Goodbye pumpkin spice lattes, hello eggnog! With the Christmas season in full swing, your restaurant has probably started developing some seasonal menu items to boost sales and revel in the holiday spirit. With more and more people choosing to dine out on Christmas Eve and day, crafting a mouth-watering Christmas spread is no longer the exclusive responsibility of families. Restaurants can get pretty creative with what they choose to serve guests around the holidays, and preparing the perfect Christmas menu doesn’t have to be hard. Take a look at these five tips for curating your jolliest Christmas spread yet.

Incorporate Seasonal Dishes and Ingredients 

The Holidays are a time for festive plates – and that doesn’t have to mean a gingerbread-infused dessert menu. Take advantage of the plethora of fruits and vegetables in season around Christmas time like pears, cranberries, and winter squash. Roasted maple pears with cranberry and thyme is a side dish that incorporates both fruits and will fill your guests’ plates with cheerful colors. Did your restaurant have huge success with a Thanksgiving menu this year? Several Thanksgiving recipes can carry over to Christmas with a few tweaks. Try glazing sweet potatoes with brown sugar and cinnamon for another sweet side item. 

Get Festive on Social Media

Social media is the place to show off your Christmas menu and the decorations. Snap a few shots of your most aesthetic holiday dishes, and be sure to include your establishment’s vibrant look if you chose to deck it out with lights or a tree. Social media users will drool over the gorgeous spread before even getting the chance to dig in, enticing them to book a table and celebrate the season. While classic Christmas dishes are always a way to draw in customers, try advertising a unique item on your holiday menu that will persuade potential customers to drop by and try a new dish.

Try the Classics with a Twist

The days where the Christmas menu lineup included a roast followed by fruit cake are over. If you want to dress up the Christmas staples, try adding your own personal touches to a few dishes that people already know, love, and crave around Christmas time. Hot cocoa is a drink that is enjoyed throughout the cold winter months, but a few drops of Kahlua and some colored marshmallows can make it the ideal post-dinner treat at your restaurant. 

Utilize Your Current Menu Staples

There is a Christmas dish fit for every kind of cuisine, so don’t forget to pepper your restaurant’s personality into your festive holiday menu. Browse your current menu for apps, mains, and desserts that could use a “holiday tweak”. Meatballs can be cooked in a seasonal citrus glaze, decadent fruit tarts can be baked in the shape of a wreath and embellished with holly, the list goes one. For restaurants whose cuisine already places an emphasis on the Christmas season, take advantage of the theme by serving food that is traditionally found on a family dinner table during the holiday. Incorporating family traditions (like the Italian feast of the seven fishes for example), into your menu will bring the joy of Christmas to your restaurant and a stress-free dinner to your guests. 

Advertise Your Christmas Menu with Deals

Holiday work parties, Christmas-y happy hours and visiting in-laws are all excuses to drink up and chow down this season. With so many options to choose from in New York City, advertising your restaurant’s Christmas menu and deals to go along with it will make the choice a lot easier. Offer discounts like bottomless holiday drinks with brunch or two-for-one appetizers to entice guests to try your tasty seasonal menu items for a great price. Captioning your restaurant’s Instagram shots with the various deals and happy hours patrons can take advantage of when trying out your holiday lineup will give an even bigger incentive to taste test your menu this Christmas season.