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8 Best Holiday Operation Hacks For Food & Drink Retailers

8 Best Holiday Operation Hacks For Food & Drink Retailers

Christmas is around the corner, meaning that one of the busiest and most profitable periods of the year for retail businesses is coming close, especially for food & drink retailers. To ensure a fruitful holiday season, in today’s article, we’ll present you with the 8 best holiday operation hacks for food & drink retailers

Be an early bird

As every merchant in the food & beverage industry is trying their best to make the most out of this holiday season, it’s important to start first and start strong. 

Holiday operation hacks for food & drink retailers: Be an early bird

Take action now, before the holiday rush begins. Besides, as retail store owners and operators, it’s critical to make sure you have a proper strategy and plan in place. And the plan should be implemented early enough. 

Additionally, the longer holiday shopping season could mean sales are not as back-loaded as usual. Thus, selling through inventory quickly can minimize the risks of food & drink retailers being impacted by unexpected factors. The sooner sales start rolling in, the less likely for additional disruptions to prevent the company from achieving its goals. 

Offer irresistible holiday promotions

Holiday operation hacks for food & drink retailers: Offer irresistible holiday promotions

This period in the year is when people are rushing for family gathering and end-of-the-year parties. Thus, the demand for food & drink increases at a rapid pace. So the demands are already high. As retail business owners, you just need to make sure they buy from you. 

To achieve that, decent promotions deem one of the best holiday operations hacks for food & drink retailers. You need to make sure that your promotions are attractive enough to make you stand out of the crowd with offers that they can’t resist. It can be simply either free shipping or 50% off items or bundle selling. You can also offer double reward points for Christmas. Classic, but still effective!

Consider selling on online marketplaces

Holiday operation hacks for food & drink retailers: consider selling on online marketplaces

This holiday operation hack for food & drink retailers particularly works for small and medium-sized enterprises. They are retailers who have fewer advantages when competing against recognized brands that will pull in the majority of shoppers during the holidays. Digital advertising can help increase brand awareness, but it may not be enough to make up for the huge competitiveness from big and well-known food & drink retailers. 

They need an alternative to capitalize on the great potential of online sales. This is when online marketplaces come in a rescue. Online marketplaces already have a firm position in the market as well as a huge community. Plus, they are where many consumers start their searches for a product. Some of the worth-mentioning names are Amazon, The Food Market, Walmart, etc. They are decent options to start with. 

Properly manage your inventory

inventory management

During such a rush season like Christmas, food & drink retailers commonly make the mistake of stocking up too much, which puts the business at the risk of overstocking. Particularly, food & drink is such a time-sensitive industry that the danger posed by dead stock is extremely harmful and lingering. That’s why proper inventory management is critical to know what and how much to stock. These are meaningful holiday operation hacks for food & drink retailers.

What to stock?

The industry’s predictions for food trends may have come to fruition in the previous years. However, with the whole 2020 being drowning in a global pandemic, those trends are looking quite different. Below are some key things to bear in mind as great holiday hacks for food & drink retailers this Christmas. 

Food trends predictions for Christmas 2020
  • Work closely with your local farmer or producer to source smaller turkeys, as well as other options to serve smaller groups. The reason is that this year won’t see extended family and friends celebrating in one place due to social distancing. 
  • Stock up on vegan meat alternatives and vegetarian-friendly products. According to Mintel, sales of meat-free foods have grown 40% from £582 million in 2014 to approximately £816 in 2019. And that number is expected to exceed £1.1 billion by 2024.
  • Stock unique products. An increasing number of consumers experimenting with new and unique ingredients was recorded throughout the lockout. Thus, although the Christmas menu is likely to be more classic and traditional, there’s still room for something more special like vegan cheese

How much to stock?

How much to stock

As mentioned, it’s common to have more numbers of products on shelves during the holiday season. But calculating exactly how much stock to have on hand has never been an easy task. 

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The key is to pay closer attention to your stock level and stock flow. In this case, it’s useful and handy to adopt a POS system coming with a built-in inventory management system. With such a system, food & drink retailers are able to:

  • Always keep track of the stock level
  • Be alert of low stock situation
  • Show stock visibility on online channels so that your customers can also know the availability numbers
  • Manage multi-warehouse inventory
  • Identify dead stock, slow-moving stock, and best-sellers

Moreover, demand forecasting definitely helps. Rapid demand forecasting is a technology-based concept that helps predict both short and long changes to demand. By looking at the comprehensive reports from the previous period, food & drink merchants are capable of recognizing any current trends or potential trends. Accordingly, they can make a better inventory plan. 

Double down on direct to consumer (D2C)

Double down on direct to consumer (D2C)

D2C is a term for an e-commerce strategy where traditional B2B businesses start selling directly to end-consumers via e-commerce sites. As there has been a rapidly growing trend of consumers shifting towards online shopping, D2C is, accordingly, going strong. 

Additionally, it’s a fact that D2C has higher margins and empowers brands to build direct and sustainable relationships with their customers. That’s why building a website is one of the best holiday hacks for food & drink retailers. 

