Here’s a few ways to market your restaurant during the holiday months that will encourage people to step away from the stove and make a reservation
The holiday season is a great time of year for retail stores and online shopping boutiques, who anticipate the intense flock of customers that crowd the stores, many beginning their sprees before the carving of the Thanksgiving turkey. But for restaurants, this could be a particularly quiet time for business as many families opt to gather for a traditional homecooked meal served around the Christmas tree at home rather than dining out for the holidays. Here’s a few ways to market your restaurant during the holiday months that will encourage people to step away from the stove and make a reservation.
Incorporate Holiday Specials into Your Menu
When people think of the holidays, they generally think of cheerful treats like eggnog, hot cocoa, gingerbread, cranberries, pumpkin…the list goes on. If you already know what customers are in the mood for, why not incorporate them into your menu? Offer holiday-themed cocktails, desserts and entrees to attract some interest and curiosity. When it’s a treat that people will only be able to indulge in once a year, they will be excited to try it, especially after a long day shopping.
Rent Out Event Space
Communities and local businesses often host holiday gatherings at the end of the year as a gift to their neighbors and employees. If your restaurant has some larger rooms that can be spared for private events, deck the space out with some holiday décor and publicly market that it is available. High school and family reunions are also held this time of year when people can come together, so there will be plenty of new faces in town!
Give Back to the Community
Have a cause that you would like to shine some attention on this holiday season? Offer to give a percentage of the profits made off a dish or an entire evening to a specific charity. Customers will be more prone to dine at your restaurant if they know their meal is going towards a worthy cause. Other ideas to get your employees more involved is hosting a toy drive or gift-wrapping services at your restaurant. The donations will be helping those in need and people will associate your restaurant with the cause.
Decorations should not only be reserved for parties. Get in the holiday spirit by adding holiday-themed centerpieces to your tables, stringing Christmas lights along the ceiling and hanging wreaths on the doors. You don’t have to go all out covering every surface with garland but adding a little holiday cheer will get your employees and your guests in the holiday spirit. Sprinkling in some holiday music into your playlist will add some nice background noise as well. Just don’t start too early and annoy your customers before the first day of Fall is crossed off on the calendar. December is an appropriate time to start mixing up the playlist with some Jingle Bells. Playing holiday classics on your TVs in between football games might be nice as well.
Offer Gift Card Incentives
Gift cards are the perfect gift for those acquaintances your just not sure what to give them. People are often inclined to buy for teachers, co-workers, and neighbors to show that they are thinking of them and appreciate them. Offering gift cards at your restaurant will provide them with the perfect idea and they make great stocking stuffers! They may even help you drum up some new business if the recipient hasn’t been to your restaurant.
The holidays don’t just include Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. There are plenty more days in the year to encourage business and ensure a happy holiday season for all. If you’re worried about seeing fewer customers in the coming weeks, try out some of these marketing techniques and close out the year with success!
About the Author: Courtney Ciandella has been the sole Marketing liason for Bielat Santore & Company since 2013. She is also the conductor behind the Who’s Who in the Restaurant Industry and Restaurant Tip of the Month series.