This year, Christmas Eve and Hanukkah fall on the same day; only the fifth time in over 100 years. This means that Hanukkah will run Christmas Eve through New Year’s Eve. This is a huge holiday overlap, consolidating many American holiday celebrations. During the holiday season, many Americans prepare for their holiday traditions. Some people request their traditions with a twist. While every family has their own holiday traditions, most enjoy many of the same traditional holiday foods.
Families and friends come from all across the country to get together during Christmas time. Many customers will celebrate Christmas with family or friends the weeks leading up to the holiday. Some families traditionally dine out on Christmas as well. Customers see Christmas as a time to splurge towards the fancier end. Traditional Christmas foods include prime rib or lobster. Restaurants including these dishes on a holiday menu will likely see an increase in sales. Often, Christmas goers will go out for desserts as a holiday treat. Common Christmas flavors include gingerbread, spiced apple and peppermint. A gingerbread or peppermint twist on a traditional cheesecake will surely win customers over.
The Hanukkah holiday spans eight days and many Jewish consumers will eat out to celebrate. To follow along with Hanukkah tradition, many foods consumed during the eight day holiday contain large amounts of oil. The oil commemorates the jar of oil lasting eight days after the Jewish victory over the Syrian-Greek army. Traditional Hanukkah foods include beef brisket and latkes. Hanukkah celebrating customers will love ordering these foods off of a menu. For dessert, a fried, jelly-filled doughnut; in Hebrew, a sufganiyot; is the perfect Hanukkah treat.
Many of the drinks consumed during the holidays are seen as Christmas drinks. However, with the growing popularity of coffee and tea shops and happy hours, these drinks have become a part of society. Children and adults alike love ordering hot chocolate, especially with the addition of marshmallows or whipped cream. For the adults, many traditional holiday drinks may contain alcohol. Two examples are wassail and egg nog. Wassail, a holiday drink containing various juices, fruits and spices turns adult with the addition of whiskey or brandy. Eggnog, traditionally mixed with rum, is a cold creamy drink customers love during the holiday. Other traditional alcoholic drinks to feature on a seasonal menu include warm buttered rum and spicy mulled wine. Remember when serving alcohol, to serve your customers wisely. Use tips from the National Restaurant Association for help serving holiday drinks.
Healthy foods trended upwards in 2016 and are still on the rise during the holidays. Many customers are looking for their traditional favorites with a healthy spin. Instead of the usual mashed potatoes or vegetable casserole, consumer search for the roasted alternative. Serving roasted winter vegetables allows customers to eat their traditional favorites and feel healthier at the same time. Vegetables are trending upwards and the holidays are a great time to showcase all of their glory. Serve spiralized squash or beets as an alternative for pasta noodles serves customers comfort food without the guilt. Plating the main dish on a bed of mixed greens instead of rice also reduces carbs. This substitute is a great way to cater to the paleo, celiac or gluten intolerant.
Another hot trend in the market is ethnic foods and flavors. Customers now crave their traditional holiday flavors with an ethnic spin. Adding coriander, curry, turmeric and cayenne will draw in customers for unique flavors. Currently, Mexican hot chocolate resonates with consumers everywhere.
This traditional holiday drink turns Mexican with the addition of a little cayenne and cinnamon. The spice brings the flavors in the hot chocolate to the next level. Customers love the ethnic addition to their classic drink.
This holiday season, tap into your customers traditional cravings with perfect holiday menu items. Since Christmas and Hanukkah fall on the same day, expect an influx of customers during this time of year. Whether these customers celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah or time with family and friends, be sure to make the outing extra special. Customers love eating their traditional holiday foods, although, many would love trying a twist on a holiday classic. By placing traditional holiday meals on your menu, your customers will return no matter the time of year.