Jess Lu
December 21, 2022

Getting Your Café or Restaurant Holiday-Ready

Before you can really sign off for 2022, we’ve got some hot tips on getting your cafe festive season ready: Down Under edition.

Salmon salad and white wine in fancy restaurant

It’s almost the end of the year! We can barely believe how quickly it has gone by. Thankfully, it means that some well-deserved time off is coming your way, or you’ve got some exciting things planned for the new year. BUT before you can really sign off for 2022, we’ve got some hot tips on getting your cafe festive season ready: Down Under edition.

We’ve already got you covered on getting ready for summer, but it’s important to take advantage of the festive spirit, the present giving, and the change in pace. Sometimes all it takes is a slight shift in the drinks you’re promoting, or a bigger change like a festive menu. We’ve got a few suggestions on how to prime your cafe for a festive summer.

Switch Up The Vibe

This can be as simple as changing the playlist you’re using for the cafe to a holiday themed playlist. Spotify has some great cosy cafe Christmas playlists. And if you’re in an area where there are multiple celebrations of holidays around December, consider a playlist that is summer themed; think relaxed, free and calm.

You can also switch up the decor! What colours represent the holidays to you? If you’ve got a collection of plants consider dressing them up in tasteful baubles, or stars. If you don’t have plants, why not lay some tinsel across the back of the coffee machine? If a more chic vibe suits your business, there are some really beautiful handmade holiday decorations to be found at Wilkins and Kent in Fitzroy.

Whatever change you make to the general vibe of your cafe, it’ll get your customers in a festive mindset, and they might be more willing to spend on the products you’re offering. Just be sure to maintain a some inclusivity to the many different ways people celebrate the holidays!

Add Some Festive Flavours To Your Menu

Now, without annoying your customers (or employees!) changing the names of your drinks to something festive can bring a bit of holiday fun to the cafe. If this is totally unavailable to you, or it doesn’t fit the image of your business, you can add some holiday flavours to your drinks:

  • Peppermint oil - A single drop of peppermint oil can absolutely uplevel a matcha latte, or hot chocolate. It brings a pop of festivity to the drink, and a refreshing after taste. Careful though, only. one. drop. It packs a punch!
  • Pine tree spices - If you’ve got a signature cocktail, try a holiday spin on it with some pine tree spices. If you’re unable to access them, some good substitutes are thyme, sage, or parsley.
  • Ginger - Easily accessible and rather delicious in a chai, hot chocolate or eggnog! Try adding candied ginger to any cocktails you have, or popping a ginger cookie on the side of your customer’s coffees.
  • Hazelnut - Hazelnut syrup is a bloody delicious addition to coffee, in the same way vanilla can be added. Your customers will love you for suggesting a teaspoon for their order!

Another thing to consider is having a festive drink for your happy hour. Perhaps a mulled wine, or a nice cold beer for the Australian heat. Even a spiked eggnog could go over well with a holiday brunch vibe!

Offer Festive Products That Aren’t Food

If you’ve already got a shelf to sell local products, adding a few festive favourites can do wonders for December sales. Consider some pine-scented candles, and some locally sourced Christmas decorations. Or if food is more the alley you need to walk down, a flour mix for challah and/or christmas buns. People go wild for a Christmas pudding in fabric!

Whatever products you choose, find ones that are local and festive. They’ll do really well, and make excellent gifts for your customers to take home. It’ll help them out, as they have their morning coffee, or Tuesday lunch!

Consider Offering a Holiday Themed Service

If you’ve got the resources for it, an evening service for a Christmas dinner with a set menu could be a fun and novel thing for your customers. A change in menu will entice your clientele, and perhaps make them feel spoiled by the chance to try something new. Adding a level of exclusivity will also help them feel like they’re getting a unique service; limit the table numbers, and design a really once in a lifetime meal!

Perhaps a special service is a lot to organise and ask for, but it can be a really memorable moment for your regulars, and favourites. They will look forward to it for years to come!

Involve The Community

December is the month of giving, and it’s a good moment to take stock of your resources and see what you can offer to the people who need a bit of help this year. Offering a pay-it-forward service can help a person eat for the day, or using a week’s tips to buy the people in your business area some much needed resources.

As the weather warms up too, offering free sunscreen, or a free ice water refill to customers and others alike can keep us all sunsafe and heatstroke free!

It might not be something you can offer all-year-round, but the festive spirit of giving can be infectious, and can catalyse a change in approach to helping the community as a whole. And you might become known as that business that’s a real OG for giving back to the community!