Tips for Pubs: 10 ways to maximise profitability this Festive Season

Share Article:

Tips for Pubs: 10 ways to maximise profitability this Festive Season

Whilst Christmas is generally good news for pubs, there are many added challenges and risks for businesses during the coming weeks, and planning is essential.

Customer care, security, health & safety and communication are all key areas of focus as the average alcohol consumption of many customers increases, with as many as 61% of drinkers admitting they over-indulge during the festive season1.

In addition, food hygiene complaints increase by as much as 55% over the Christmas period2 due to bulk cooking, storage, and the sheer volume of food that is being prepared and served.

All of this before we even think about staffing and the potential risks that can come with seasonal workers; not to mention those valuable customers themselves. With less spendable income in our pockets than the last few years, the expectations will be high and the disappointment on a grand scale if we don’t deliver on both service and quality.

One wonders why so many hard working, dedicated and passionate people work in the hospitality industry when facing all these challenges and more daily.

But …. while it all sounds like doom and gloom, help is at hand!

Here are 10 tips to support pubs enhance profitability this Festive Season:

1: Stock holding levels

In preparation for the busy season now is the time to start building up your stock levels. You need to identify those products where volume is most likely to increase. This could be those sold as part of seasonal packages, as well as main line products such as Champagne, Prosecco, and house products.

2: Hold an accurate account of deposits paid

An accurate account of deposits paid for seasonal functions and bookings are essential for the guaranteed smooth running of the festive season. As part of these bookings additional upselling of products can be made through pre-orders. This can also help with making sure your supplies are adequate for each function.

3: Check deliveries carefully and monitor best before and use-by dates

Monitoring products best before dates is always recommended but, during this busier period of business, products with shorter shelf life can be pushed through the system. Always check your dates when receiving deliveries and store your stock so that the shorter dates go out for sale first. This should be adopted for your service fridges as well.

4: Upsell packages to boost profit

Upselling of packages over the seasonal period will help bring in the targeted profit you need to meet over the festive season. But do remember to record the short profit that the package may hold, otherwise your stocktaking results could yield a deficit.

5: Christmas seasonal ranges

Now is the time for mulled wine and some Christmas-inspired cocktails. But it’s not just alcoholic beverages that will go down a treat this winter. Brainstorm some non-alcoholic ideas and give guests plenty of options to choose from the drink’s menu.

6: Seasonal staff need vetting and training

Any short-term staff taken on over the festive period still require due diligent background checks and full training on service and products. This can be time consuming so make sure you give yourself plenty of time before the peak season to make sure they are able to offer the quality of service that you customers and guests expect.

7: Start advertising Christmas offers now

If you haven’t already done so, it’s best you let your customers know now that you are going to be open over the festive period. Tell them about the Christmas specials, packages and any other seasonal offers you will be promoting, in order to entice them to choose your venue this year. Utilise social media, your website and your email contacts list to shout about your great offers and promote your establishment.

8: Book your end of year audit

One thing that is often forgotten is your end of year audit. This is not only required for the financial books, but it can also let you know how well the Festive Season went, helping you tie up the final figures on your profit made.

9: Set achievable margins

Make sure that what you are offering is profitable. A measured approach is recommended calculating gross profits achievable for packages built and seasonal cocktails.

10: Sell off bin end stock

The busier period can be a good time to think about those other products that you don’t have on your menus and offer them to your guests as part of their packages. This can help to reduce your stock holding overall once the season has finished and sell through any stock with a short shelf life left on them.

Running a successful pub, gastro pub or inn doesn’t happen by chance, and the work involved must be coordinated, managed and maintained, with adequate planning, training, and processes in place.

Capcon provides easy access to a joined-up range of tailored business services spanning audit & stocktaking, reporting & data analysis, employee screening, payroll, corporate due diligence, and other specialised compliance related services tailored for the hospitality sector. Together, we help businesses gain real-time visibility to improve strategic risk, make informed decisions, and increase profits.

Talk to us about how we can help you and your business.

We hope our mini-series on the key focus areas for pubs helps you not only survive but thrive and reap the benefits. And we wish you a successful and safe Festive Season.

Marcus Jones
Managing Director, Capcon Ltd


  1. New study finds tis the season for peak drinking and hangovers | Drinkaware
  2. Christmas pub food risks (

Request a callback

Request a callback