Festive food for thought?

Licensees advised to be extra-prepared ahead of winter rush

Christmas dinner

NOTHING separates the organised from the disorganised quite like Christmas; and in the on-trade being prepared for the upcoming festive season can help operators cash in on the increased footfall as well as save a lot of last minute stress.

Getting ahead of the curve and not leaving things too late is crucial, said Scott McGillivray, managing director of equipment supplier Sims Automatics.

“Christmas is obviously the biggest money-making time of year for the licensed trade and there is a lot of preparation and organisation required to make sure things run smoothly,” he said.

“We would encourage customers not to wait until the last minute if they need equipment changed or if they require a service call to their equipment.”

David Barton, Pantheon Catering Equipment’s sales director, seconded that view.

He said: “Christmas is a very lucrative time for pubs and restaurants and also an exceptionally busy one, so if a crucial item of equipment is nearing the end of its life or if you need something new, do buy it now.”

When it comes to food, Catherine White, senior product manager at McCain Foodservice, reckons appearances have never been more important in the age of Instagram.

“Today’s social media-savvy diners not only want food that tastes good, they want it to look good too and the Christmas period is a great time to get experimental,” she said.

“Operators should be ensuring that their food not only contains Christmas flavours, but demonstrates festive cheer in the way it looks too.”

Another increasingly important area that shouldn’t be forgotten by operators is the need for free-from choices, stated Gordon Lauder, managing director of food distributor Central Foods.

He said: “Frozen free-from, pre-prepared products can be a great way for outlets to ensure they have a good range of Christmas menu items.

“It means you always have dishes to hand that are suitable for those with specific dietary requirements.”

Just as the food of Christmas is important, what it’s served on needs consideration too, said Rob Blunderfield, marketing manager at Parsley in Time.

“It’s important that tableware complements the decor and style of the bar as well as the season,” he said.

“The right tableware can deliver exactly the point of difference operators are seeking.”

And when the going gets tough, one way to cut down on breakages is to invest in glasses made from toughened glass, according to Kathryn Oldershaw, marketing manager of glassware firm Utopia, as “they are more resistant to cracking due to sudden temperature changes”.