Colleen McGrew, Senior Social Media & Email Specialist
Colleen McGrew, Senior Social Media & Email Specialist

It’s time to check Holiday prep & promotions off your list!

The holiday season is officially here and whether you’ve been listening to Mariah Carey’s Christmas album for weeks or are just now tossing out your leftover Halloween candy, it’s the perfect time to connect with customers in the most festive ways. While it might be the most wonderful time of the year, it can also be the most stressful, but with these five marketing strategies, your restaurant will be sure to ‘sleigh’ the holiday season and be your guests’ holiday go-to.

Get in the Holiday Spirit – To make sure guests choose your restaurant as their holiday party and dinner destinations, set yourself apart with holiday inspired dishes and drinks. Have your mixologists craft unique cocktails with a twist, while your chefs create special menu items, all featuring seasonal ingredients. Whether you choose to feature a special prix-fixe menu, or make it a la carte, guests will be rushing to get a taste before the deals expire in the New Year.

Take it a step further and decorate the restaurant itself with stringed lights and garlands to create just the right setting guests are looking for when booking their events and making reservations. Capture the magic and showcase your new menu items, specialty cocktails, and decorated dining rooms across social media. Not only does this entice loyal guests to come in for something special, but they’re more likely to share and spread the joy across their own social media platforms, encouraging friends and family to stop in as well. Consider sending a preview of the dishes to your eClub, all while making sure your Call to Action buttons lead customers to making reservations.

We’ll Come to You – While it’s definitely a focus to push holiday bookings at the restaurant, many families and offices will either be hosting at home or on location. Create a catering package with a mix of classic staples (i.e. turkey and the trimmings) mixed with a few dishes true and unique to your restaurant.

Even if you don’t offer typical catering services, make sure to have holiday sides, desserts, or hors d-oeuvres available for pickup.

This is the perfect way to connect with your current audiences and become a reliable resource for them during this busy time, making them think of you first for their next event. Their party guests will also be impressed and more likely to visit the restaurant or book you for their own future event.

No Time like the Present – Reward your loyal guests with a gift! Whether it’s a free appetizer or 15% off their next visit, guests will not only feel appreciated, but compelled to dine at the restaurant in the coming weeks. In the weeks before sending the gift to your eClub, make sure to invite social media followers to sign up for the eClub and hint that they’ll receive something special in the coming weeks. This will not only solidify customer loyalty, but will increase your email list for future campaigns.

Stocking Stuffers – One of the most stressful events of the season is finding the perfect gift. Everyone is on the hunt for the best deal so make yourself stand out. Offer an incentive like, “For every $100 spent in gift cards, receive an additional $25.” Consider doubling the special on Black Friday and invite guests to check everyone off their shopping list. By offering a special deal to your loyal patrons, they will not only be excited to find something for their loved ones, but those loved ones have the potential to become new loyal customers as well. Keep it easy, simple, and rewarding!

Santa’s Helpers – It’s important to remember that the holiday season is also the season of sharing and giving. Become a Toys for Tots drop-off location by registering online, host a clothing drive, and/or organize a holiday themed fundraiser where a percentage of the proceeds go to a local or national charity. Promote your efforts via social media to spread the word and invite guests to join in giving back to the community.

Go above and beyond for your guests this holiday season, and they’ll be excited to spend the most special time of the year with you. Keep these five tips in mind during your holiday prep and you’ll be sure to have the happiest holiday season yet!

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