The ultimate guide to organise a Christmas event
The best time of the year is finally coming: Christmas & New Year’s holidays! This is the time to celebrate our victories, laugh about the tough times, and enjoy the celebrations with friends & family.
For hospitality professionals it is an occasion to be excited about, the endless Christmas parties and events generate a great opportunity for restaurants and hotels to increase their profits and impress their customers to encourage positive conversations & repeated business.
But we are in 2019 and with such a wide variety of venues to choose from, customers are more demanding than ever before, craving for memorable customer experiences to share with their loved ones. With information travelling at the speed of light, customers become the best brand advocates or worst critics, having the power to elevate or destroy a business’ reputation in a matter of seconds.
When it comes to food delivery and presentation there is no longer a “win every time” strategy, with so many new trends & requirements from customers, it is hard to catch up. But don’t you worry; here are a few recommendations for you to organise the perfect Christmas party or event (and not die trying).
Let’s talk sustainability.
Climate change & pollution is a reality we all have to face, with the latest events such as the terrible bushfires happening in the Australian East Coast, customers are becoming extremely conscious about their purchase decisions, demanding service providers to offer more eco-friendly options to minimize waste.
The hospitality industry is not exempted to this trend or should we say “new rule”. It all started a couple of years ago with customers refusing plastic straws and plastic bags, but nowadays offering only paper straws as an alternative to plastic is not enough.
Plastic plates, cutlery, and cups are totally unacceptable… to the extent that some customers might refuse to eat their food if served that way. With a negative review being likely to be shared seven times more than a positive one; this is a mistake hospitality professionals don’t want to make.
Gladly, manufacturers are aware of this trend and have developed high-end & innovative eco-friendly alternatives to present food with style while minimizing waste.
One approach that can help operators improve their environmental platform is to offer sustainable bamboo products. Boats, cups, cones and knot picks, may seem like small essentials, but in the grand scheme they can quickly add up to help hotels & restaurants reduce waste, demonstrate a commitment to sustainability and increase operational efficiency.
Bamboo grows incredibly fast and never needs replanting, offering vital economic and ecological benefits to the lives of millions of people around the world. Utilizing this environmentally friendly alternative is not only a great way to comply with customer’s requirements, but is also beneficial for the planet and farmer communities.
Compostable plant-based polymers
The development of green chemistry has brought to the market bio-based polymers, a material that contains renewable plant sources and is 100% compostable. Products made from this material look very similar to plastic because of their transparent finish and rigidity, with the advantage that they can be disposed in organic waste or reused.
A breakthrough alternative that is here to revolutionize the concept of “disposables”. Once the products are disposed, they can be transformed into compost that will fertilize the soil on which to regrow plants, creating a virtuous cycle that involves less use of non-renewable resources, less energy and less CO2.
For venues looking to amaze their customers and display their commitment to sustainability with an innovative approach, these compostable items are the perfect food presentation solution that will certainly generate positive word of mouth amongst commensals.
Never ending dietary requirements
Another increasing challenge for hospitality professionals is to comply with all different dietary requirements. When presented with an interminable list of requests for vegetarian or gluten free options you might think “when I was a kid, we would eat everything…these are just none sense requests”…and while you might be right to some extent, this is something not to take lightly as those “none sense requests” might actually represent a genuine health concern.
We live in the “wellness” era, consumers are more conscious about their eating habits choosing less processed food made with better quality ingredients either for health reasons, to save the animals or to reduce their carbon footprint.
… motifs are never-ending. The great news is that they are willing to spend more money when these alternatives are presented in the right way.
At the end of the day hospitality professionals want their customers to feel comfortable, not worrying about what they are putting in their mouth or feeling secluded. When organizing a big event or party this is very easy to accomplish if just sticking to basics: avoid cross-contamination and label food clearly; surely there would be plenty of food options presented, it is important to make sure customers are aware of which food is suitable for them to enjoy.
An easy way to do so it to place this special food in different plates or trays, that way it won’t get in contact with contaminating agents such as wheat or dairy. Handling all ingredients with care in the kitchen & using separate working stations would ensure the plates presented are 100% suitable for customers with special dietary requirements.
To distinguish these food items, just place an allergen labeled skewer on them. This would allow customers to read the label and make the choice themselves, eliminating the need for front of house staff to clarify customers a million times if the food is suitable for them or not.
When things start getting funny
Now, let’s face it: Christmas parties tend to get out of control as the night enters. The booze and happy ambiance tend to make people “a little uncoordinated” let’s just say. It’s all laughs and games until an accident happens, and hospitality leaders certainly want to avoid at all costs anyone getting injured in their venue.
First things first: don’t serve anything in glass; that is the easiest way to prevent an injury. If someone accidentally trips over, spills their drink and the glass shatters, it would take time for the mess to be cleaned, the person can land on the glasses or someone can step on them, getting a serious cut. It is a very ugly scene to imagine, but unfortunately these things happen more often that we would like to admit. Same situation applies with porcelain plates and bowls, the likelihood of them breaking is quite high.
So what is the alternative? Utilize lite-ware disposable cups, they perform greatly and look fantastic because of their transparent finish & if someone drops them you won’t have to worry about it as they are shatterproof. Clean up is very easy, these solutions are disposable, so staff members won’t have to spend hours washing and polishing glasses.
In regards to food, present it with serving solutions made of melamine. This is a very resistant & shatterproof material and nowadays there are many styles to choose from, an easy solution that would surely elevate the venues’ food presentation greatly.
Another advantage of melamine is that it is light weight, facilitating front of house staff the task of carrying trays full of food around, the less heavy they are the easier it is to maneuver them. When the event finishes they can be put straight into the dishwasher, saving clean-up time and labour costs.
A quick tip: Make sure your plates and trays have rubber feet to prevent them from slipping.
Last but not least, it is important to remember that hospitality is the industry of creating memories, fun times and amazing experiences! If you can delight your customers with beautifully presented food and attentive customer service you are sure to win big this Christmas season. So go ahead, create a smart customer service strategy, make delicious food, present it with great style, keep your customers safe…and create the most memorable Christmas event. Good luck!