"The festive season is one of the key trading times for restaurants, hotels and pubs and you cannot afford to get it wrong," says Isabelle Davis, marketing manager at 3663 First for Foodservice. "Consumers are more fickle than ever and will turn away if they don't receive good service and tangible value.
"Last year's AC Nielsen figures speak for themselves. Market sales were down by 1.1% in November and only grew by 0.8% in December compared with the previous year. This tracked well below the overall annual growth figure of 1.1% for 2008. Consumers were holding on to their money and, based on our research which shows customers are planning to place their Christmas orders in November and December, we don't predict a significant change this year.
"We are under no illusion that you are facing some of the toughest trading conditions ever seen, but with a good business plan, careful planning and consideration of what the consumer wants this Christmas, you can still have a successful festive season."
Davis adds: "Not everyone is in the same position as Roger at the Taverners so we've answered your calls for help and created a Christmas offering that encompasses great deals, winning products and outstanding service. 3663's sales team is well trained and can offer bespoke advice to each and every customer - so no matter what menu you want this Christmas, we can help you achieve it.
"Our revamped Christmas brochure focuses on all your needs, delivering a relevant product range to help your business achieve success. We have taken the hassle out of Christmas planning with a number of pre-costed menu and buffet options. Our development chefs have created menus that you can order in their entirety or use as inspiration. We've done our homework, and apart from three-course menus, you can also order a buffet selection consisting of eight items with a suggested sell price of £5.50 per head. We also understand that each customer is different, so if you are after a more bespoke menu then we have a team of development chefs who can help meet your needs."