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Get a Head Start on Your Holiday Sales Strategy

With Thanksgiving on the horizon, it's now time to turn our attention to the holiday season. As we start to think about Thanksgiving spreads and Christmas parties, the tumultuous year we’ve experienced also calls for a proactive sales approach to navigate the holiday season successfully. 

As the market begins to think ahead to cooler months and celebratory gatherings, it’s time for catering companies and restaurants to prepare for the months ahead.

With the COVID situation constantly changing and evolving, it’s up to event pros to provide clients with the comfort and assurance they need while planning in uncertain times. As you prepare for the busy season ahead, keep these sales tips close to build trust with your clients and help them host their long overdue celebrations.

Be mindful of labor needs.

The labor shortage in the industry is showing no signs of easing up, so be prepared to operate with a smaller crew than usual during this year’s holiday season. You may need to adjust your strategy throughout the season, like increasing overtime pay, scaling back on menu options, or reducing the overall number of events your company takes on. None of these options are ideal, of course, but sustainability in the industry requires a fair amount of flexibility to stay on-track. Keep a close eye on your team’s workload and manage it as needed.

Take custom menus off the table.

It might be a hard pill to swallow, but custom menus will likely stretch your team too thin this year. Instead, offer holiday collections (packages) that allow clients to select from several pre-selected dishes to build their menus. These will help you to manage labor and food costs, as it is faster to make hundreds of one item rather than smaller amounts of several items. The sales team will also be more efficient, as they can work through the menu collections and get to closing the sale more quickly. Additionally, food costs will be lower as you can purchase ingredients in bulk to source for multiple events at once.

Sell your safety measures.

With new variants causing concern, many people are hesitant about planning events over the holiday season for fear of risky conditions. More than ever, they will be evaluating their potential event vendors for health and safety measures. Demonstrate your commitment to safety and sanitation by remaining masked and offering hand sanitizer between tasting courses. Explain the guidelines implemented in your business to reduce risk of viral spread, like sanitizing surfaces after every use, creating socially-distant floorplans, and always wearing PPE in the kitchen.

Keep it positive.

It’s important to recognize that it is a tough time for our clients. The holidays are supposed to be a time of joy and celebration. Many missed out on the festivities last year and are eager to gather with their friends and family this year. But there’s still a certain level of fear and discomfort that we need to address. Always keep a smile on your face and discuss your plans from a place of positivity. When they bring up questions and concerns, respond confidently to assuage their worries and assure them that you have it covered. Make sure they know you have their back.

Once again, this year will be unlike any other! Fortunately, the industry is filled with creatives that are adaptable. We know how to pivot at a moment’s notice as many of us experienced in 2020, so focus on remaining flexible and agile this holiday season and you can’t
go wrong. 

Meryl Snow

Owner, Feastivities Events, Philadelphia, PA and Senior Consultant, Certified Catering Consultants

With nearly 30 years in the special event and catering industry, Meryl Snow is the co-founder of Feastivities Events and the creator of The Triangle Method.  As a Senior Consultant for Certified Catering Consultants, Meryl travels throughout North America training clients in the areas of sales, marketing, design and branding to help businesses get on their own path to success.She is the author of Booked It! and Cha-CHING!

Meryl Snow

Catersource Advisory Council Member

Founder of