HOW TO: Keep Spirits Bright this Holiday Season Behind the Bar

All around us, we can hear the hum of lawnmowers and the splashing of sprinklers. The Texas temperature still averages 100˚ most days, so naturally our thoughts shift towards. . .holiday cocktails and promotions!

How easily it sneaks up on us, but in order to take care of all the ideation, planning, troubleshooting and implementation involved, the time for holiday thinking is now. But not to worry! A few tips and tricks can get the proverbial snowball rolling and headed toward a flurry of Holiday Cheers in no time!

Want to host an event this holiday season, but not exactly sure how to keep it engaging on a digital platform? Below are a few ideas from our Events Team for a fun, yet safe holiday party for your company that is completely virtual!

The Price is Right – Swag Edition

Ask supplier partners to donate items as prizes for your company’s virtual event.* Then, task attendees with guessing the items’ values just like an exciting and interactive gameshow! The bid closest to the item without going over wins!

*where legal.

Virtual Gamification Holiday Party

Incorporate a little friendly competition by hosting a virtual game day! Invite attendees to log in during a designated time period to connect with one another and play a variety of games online.  There are so many to choose from, like this online Escape the Room. Reward the winners with exciting prizes, gag gifts or bragging rights!

Virtual Cocktail Party

Yes, we may be “going digital”, but that doesn’t mean we can’t eat, drink and be merry! Create and send a cocktail kit as a formal invitation or an event sneak peek! Ask guests to make their own martini from a Tinsel and ‘Tinis kit – or allow your attendees to freestyle and mix up their drink of choice from a Make Spirits Bright kit that comes with a few different spirits and recipes for inspiration! Include a festive competition where the creator of the best holiday-inspired cocktail wins a prize!

Are you a beverage supplier, who is itching to connect with your clients this upcoming holiday season? Whether you are interested in producing and sending holiday brand kits, customized greeting cards, individualized gifts or simply wanting to support your client’s chosen charity with a donation, PHCP is here to help bring your vision to life! Not exactly sure of your vision or direction? We can assist with that too! From conceptualization to delivery, we are here every step of the way! Give us a call or send us a note, and we can help you get started!

Are you looking for some ideas for seasonal cocktails that your guests will love? We got with our Director of Beverage Innovation, Rebecca Dowda, on a couple tips to think about when considering a seasonal lineup.

What are some easy ways to spice up popular drinks to make them more seasonal without having to create entirely new recipes?

Swapping out neutral ingredients such as simple syrup or agave nectar for syrups with seasonal flavors is an easy way to add holiday cheer to existing menu items.  Using maple syrup in a margarita with a cinnamon-sugar rim will allow bartenders to use a recipe build they are familiar with, while offering guests a new cocktail with a seasonal flavor profile. 

If someone wants to add a holiday drink to their menu, where should they start?

There is a misconception that holiday drinks need to be overly decadent or sweet.  Start by looking at what cocktail sells best, then offer a holiday version of that.  I firmly believe that when they said “making spirits bright,” they were referring to cocktails.  Sangrias, Old Fashioned-style cocktails, and Tiki drinks provide a great canvas to build upon. Just incorporate flavors like nutmeg, cranberry, clove, or rosemary to make it pop!  Also, look at Instagram and other forms of social media for ideas too!  Searching the hashtag #holidaydrinks will help you see what your guests are drinking when they are not at your restaurant or bar.

Save yourself some time and let PHCP do the work for you! Our award-winning Mixology Team is only a phone call away, and they are eager to craft up some custom cocktail recipes for you!

With the holiday season approaching, restaurant guests will be anxious to celebrate with friends and family. Each year, the hospitality industry awaits the double-edged sword of Q4 operations; increased sales and increased guest counts paired with increased labor hours and increased stress. If you are wondering about ways to optimize operations throughout the upcoming holiday season, look no further than the following best practices:

Salesmanship Behaviors – Guest visits during the holidays tend to have higher Per Person Average and/or higher Check Average. Use this to your advantage by coaching the staff on salesmanship tactics to increase these metrics. Take time before, during, and after shifts to praise successes and address opportunities for:

Suggestive Selling


Add-On Sales

Inventory Reconciliation – The increased guest traffic during the holiday season puts a strain on inventory control and out of stocks. Take a proactive approach by doing more frequent inventory of high-volume items and make multiple product orders per week if necessary. Guests’ revisit intent and recommendation intent suffer greatly if there is an item on the BOH 86’ed Board. Even the most experienced and most knowledgeable staff cannot sell a guest a menu item that is out of stock.

Set Sales Goals – Use the increased staffing and increased shifts to set sales goals for each daypart, employee, and manager. Tracking these sales against each other allows for friendly competition between the employees and even the managers. Set daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly sales goals that are aspirational, yet achievable. Celebrate and recognize winners.

Proper TRAINING Prevents Poor Performance – While many have learned this phrase to include “Planning” – and Training does not start with the letter ‘P’ – the holidays bring with them seasonal new hires. These new hires must be trained completely to maximize sales and guest satisfaction. Take extra time to follow up and validate new hires in all areas of the service model. Remember, daily shift meetings are great places for menu item demos and role-play scenarios. Only with knowledge and comfort will the staff execute salesmanship behaviors and not be generic “order takers.”

The holiday season can be intimidating, yet very rewarding for restaurant operators. Treating the entire quarter like its own promotional event can help identify areas of improvement. The entire business should be reviewed prior to the holidays: Staffing, Equipment, Inventory, Marketing, etc. Remember, incremental sales are out there; stop wishing for them and actualize them!

Author: Patrick Henry Creative Promotions
Created: 2020/09/17
Updated: 2020/09/17
Category: Behind the Bar

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