How to cook up a festive season like no other

After a year that’s served up some of the greatest challenges restaurateurs and managers have ever seen (as well as some new ones we’re still navigating), restaurants are set to play a big part in helping Australians reconnect, socialise, and celebrate this festive season.

The pent-up demand for dining has just about reached a fever pitch, with some restaurants reporting overwhelming demand and long waitlists, and some hard-to-get reservations even popping up for sale online with crazy price tags.

While it might feel like this silly season is a little more bonkers than usual, there are some smart ways to capitalise on the demand. Here are some of the trends we’re expecting to see over this festive period, and how OpenTable can maximise your success.

Get an extra pair of hands with a more-than booking partner

Diners are looking for certainty this Christmas after missing out on many occasions across the year. The backlog of those on-again-off-again work catch-ups and missed celebrations with family and friends means booking and waitlist management is more important than ever. With many restaurants battling staff shortages, using a booking partner such as OpenTable to ease the pressure is a smart move. Diners who book through OpenTable spend on average 49% more* per person than walk-ins and come with lower no-show rates as compared to phone and partner reservations. At a time of year when ease and flexibility are the order of the day, OpenTable reservation management is a secret weapon to fill seats and plan shifts while you keep all those other plates spinning.

Hero Unique Dining Areas

Special occasions come with special requests, and diners are looking for opportunities to make this festive season a memorable one. With OpenTable’s new Dining Areas feature you can help them do just that. Dining Areas lets you define different types of seating areas, so you can offer exactly what guests are looking for. From cosy back-room dining to a buzzing patio with the afternoon sun, custom names allow you to tell the story of your space and set seating expectations in advance. And with expectant diners wanting to plan the perfect festive gathering – now you can help them do just that.

Stand Out With Experiences

Whether it’s an end-of-year happy hour with colleagues (no more Zoom drinks, please!) or a special celebration that demands a menu to match, take advantage of end-of-year diner demands by using OpenTable Experiences to showcase the best of what your restaurant has to offer. Not only will these get potential diners excited to book, but they’ll also help you make better plans when guests pre-order specific or seasonal menus, attract committed guests who’ll make prepayments, and give you the power to accurately control and book around specific areas of your restaurant. Experiences help you stand out from the pack by promoting what’s unique about your restaurant and giving you the flexibility to offer options for all occasions this Christmas.


*Bookings data (Network) from Australia Restaurants live with POS integration from 1/1/20 to 30/11/20

Find out how OpenTable can help you take advantage today.

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