For many families in the UK, Christmas Day has a set traditional menu, cooked lovingly by the family. Christmas Eve, on the other hand is more of a tradition free-for-all as families make up their own rituals. In many European countries, Christmas Eve is the big feast, accompanied by present opening, but in the UK it’s an evening to do what you want, before the traditional gluttony of Christmas day. In 2013 the Guardian published an article on the various Christmas Eve culinary traditions, including why fish is one of the most popular dishes. Often, families have their favourite takeaways, for some it’s a curry, for others it’s pizza or tacos.
However, takeaways are also creeping into Christmas Day, when families don’t feel like cooking or would like some more diversity in their Christmas menu and takeaway restaurants are responding by staying open on Christmas Day.
If you’re one of the restaurants who will be serving over the holidays (and it may be a very popular time for you), make sure your customers know this so that they come to you directly, rather than reaching for Just Eat.
Make sure your customers know that you’re open
Give customers plenty of notice through all your marketing channels that you will be open over the Christmas period so that you become part of their Christmas plans, rather than a last minute option because they’ve happened to find you on Just Eat.
Offer a special Christmas menu
Everybody loves a seasonal menu. A Glasgow café is offering a Christmas Dinner box for a family of four, that saves cooking the entire meal. But what do you do if your food isn’t traditionally Christmassy? One of the UK’s most popular takeaway foods is pizza, not something that you might generally associate with Christmas, but some operators are embracing the Christmas spirit and adapting their menu. Papa John’s for example has developed a turkey meatball pie with sprouts on top and gravy sauce – complete with pigs in blankets on the side! Is there a way you can tweak your offering to make it a bit more Christmassy?
Differentiate your direct ordering/delivery from Just Eat
Just Eat has the scale to be able to offer things like free delivery, but think about what you can offer customers to differentiate your service. If you have a rewards scheme, can you offer double points for ordering around Christmas time? The key advantage you have through your own digital ordering service compared to Just Eat is that you know your customers. You have the data from previous transactions, their preferences, their frequency of ordering, etc
Special Christmas offers and promotion codes for loyal customers puts you firmly in their minds for when they order. If you have the data, for example through your EPOS or digital ordering platform, why not develop personalised promotions bespoke for your existing customer base so that you give them exactly what they want for Christmas?
For restaurants, the holiday season is a busy time, so why not try to stop Just Eat and other third parties, ensuring orders come directly to you instead?
It’s not as catchy as: ‘When is a door not a door?’ (answer, when it’s a jar) but it speaks to the idea that in-car collection, and the technologies that support it, are flexible enough to bend to the needs of a business and its guests.
Delivery can be daunting to the uninitiated, and it might be tempting to sign up with a third-party ordering aggregator that offers the service, such as UberEats, but other options could suit your business and brand better. Here we present three different ‘levels’ of delivery, starting with the most basic – and cheapest method: doing it yourself.