1. Spruce up your Space
Now is the time to deck the halls and make the holidays come to life. Go all out like the whimsical (and Instagrammable) pop-up cocktail bar, Miracle Bar, with gift-wrapped walls, colorful string lights, and holiday-themed cocktail mugs. In Grant Park, IL, Locavore Farm is transforming their rustic barn space with string lights and cozy fire pits for their Christmas on the Farm experience. Outdoor patios can get the winter treatment, too. Prime examples are Provencho’s Winter Snow Cabin in Crown Point, Indiana.
2. Party Trays, To-Go Items, and Take Home Celebration Kits
Bring your holiday classics straight to your guests via catered kits, platters, and more. Have an iconic dish at your restaurant? Prep it to go! Chicago’s Mon Ami Gabi is selling their famous French onion soup as a take home kit accompanied with baguettes and ceramic ramekins for a cooking keepsake. The Beverly Hills Hotel is counting down the big day via 12 Days of Souffles, including flavors like maple-bourbon pecan pie and eggnog. Catering to the holiday party crowd, Jupiter Green in Nashville has created holiday grazing boards (think artisan cheese and Mediterranean meze boards) for both pickup and delivery. And for an evening of decadence for any upcoming soirée, Chicago’s Heritage Restaurant and Caviar Bar is going all out with a Baller Christmas Package to-go, filled with Siberian caviar, wood-smoked prime rib, and baked lobster claws.
3. ‘Tis the Season for Holiday Menus
Diners are looking to get into the spirit, and unveiling holiday menus are key to getting them in the door. Now is the time to go big and upsell the works: think Champagne, truffles, and vintage varietals. The Ritz Carlton, Chicago is going all out with Italian wines and truffles for their San Felice Winter Truffle Dinner, while The Farmhouse at Ojai in California is hosting a Grand Christmas Buffet with a carving station, caviar bar, and unlimited pours of wine on Christmas Day. Looking to keep things small and highlight a producer in your restaurant? Host a holiday beer tasting like Swissotel Chicago is doing with local brewery Moody Tongue. Or plan a dinner centered around one spirit, like the rum-filled dinner from Resident in Brooklyn.
4. Cook-a-longs and cocktails classes
Hosting cooking classes is not only a way to diversify your income, but it can introduce guests to your cultural holiday traditions. Stir Events at the Ice House in Denver is sharing the traditions of Mexican cuisine by hosting a Holiday Tamale Workshop. For a sweet treat, Homemade By Bruno’s traditional Italian Christmas cookie class comes with scoops of homemade gelato, plus an option to BYOB. And don’t forget to showcase what’s going on behind the bar with festive cocktail classes. Kansas City’s Rye Plaza’s holiday gathering includes cocktails and curated snacks, a guided tasting, and a cocktail goodie basket.
5. Play Host to a Holiday Market
Not only do guests get a chance to eat and drink your offerings while shopping, but hosting a holiday market opens the door to building relationships with local vendors in your area. Houston’s Railway Heights will host its outdoor HoliDaze Market, featuring 40 plus vendors selling jewelry, sweets, crafts, and other goodies. Scratchboard Kitchen’s Brunch & Shop Event will be showcasing their brunch favorites among holiday wares for their open house. And for an all out bash, Ironton Distillery & Crafthouse in Denver is celebrating the coming of winter with their Yuletide Spirits. This themed event invites guests to don ski gear and come out for all day happenings including Snowga (snow yoga, that is), shotski workshop, a curated mini-market, and holiday drinks and breakfast specials.
For even more ideas, check out The Winter Prep List below.