How Restaurants Can Stress Less During the Holiday Season

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Ahh, the busy season…That time of year that simultaneously stresses you out, but also showcases how great of a planner you are. We talked to two restaurants about what the season looks like, and how they handle the rush that lasts for a few months from fall through winter. Wendy Alexander of Divani said, “December is the busiest month for events followed by November and January. Consequently September and October end up being my busiest months for planning.”

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We talked to Wendy Alexander, the Events Coordinator at Divani, a single location with multiple spaces to rent out in Grand Rapids, MI. We also talked to Alice Price, the Event Planning & Hospitality manager at Unsukay, a restaurant group in Atlanta, GA with three restaurants, multiple spaces to rent out and food delivery. Both venues see lots of corporate events – everything from evening parties to lunch buyouts to retreats and non-profit fundraising dinners. The holidays also bring in a mix of seasoned pros and event-planning newbies who all have high expectations. Every little last-minute detail is essential to capture and communicate since stakes are high.

The pros we talked to have been in the industry for over 20 years combined, and they’ve had years of experience before finding an event management platform. “Since finding Gather, I work smarter, not harder. And, I can work from anywhere!” said Wendy. Continue reading to find out how Gather can help you during the holiday rush.

Save Time and Take Restaurant Holiday Stress Off Your Plate

When you’re in the booking and planning phase, the biggest time-suck tends to be communicating with guests. And with all Gather offers, you have all the tools you need to respond to guests faster, like message templates, automated proposals, and a mobile app – complete with notifications. Alice Price at Unsukay told us that setting up message templates has been a lifesaver. “It took a couple of hours to put together, but the amount of time it saved me is amazing.”

Wendy has found also that these tools help her save time. “All in all, I work fewer hours on site and I am more efficient! I used to be in the office four days a week. Now I am in the office two days a week and take care of anything that comes up from my phone or computer.” During the holidays, that time saved could mean the difference between regular holiday rush to being burnt out.

With all the corporate parties, you’re probably hearing from guests that have visited your restaurant during the year, whether it just be for dinner or another event. Alice says, “We’re lucky enough to have dedicated, loyal fans, so we do have a lot of regular (repeat) clients during the holidays.” But making loyal fans out of guests is an art – if they’re planning a party with company budget, they are likely shopping around. And the time you save with templates and being able to respond anywhere might make the difference in closing business. Wendy told us that speed is key. “With Gather, I can always get back to people quickly. I can send a proposal out to a guest in 15 minutes and it looks so professional.”

So with Gather, you’re not just responding faster, but you’re also booking business more quickly. Wendy is a big fan of the lead form that lets interested guests reach out directly through their website. Self-service continues from the proposal to the booking in the guest portal, which is an individual webpage for all things event planning, specific to each event. “Guests can do everything on their end – from reaching out to us initially to signing a proposal, which makes it easier to book an event. With Gather in place, revenue has increased and labor has decreased.”

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Keep Your Team on the Same Page, and Save Yourself from Headaches

A common refrain we hear is how hard team communication can be. And this isn’t the time of year for complaining – it’s time for holiday cheer! Before Gather, Alice said, “Communication, in general, was difficult – not with guests, but among the teams in house. Getting info to chefs, in particular, can be difficult. Not everyone had the information they need to pull off a successful event.”

With an event management platform, you can keep everyone in the loop. In Gather, you can tag team members, write comments, and share access to details across unlimited users. Wendy told us, “The desktop and mobile app make it easy for everyone to follow what’s happening with regard to events. We use the calendar across the team. The owner uses it for staffing and projections while our staff uses it to help with bookings.”

And because you can’t be everywhere at once, giving everyone some level of access keeps things running whether you’re at another location or are down with the flu. Alice says, “My running joke is that if I get hit by my bus, anyone on my team should still be able to pull o the event. Access to the information across the team is important – especially during the holidays when there’s a lot of little details and specifications.” With shared access, everyone on the team can get in on the action. Wendy told us, “When someone calls, and I’m out of the office, the staff uses an iPad with the shared calendar to let potential guests know what spaces are available.”

The team communication tools Gather offers also cuts down on your busy-work. Before Gather, Alice told us she manually created each BEO, then had to save it before emailing it to managers. She’d have to spend extra time following up or going back through her email to make sure she’d sent them. Now, it’s all done with a few clicks in Gather. “We tag managers and ask them to confirm when it’s printed and posted for the front and back of the house teams.”

Stress Less This Season

The holiday events season is busy, but your job shouldn’t take away from your ability to celebrate. Gather was built to help you stay organized, communicate better, and save time. Crush the holiday rush this year better than ever. See Gather for yourself today.

 

Interested in learning more about how Gather could help streamline your business? Let's chat!