Restaurant Marketing Holiday Preparation: With all the hustle and bustle of finding gifts and making sure everything is just right, the holiday season is busy for everyone. With your competitors trimming the tree and decking the halls, you’ll want to make sure your restaurant stands out. It's the time in a year when people spend a lot of money for presents and joy and you need to take advantage of every opportunity to attract them with fresh ideas and bring business to your restaurant. Of course you will provide memorable experiences for each one of them and maybe even get new guests to walk through your doors. But how to do that?
These are a few tips to help you entice people to venture out of the comfort of their homes this holiday season and bring their holiday spirit into your restaurant.
Every year more and more people are deciding to dine out for Thanksgiving. They don’t want to deal with the hassle of cooking all that food and the massive aftermath of dishes and leftovers. This is where your restaurant can save the day by providing them with a stress free, delicious meal. If you decide staying open on Thanksgiving Day is for you, offer a traditional turkey dinner for the families looking for a home cooked meal without all the trouble.
If staying closed on Thanksgiving is a priority, but you still want to take advantage of the holiday sales, try offering precooked sides that patrons can pick up a day or two before Thanksgiving. Customers will appreciate not having to cook more than necessary, and you will appreciate their business. They might even decide to make your side a new holiday tradition, and who doesn’t love repeat business? This way you can have your pumpkin pie, and eat it, too.
Host a Tips from the Chef Night
Another option owners might want to consider is hosting an event before Thanksgiving. Take reservations and on a specific night serve your guests a Thanksgiving meal. Then while they are eating have your Chef visit tables and be available for questions on how to cook that perfect turkey. Most people are intimidated at the thought of cooking a whole turkey themselves. This offers them not only tips from a professional but a night out on the town.
Decorating for the holiday season can really add to the atmosphere in your establishment. White lights are a simple touch that can bring some magic and wonder to an everyday setup. In addition to traditional decorations take advantage of some of the benefits of alternative designs. The Christmas tree made from champagne glasses decorated with lights, or different colored liquids in them will be an original and attractive decoration in your restaurant. It is also a conversation starter among guests.
Have your decorations ready to go from harvest into a holiday theme. Purchase your decorations ahead of time and then pick a slower day, perhaps during the week, to bring holiday cheer to your restaurant.
If you are looking to add catering to your lineup, now is the time. Many offices are holding holiday parties between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day and are looking for places to accommodate their needs.
It is also easier to train new staff for catering. Often people are looking for extra work during the holidays, seasonal workers can help manage the new part of your business through the busy holidays.
Do you have regulars who frequent your establishment? Let them know how much you appreciate their business by sending them a holiday card with a coupon inside. For example, a free dessert would be nice. It is important to make sure the card stays a card and does not become an advertisement, as you don’t want to lose the meaning behind the gesture. By placing a coupon in the card it lets your guests know that you appreciate them and encourages return business. While a paper card is heart-warming, many restaurants with email programs can utilize a digital coupon.
Also customers might brag about your card with friends, and word of mouth is the best advertising you can get (especially in the social network age.)
Organize a Charity Dinner
Spread the holiday spirit, by organizing a charity dinner in your restaurant. The holiday season is a time of giving and donations. During this season people are thinking more about others than usual. That’s why it is a great time to organize a charity event. Choose a cause that is close to your heart or your communities and inform people about the event through the media. The media will be happy to promote such an event, especially during this time of year. Create a flyer, and use it as part of your restaurant holiday promotion.
Participate in a charity event by offering a certain percentage of the proceeds that night to go to charity. Invite members from the organization you have selected, to add a personal touch. They’ll also help to promote your business and the event. You will be helping those in need and building a caring reputation for your restaurant, creating a win-win situation.
The holiday season offers many opportunities for promoting your business and thanking your customers for the wonderful year you’ve had. Don’t miss out because of a lack of planning. It is best to start advertising for these promotions 4-6 weeks in advance. By implementing unique promotions you can help your restaurant stand out from all the other deals going on during the season.
The upcoming holidays are the time of year when people are emotional and most people have nice memories when thinking about yearly traditions. Childhood memories are connected with nice people, festivities, gifts and delicious specialties.
The goal of your restaurant’s holiday marketing is to trigger guests’ memories through your restaurant’s atmosphere and the flavors of dishes from your holiday menu. If you manage that, success for your restaurant will be surefire.
- Guest post by Jackie Dods, East Coast Chair & Barstool.