Christmas…it's the most wonderful time of the year. It's also the busiest, most chaotic and hopefully the most profitable time for those of you in the hospitality business. In order to be fully prepared for the Christmas season, planning every detail is essential.

Although it might be the last thing on your mind right now, the right tableware could actually make or break your festive period. After all, Christmas isn’t just about the food we eat; it’s about creating a whole atmosphere.

It's likely that the festive season will bring with it an abundance of first time customers. This is your opportunity to impress them and keep them coming back well into the New Year; after all, you only get one chance to make a first impression. This matters. Do you really want to greet your new customers with tired and chipped tableware? Especially at a time when everything is meant to be so visually appealing! If customers see that you care about how you present your food they will believe that you care about how your food tastes and how well you serve them. This will keep them returning and giving you their hard earned cash month in, month out.

Now is the ideal time to take a look at existing menu items, not forgetting starters, deserts and side dishes, and consider how they can be improved and presented to create a more festive feel. Ensuring you have the most appropriate crockery is an essential part of the process. With such a wide selection of tableware available to purchase through Banks Pottery, it's vital to consider which products will best suit your dishes and your customers. Hearty, home cooked food can look delicious on rustic serving platters that you can pile high with delicious festive fare. High-end, gourmet cuisine may be more suited to minimalist, clean-cut crockery, available in a range of interesting shapes.

Christmas comes around at the same time each year so there is no excuse not to be prepared. Shockingly we are already just weeks away so, if you haven’t already, now is the time to take inventory of your crockery and plan for the festive period. The last thing you want is serving staff having to scrabble around for the right crockery! Harassed serving staff make mistakes which eats into your profits and gives a poor impression your customers. Having the right crockery enables them to focus on serving and enables your business run smoothly.

We’re always surprised by the number of businesses that leave it until the last minute to do a stock take. So many people visit us with that haunted look saying: "We've got 60 in tomorrow and not enough plates, bowls, cups etc." While we’re always happy to help, this ill-timed scramble is unlikely to help you make the best and most cost effective choices for your business.

This year, invest in your business and make sure you have the best chance to meet the demand of the Christmas period. Use this opportunity to fine-tune your menu, and with these new ideas, purchase the most appropriate, durable and cost effective crockery. Give the best impression to your customers this Christmas and ensure your business is a success all year round.