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Preparing Your Pub For The Festive Season

December 19, 2023

As the year comes to a close, December takes the spotlight as the busiest trading month for the hospitality industry. It's a time when friends and family gather to celebrate the season with indulgent meals, drinks, and weekend getaways.

This surge in business not only brings in higher profits for pub owners but also provides financially supports your business for the rest of the winter season. With Christmas fast approaching, now’s the time to focus on preparing your pub for the festive season to take advantage of this increased demand.

Managing Seasonal Risks

When it comes to preparing your pub for the festive season, prioritizing risk management is crucial. With a significant influx of people entering your establishment in the lead-up to Christmas, it's important to address potential hazards that could affect both your employees and your customers.

One key aspect to consider is how to avoid your pub overcrowding. Work out the maximum capacity of your venue, taking any fixed seating areas into consideration. Then make sure that you don’t exceed this limit. If your pub becomes overcrowded, it can lead to dangerous situations such as crushes and claustrophobia, which is likely to drive future customers away. Overcrowding can also block your exits in the event of an emergency evacuation.

The best way to stay compliant with your capacity limits and keep your customers safe is to have someone stationed at the entrance to keep track of the number of customers entering. We’d also advise having a security guard who can inspect customer bags for dangerous items and help in managing queues.

Unfortunately, theft and damage are common occurrences in pubs over the festive period. Now is a good time to review your pub insurance coverage to make sure it adequately addresses the potential challenges you may face this season.

By proactively addressing these risk management considerations, you can create a safer and more secure environment for both your staff and customers.

Attracting Customers

Once your pub is prepared to welcome a surge of customers, it's time to shift your focus towards attracting them with enticing offerings and experiences.

Themed events can be a fantastic way to draw in customers. You could introduce a special festive menu, such as a new Christmas cocktail list. You can create a lively and engaging atmosphere in your pub by planning a festive fancy dress party and organizing a costume contest with prizes.

Live entertainment is another great way to entice customers to come to your pub. Hire talented musicians or bands to perform popular carols and Christmas songs, encouraging guests to join in the festive spirit. Alternatively, you could host a stand-up comedy night featuring a lineup of comedians or you could organise a festive quiz to engage with your customers directly.

The best thing about live entertainment is the noise and engagement will also attract passers by to enter your pub to be part of the fun and festive atmosphere.

Given that Christmas can be a financially demanding time of year, another way to attract more customer is by offering cost-effective deals. Create special packages for groups and introduce daily discounts like Happy Hour or two-for-one offers on drinks. You can promote these deals and offers through eye-catching signage outside your pub, as well as posting regularly on your social media channels.

By thinking about the atmosphere you want to create in your pub, and the customers you’d like to attract, you can entice customers to choose your pub as their go-to destination during the holiday season.

Managing Your Staff

Lastly, staff management is a crucial aspect of running a successful pub, especially during the busy holiday season. You need to make sure that your employees are well-prepared and confident in handling the stresses that come with this time of year.

To start, it is important to keep your staff informed about any special festive offerings you have planned. Take the time to go through food and drink recipes with them and make sure they know about any available discounts. Being knowledgeable about the products and services you’re offering during the holiday season will help your employees provide a great service to your customers. When customers receive a great service, they remember it and they’ll tell their friends about their experience.

To help maintain a relaxed environment and happy team spirit, consider organizing a fun-filled team event or giving your staff some time off before the December rush begins. By getting your employees in the holiday spirit early on, you can foster a sense of camaraderie and enthusiasm that will carry them through the busy period. Smiles are contagious and your customers will enjoy being in your pub more if your staff are happy too.

Another important aspect of staff management is planning the staff rota well in advance. This will allow your employees to make their own Christmas plans and ensure that each day of December runs smoothly. Recognise the pressures that come with the season and make sure your staff have enough breaks between shifts. This will help prevent burnout and ensure that your employees are well-rested and able to provide excellent customer service.


Remember, effective risk management is key to a successful holiday season. One of the best ways to prepare is to review your pub insurance. This will help protect you against both every-day and seasonal risks so you can focus on creating a fun and care-free festive environment.

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