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Bank holiday weekends can bring in a huge trading boost for your restaurant or bar, with the public wanting to go out and make the most of it. Here are some ideas on how to make the most of the upcoming long weekends.

When are the UK bank holidays?

Before you can start to plan, you’ll want to know when the bank holidays actually are. The dates for 2024 in England are:

1 January – New Year’s Day
29 March – Good Friday
1 April – Easter Monday
6 May – Early May bank holiday
27 May – Spring bank holiday
26 August – Summer bank holiday
25 December – Christmas Day
26 December – Boxing Day

Set up your operational processes

Before you get overwhelmed by your bank holiday visitors, you’ll want to identify any problem areas in your operation and get these smoothed out. Any issues on the busy bank holiday might lead to unhappy customers, bad reviews, and a damaged reputation. Think about your customer journey, and try to get it as efficient as possible.

Start by thinking about your booking process – is it easy for customers to book online or on the phone? Then, think about what happens once the customer arrives at your business. Are your table plans clear? Can customers order easily, or are there long waits? Is it easy for the customer to pay when they’re finished?

Run a special offer or promotion

Promotions and special offers can help you increase your profit margins even further. You could set up happy hours with 2 for 1 drinks or discounts – just remember to only include low cost menu items.

For a more creative approach, you could create a time-limited cocktail or menu. People feel incentivised to buy something if it’s only around for a short period of time, and you’ll be able to charge slightly more because of this. Think about seasonal items that British people will love – Pimm’s and strawberries in the Summer or something themed around chocolate or lamb for Easter.

Hosting a bottomless brunch is a great way to get people into your restaurant or bar earlier than usual and fill quieter times of the day. Make sure you are clear what’s included in the deal and how long they have to enjoy it!

Another idea to think about is targeting families. You could do a ‘kids eat free’ offer or run a promotion on your children’s menu. This will help bring in families looking to spend time together whilst schools and workplaces are shut.

Put your menus online

A lot of people like to view menus online before eating out, so make sure yours are up to date on your website and Google profile. If you have any special seasonal menus, add those too!

Set up your outdoor spaces

As the weather starts to warm up, it’s the perfect time to make sure your outdoor spaces are ready. You also put on some special events like an outdoor BBQ or themed bar.

Make it as easy as possible for your outdoor guests to order. If you offer table service, we recommend giving your wait staff their own tablet to take orders on. If you don’t, then offering a QR code menu or your own app will make ordering seamless.

Offer delivery

Some customers might want to spend the bank holiday at home, so make sure they don’t miss out! Set up delivery options with your own app, or sign up to the third parties – UberEats, Just Eat and Deliveroo.

With Gardiff EPOS, we offer commission free apps and websites for easy online ordering, as well as tech integrations with the main third party delivery services. Everything links into your EPOS software, so you can view all your orders, and report on them, in one place.

Decorate for the occasion

Get some themed decorations, and your guests will market your business for you. By planning and putting up some seasonal decor, visitors will be more likely to take photos and share them online, reaching lots of potential new customers.

Update your business hours

Most people will look for places to spend their bank holiday online, so make sure your opening hours are up to date on Google. You can set special hours specifically for bank holiday weekends, so if your opening times are different, don’t leave people disappointed!

Partner with other local businesses

Partnering with your neighboring businesses is a great way to drive awareness. You could incorporate their products into your menu, or just offer a voucher for their customers to spend with you.

As well as reaching new customers, this also helps build a connection with the local business community which could be useful down the line.

Book some entertainment

Get your customers to stick around longer by putting on some entertainment. If you have some spare budget, you could book a band or comedian. If not, then you could try running your own quiz or broadcasting a sporting event.

Promote your offering

However you choose to prepare for the bank holiday weekend, there’s no point if none of your customers know what you’re doing! Post on social media or send an email out to create buzz around your restaurant or bar in the leading days. Remember to include pictures of any new menu items to get people excited, and let them know about any special offers you’re running.

Now you should be ready to promote your business and attract more customers for a busy bank holiday weekend! If you’d like to learn more about Gardiff EPOS and how we can help your hospitality business, get in touch with our friendly sales team.