Many businesses ask Old Mill how and what they can do to make Christmas a success, so here are some top tips from Old Mill to make yours truly festive.

Make sure your pricing framework is appropriate. 2017 has seen significant food price inflation so make sure that you understand your margins and how they have moved.

Extend sales and entice customers
Sales in food will inevitably drop away in January so limiting the effect of the January blues is essential. You should be thinking about the January sales in order to keep people coming through the door.

Staff and stock management
Selling twice as much, or even more, in a month as you typically would naturally adds pressure to the business as a whole. You’re relying on your staff to deliver for you so it’s critical that you keep staff morale high. When it comes to stock, too much and you face costly wastage; too little and you’ll fail to capitalise on your seasonal window of opportunity. Simple budgeting can help and comparing to last year should give some useful pointers.

Set some targets. These should include gross profit margin but others might include:

  • a sales volume target or sales value target
  • a profit target
  • a repeat customer target
  • a footfall target

Whatever it is – make sure you’ve got one – only then will you know whether you’ve performed as you wanted.

Innovate and experiment
Introduce new sales strategies to your repertoire and get rid of the useless ones! Try cross-selling and upselling. Cross-selling is persuading a customer to buy additional items related to their purchase, whereas upselling is persuading a customer to purchase a more expensive version of the purchase they are considering. Give it some thought in advance and identify groups of products that could be upsold or cross-sold and monitor the success of these strategies – if it doesn’t work then change it!

Value the competition
Stay alert to your direct competition. Although you may be bogged down focusing on your own business it’s vital to keep tabs on what your competition is doing. Obviously directly copying a competitor's every business move is not going to impress anyone but making sure you’re not radically different to other similar and successful businesses on key items such as price will usually stand you in good stead.

Evaluate for next year
If you don’t do this then how will you improve? You’ll need to understand what would you do/should you do differently next year and make a note of it. In the passage of time it’s easy to forget what worked and what didn’t, and you’ll want to get it right!

Click here to view the Old Mill's Winter 2017 food & drink newsletter.
The team at Old Mill wish you all a very merry Christmas and prosperous new year!