And if you’re still reluctant when thinking about how complicated developing an online presence for your retail business, don’t even worry! Nowadays, there are many technologies that you, as business owners and operators can rely on, such as a POS system with e-commerce features. The e-commerce functionality integrated into a POS enables merchants to:

  • Build their own website using e-commerce tools. 
  • Operate both online and offline channels effectively with a real-time synchronization feature.
  • Save time and labor cost while minimizing human errors as everything is automated. 
  • Provide real-time and accurate inventory levels to avoid overselling.
  • Enable click-and-collect.
  • Sync data among stores and warehouses in real-time.
  • Be flexible enough to add more sales channels and handle the growth.

Create an attractive window display

Create an attractive window display

Simple but effective holiday operation hacks for food & drink retailers: Take advantage of the extra foot traffic around your food & drink retail store using an appealing, foot-stopping Christmas window display.

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Presenting your products on your display is effective and fruitful if you can manage it right. But what’s nice about a Christmas window display is that you can’t go wrong with a totally Christmas-themed display. Now what makes you stand out is something unique that’s going to catch the eye of passers. That could be some kind of movement, such as a train circling a track or dancing Christmas elves, etc. 

Most important of all is to work for your crowd. A bunch of people standing around watching a train go around or admiring your gorgeous arrangement of ornaments does nothing for your business. You have to bring them into your store. Try offering visitors a free hot drink and a cookie—a seasonal treat that’s irresistible to most.

Stress-test your operations

Stress test your operations
Stresstest – Fehlerprovokation 2

When asked about potential risks heading into the holidays, technology is mentioned among the most concerning elements. Indeed, retailers have become reliant on technology to transact, fulfill and ship orders. Even when you adopt one of the leading, battle-tested solutions to minimize the risk of tech-induced failure, there’s always room for unexpectedness. Thus, stress testing your systems before things get out of hand is vital. 

Additionally, a website or back-end system outage will be more costly than ever this year with the rise in e-commerce spend. Thus, it’s critical to stress test your whole operations to minimize the risk of your systems suddenly crashing down during peak hours. 

Maintain proper staff management

Staff management

According to Euromonitor, November and December accounted for nearly 18% of food and beverage store sales in the US in 2018, and a full 20% for beer, wine, and liquor stores. That’s the reason why food & drink retailers are hiding extra staff during the holiday season. But everything will even go beyond that due to the COVID-19 pandemic. There will be more tasks: constantly cleaning the surface, regularly checking if everybody is wearing a mask, etc. So take 2 things below with you as holiday operation hacks for food & drink retailers: 

Give extra training

Extra training

With these new tasks, more training is a must. You would assume that adequately cleaning a surface is a mundane task that everyone should have the skills to do. But with the heavy traffic that your stores will have to handle, constant cleaning is not as simple as it seems to be.

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So the key is to spend the time and ensure that all temporary staff is trained in both your day-to-day practices, as well as the new processes related to health and safety. You can do it on your own with a variety of comprehensive training guides that are available online. Or else, hiring a trainer is also a solid way to make sure your staff is well-trained and ready. 

Don’t want to invest in extra training? Then you might want to consider hiring a new staff member whose role is to do just these hygiene-related tasks. With that, your retail assistants can put their whole heart into selling more products. 

Adopt a staff management system

This is great holiday hacks for food & drink retailers. A POS software with a well-functioning staff management system makes life so much easier for store owners and managers during Christmas. Whether you’re managing extra members of staff or simply planning for longer opening hours, our workforce management software can help you take the festive period so much easier. Such a powerful system assists retailers to:

  • Create unlimited staff roles and give restricted permissions to certain actions.
  • Make strategic scheduling based on each employee’s weaknesses and strengths.
  • Get comprehensive and accurate reports about staff performance.
  • Get detailed shift reports including clock-in, clock-out, cash-ins, cash-outs, tips management, etc.
  • Easily manage payroll. 
Cash flow management in each shift in POS
Cash flow management in each shift in POS

In a nutshell

As we’re reaching the end of today’s article, we’re one step closer to a successful holiday season for your food & drink retail businesses. We hope that we helped and you could form a picture of how to make the most out of this Christmas season with our best holiday hacks for food & drink retailers. As mentioned earlier, you can always seek help from available advanced technologies out there, including a POS system with its meaningful and handy features to make your business thrive while making your life so much easier. 

Longing for a powerful POS software to get your business fully ready for the upcoming promising sales season? Why don’t you take a look at one of the leading POS software which is feature-rich and technologically advanced? We, ConnectPOS, take our pride in being capable of offering robust and well-functioning features including:

Still feeling unsure? Contact us, or book your 14-day free trial below to experience our global standard product yourself!


ConnectPOS is the retail pos system in the ecosystem. ConnectPOS gladly presents a comprehensive training guide ebook tailor-made for cashiers in the retail business.
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About the Author

Hann P.

Hann P.

Hann P. is a digital marketing executive at ConnectPOS. Being fascinated with Fintech and E-commerce, she has been keeping an eye on particularly how technology has been changing the game in the fields.

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