How to optimize your time and reduce your stress levels during holiday periods?

Overwhelmed with work during the holidays

Holiday periods such as Christmas or Easter are stressful for bakers, pastry chefs and caterers because of the work generated by unusually high sales volumes.  As you have more to do during these periods, you must work continuously and at the same time remain organized in order to avoid the consequences of an excessive workload: running out of stock, unhappy customers, long waiting times etc. 

To avoid stress or even burnout and  ensure that you manage these stressful periods without losing your cool, it is necessary to think ahead and be organized.

For example, during off-peak periods, you can prepare your finger foods, Yule logs, epiphany cake, specialty breads, ready-meals, etc. in mass production, allowing you to fully focus on your work and reduce the risk of stress-related injuries and errors. Simply put your products in a deep-freezer, a shock-freezer or a deep-freezing tunnel, and then keep them in a freezer until the holidays. Defrost them in a professional refrigerator for 24 hours prior to when they are needed and voilà: they will be ready to eat. 

 Similarly, you can pre-prepare your chocolate figures and candies and be sure that they will preserve their taste and shine thanks to special chocolate fridges that allow you to store your chocolates in a controlled atmosphere (by temperature and humidity), away from light and odors. Be careful though!  Some cream or oil-based chocolates  can only be stored for a limited time period (see our article “Preserving chocolate”).

Deep-freezing also allows you to save hundreds of euros. At certain times of the year, specific raw materials are on sale. All you have to do is to buy them at a discounted price, deep-freeze them immediately after and to keep them in a freezer until they need to be used (within a certain time limit, see our article about deep-freezing and shelf life). The majority of food products deep-freeze very well without losing their quality - don’t hesitate to ask your suppliers for more information. 

Mass production of Christmas logs on plates ready to deep-freeze - © Luc Olivier
Chocolate Yule Log - © Luc Olivier
Chocolate sculpture, Rudolph the Reindeer -  © Luc Olivier
Raspberries baskets ready to deep-freeze

You can take advantage of the off-peak periods by:

  • Preparing your communications materials: cards, menus, shop displays, etc.,
  • Recruiting extra workers,
  • Placing orders for supplies and raw materials.

 

To ensure that the holiday seasons go smoothly, it is important to remember to: 

  • Trust your colleagues and employees,
  • Know how to delegate,
  • Clear your mind by doing extra-curricular activities (sport, outings with friends, etc.),
  • Get enough sleep in order to stay healthy and face the long days ahead in the best possible state.

 

By being perfectly organized and remaining calm during these stressful periods you can therefore focus on: 

  • Making products that cannot be prepared in advance,
  • Decoration, packaging and customer-service,
  • Responding to last-minute orders,
  • Recording how much you produce and sell  in order to be able to estimate next year’s  demands 

 

Easy to implement, these tips will help you to welcome your customers with a smile.

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