Preparing for the festive season, while facing COVID. This is something many operators have on their minds when it comes down to running a business in a highly competitive market. What trends should we look out for? Are there any changes this year? And what changes do I have to make to my menu? Questions like these and many others may be on your mind, but do not worry! We have the latest tips and insights, which will prepare you for the festive season.

The festive season during COVID

The main challenge operators will face this year include COVID restrictions as well as safety rules. As a result, the increase in takeaway and delivery services are on the rise. However, are there any changes operators should consider when approaching this season? With many operators being worried about covering costs, operators are now more than ever dependent on understanding and meeting customer demands.

We have compiled a list of important key points, which operators should consider when making any changes to their business operations. Luckily, our insights from the industry showed us that these challenges are manageable. Take your time to reflect on these bullet points and try to get inspired on how these could work in your business!

The key festive season insights:

Focus on single dishes

Focus on single dishes

From our research, we saw a 19% increase in demand when it comes to single dishes. Moreover, we saw the growing importance of these single festive dishes in most researched countries. On the other hand, a decrease in demand was seen in set menus. Nevertheless, set menus are still the second-highest choice.

Top festive dishes will change

Top festive dishes will change

With every third operator expecting to change their top festive dishes, it makes sense why customers are demanding something different compared to last year. Customers will want to order something they cannot cook themselves and especially seek out vegan/vegetarian alternatives. Our UFS chefs have shared ten plant-based menu ideas for takeout and delivery. Popular dishes include Cauliflower Gratin with Dijon Hollandaise, and Squash, Quinoa and Goat Cheese Enchiladas. Check out the below for more recipes. 

Educate yourself on vegan/vegetarian festive alternatives

Educate yourself on vegan/vegetarian festive alternatives

Try to be as creative as possible and create something unique. From our research, we found that avocado bowl with vegetables, beetroot carpaccio with goat's cheese, broccoli gratin in mushroom sauce and Vegetarian Lasagna are among the top choices.

Customers are looking for something more

Customers are looking for something more

They don’t just want to consume the food, but rather they are looking for a new experience. New inventive restaurant marketing ideas matter, so pay attention to small details, like festive decorations on the delivery packaging and focus on offering various healthy options! 

The top festive restaurant menu choices

The top festive restaurant menu choices

If you are looking to stimulate your business during the festive season, consider the following top choices. Traditional festive menus come first with 77% followed by more modern festive menus with 68%, tying with Ready-To-Heat-Semi-Cooked dishes. And in third place we have lower-priced festive menu items with 65%, so consider extending your offering to such menu items.

We hope we could give some insights and inspiration for the coming weeks. As busy as it gets, we should not forget that staying safe is our highest priority. Create a supportive and safe environment for your colleagues and you will see the benefits of working together as one!