Herring, red cabbage and ham - for many restaurants in Sweden, Christmas tables are by far the most profitable product and December is the month when a large part of the income is to be withdrawn.
But this year it will be difficult.
That's what Christmas table broker Micke Eriksson says, who puts Christmas table-hungry customers in touch with suitable restaurants and party rooms - a total of over 400 in 20 cities.
Normally, orders start arriving as early as January to reach their peak in September and October.
But this year, the number of inquiries has so far plummeted by 80-90 percent.
- Hopefully many have just waited so that the Christmas table orders can take off in November.
Should we reach half of last year, we must be satisfied, but it is doubtful whether it will be so.
The gloomy picture is confirmed by the industry organization Visita, which has calculated that Swedes usually eat Christmas dinner for SEK 3 billion every year.
But hardly 2020, chief economist Thomas Jakobsson predicts:
- It has been a lost year for very many restaurants, and there is nothing to suggest that it would turn around in December.
Far from all restaurants serve Christmas tables, but for those who specialize in it, December risks becoming catastrophic if the uncertainty continues.
- Christmas tables require careful planning of staffing and raw material purchases, and it becomes even more complicated with the infection to handle.
It is a great financial risk you take as a restaurateur and many will probably cancel completely if the bookings do not take off, says Thomas Jakobsson.
Christmas table broker Micke Eriksson believes that many larger companies and organizations, which normally invite hundreds of employees and customers to Christmas tables, choose to break that tradition this year.
The restaurants may instead put their hopes in smaller groups, a target group that actually also makes it somewhat less complicated to infect the Christmas table eating.
Among other things, by limiting the number of guests, introducing table service, separate rooms and longer sessions where one party at a time is released to enjoy the delicacies.
- But it also means poorer profitability, because more staff will be needed when the Christmas dinner guests no longer serve themselves to the same extent.