Party Planning - Christmas 2018 BACK

Party Planning for Christmas 2018

Press Releases | 18th September 2018

Over half of workplaces have their Christmas party booked by October.

  • 63% say their company will have a Christmas party this year
  • Over half (52%) say their office Christmas party is booked by October
  • 48% pay for their own work party
  • 56% will be changing their menu to reflect current food trends and 53% say they will be adding more gluten and dairy free options
  • 70% spend up to €50 per person on their Christmas party meal excluding drinks
  • Wine is the most popular drink (36%), 16% champagne / prosecco, 12% spirits and 11% beer
  • 51% want to see traditional Christmas fare on the menu
  • 22% would like to see more variety on the office Christmas party menu
  • 81% dine out up to four times during Christmas excluding the Christmas party
  • 31% of restaurant and bar owners plan their Christmas party menu 3-4 months in advance

It might only be September, but when it comes to the work Christmas party, the countdown is on! Our recent survey, which was carried out among 841 Irish consumers and 170 restaurants and bar owners, revealed that 63% plan to have a work Christmas party this year and over half (52%) say their party will be booked by October!

The Perfect Party
Over half (54%) will opt for dinner and drinks in a hotel or restaurant while 16% will opt for drinks and nibbles. The work Christmas party is such a landmark occasion in the office calendar that a quarter admit to starting to talk about what they are going to wear, and who is going to the party months in advance! The survey also reveals that as a nation we love to dine out with 81% saying they will dine out up to four times over the Christmas period in addition to their work party.

Party Planning
As one of the busiest times of the year for the foodservice industry, it’s no surprise that forward planning is essential. Of the 170 restaurant and bar owners polled, 31% say they plan their menu 3-4 months in advance with 47% putting on a specific menu for the party season. While traditional Christmas party food features heavily, 56% say they are adapting their menu this year to cater for new food trends and 53% will be adding more dairy and gluten free options. 1 in 5 say October is the most popular time for bookings while 12% say their restaurant is booked up by September.

The Price of a Party
The Christmas party survey finds that 70% spend up to €50 per person on their Christmas party meal excluding drinks. Just under half (48%) pay for their own work party, while 23% say their company contributes to it. A further 23% say their company pays for everything.

Festive Favourites
Wine is the most popular drink with over a third (36%) opting for a glass of wine to get them into the festive spirit at the office party. 16% say champagne or prosecco is their Christmas party tipple of choice followed by spirits (12%) and beer (11%).

What’s on the Menu?
While 1 in 5 (22%) of party goers would like to see more variety on the menu, just over half (51%) want traditional Christmas fare such as roast turkey and Christmas pudding on the menu. In line with the growing trend for ‘free from’ food options, 10% would like to see more dairy and gluten free options available in restaurants during the festive season.

Commenting on the findings, Desi Derby, Marketing Director, Musgrave MarketPlace said:

“Christmas is one of the busiest times for the foodservice industry and our survey reveals that many of us have already booked or are in the process of booking our Christmas party. It was also interesting to see that the demand for gluten and dairy free options on the menu continues to grow and over half of restaurant owners are planning to add these options to their set menu this year.

In our own business, we have seen the free from sector grow significantly. In the last three years we have added 200 new products to the range and sales in this category have grown by 80%.”

Musgrave MarketPlace customer Oliver Byrne at Press Up Group said:

“Our Christmas preparations are already well underway at The Press Up Group. We start getting calls for bookings as early as July, but September and October are our busiest times for Christmas party reservations. This year diners at our restaurants can expect classic Christmas favourites along with contemporary dishes, great drinks and a festive ambience. We would urge those thinking of coming to one of our restaurants over the Christmas period to book early to avoid disappointment.”