We hear that supply and labor challenges will be with us for some time…and likely long past the holiday season. So, as we start thinking about the holidays, what should we be doing to make sure to make it through another challenging year?
Here are some tips:
- Plan ahead. Make your plan for meals now and make it flexible. Have 5-6 options for each: protein, side, bread and dessert, knowing that some may not be available. Also make sure to have different packaging options picked out so you’re ready with whatever is available that will work for you. Finally, try to set work schedules far enough in advance that you know if you will need to try to find more staff for the holidays, everyone has the time to plan ahead and you can ensure you will be properly staffed during this time of labor challenges coupled with it being one of the busiest times of the year.
- Consider more shelf stable and frozen items. Shelf stable and frozen items can be ordered in earlier and kept longer so you make sure you have what you need when you need it.
- Take preorders. If you will be offering meal kits, get the ordering going! Give your customers your complete list of options and let them pick their top choices. Tell them why you’re doing it this way – due to supply challenges. In case their #1 option isn’t available, you’ll be able to easily fill in with their #2 or #3 etc. You could also build in a cutoff date for orders, where after a certain date, customers are charged an extra 10%.
- Order ahead. Order frozen and dry items now as well as items like butter and cheese that have extended shelf life. Also, many proteins, breads and other staple items that come in fresh can be frozen. And don’t forget to order your packaging ahead of time, too. Doing all of this will ensure that you have the items you need to serve your holiday meals.
- Get ready for holiday parties. Set goals and know your limits when it comes to filling reservation times. Also, if you normally offer a full menu, consider offering a custom menu with limited items. This is a great way to control costs and help with kitchen timing as well as to help avoid problems given the supply and labor shortages we’re facing.
- Encourage gift card sales. We understand that selling gift cards will not solve supply or labor problems, but it can bring in extra revenue during this challenging time. It will also help your customers who are facing challenges getting gifts and finding time to make and serve meals during this challenging and busy holiday season!
Ready to think about taking pre-orders? Click here to get our Holiday Meal Kit Order Form Template!