get in on all the action. And remember, the simple pleasures in life are often the best ones – so give your customers what they want this holiday season: great food and spectacular wine that will leave them happy, satisfied, and eager for more!