3 Superior Ways to Promote Your Restaurant During the Holidays

Promote Your Restaurant During the Holidays

Posted: Dec. 04, 2017

The countdown to 2018 has begun! For restaurants, this means it’s about to get busy. Holiday shoppers are eating at unusual hours, and company holiday parties are booked every day of the week. This activity is on top of Christmas holiday dinners, where guests opt to dine out rather than prepare a feast at home for loved ones.

(Eating out on Christmas and New Year’s Day is becoming increasingly common, and while they may be undesirable days to work, in 2015, independent restaurants that stayed open saw increased profits between 40% and 50% higher than on regular working days.)

The holidays are a frenetic time for everyone, and restaurants are the remedy for the day-to-day pressures. Whether it’s with a specialty cocktail or your winter sampling menu, here are two surefire ways of becoming a preferred dining spot during the holidays.

  • Hire ample seasonal staff; wait times are reduced, tables are bussed quicker, and your customers receive better service. Word will get around how well your restaurant runs in spite of the holiday madness.

Additionally, prepare your staff for increased foot traffic and reservations, longer shifts, and higher sales goals. It’s also wise to prepare them for higher standards of customer service since guests are more likely to be stressed and overwhelmed. With their patience waning, customers will be relieved to find an attentive staff that anticipates their needs; water glasses are automatically refilled, soup spoons are provided without fail, and orders are correctly taken. 

  • Decorate your restaurant with seasonal ribbons, garlands, and the like. Done right, decorations can evoke warmth and nostalgia; an irresistible combination.

The next few weeks will be hectic for your restaurant, so take full advantage your restaurant POS system. It’s designed to alleviate stress and improve operations for restaurants.

With the two above areas finalized, you have set the stage to promote your restaurant through the holidays.

3 Ways to Promote Your Restaurant and Brand this Holiday Season

To run successful restaurant promotions, analyze who your customers are and their preferences. Offer discounts, encourage early bookings, and promote your services and events through multiple marketing channels.

The promotional ideas below will position your restaurant to become a memorable part of your customer’s holidays.

Offer Catering Services During the Holidays

Home cooks that prefer to be on the other side of the kitchen counter sipping a Manhattan are living in the right era. No longer are people forced to cook if they don’t want to. Catering services are now ubiquitous with large parties and events, and holiday celebrations are no different.

For restaurants equipped to offer catering services, start this holiday season. On- and off-site catering jobs generate loud buzz for a restaurant; they’re a fast way to widen your net of customers and boost your reputation.

Organize Seasonal Discount Programs

Seasonal loyalty programs are time-sensitive offers from your restaurant. The goal is to incentivize more visits to your restaurant throughout December, and into 2018 if you wish. Choose a seasonal loyalty program that aligns with your goals and would be appealing to your customer base:

  • To encourage group dinners: For every five people that attend, the sixth meal is free. (Ideal if serving a pre-fixed menu.)
  • To promote seasonal specials: Mark seasonal dishes half-off during happy hour, or Holiday Hour.
  • To encourage return visits: Diners receive $20 gift cards for every $100 spent.
  • To bring in more families: Invite children to dine on the house between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m.
  • To attract all customer types: Promote a Holiday Week and give discounts for seven days. It could be a certain percentage off the menu or a discounted holiday menu with special dishes.
  • To build loyalty: Offer guests a discounted coupon redeemable on their next visit, after January 1, 2018.

A seasonal promotional program works wonders for restaurants during the holidays. To capitalize on the increased movement through your doors, be even more organized than usual and prepare your staff with additional training sessions.

Start Selling by the Dozen

During the holidays, there are parties galore and most guests don’t come empty-handed. Instead of the expected wine bottle, help your customers be the guests-with-the-most by offering your favorite cookies, cakes, breads, and small appetizers by the dozen for take away. Depending on how much time your kitchen needs to prepare, make it possible for customers to order in advance or the day of.

To spread the word that customers can order from you:

  • Set up a sign at the hostess desk so guests learn about the option within one minute of their arrival.
  • Have servers talk about the option with every table.
  • Print out small flyers and insert them into every menu.
  • Include a banner on the homepage of your website.
  • Post about it on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
  • Keep talking about it all month long.

The holidays are a wonderful opportunity to build your brand’s reputation, attract new customers, and engage with your community. To become a memorable part of your customer’s holidays, take full advantage of your communication channels, from close interactions with diners to social media followers.

Have you ever thought about starting a loyalty program? Now is a good time. Adapt these ideas for loyalty programs to fit your restaurant concept, or consider offering gift cards.


Posted: Dec. 04, 2017 | Written By: Emma Alois

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