One way to set your restaurant apart from the competition is by running savvy holiday marketing campaigns. By taking advantage of annual celebrations in interesting ways, you can not only boost your short-term sales, but also set yourself up for success for years to come if you run these promotions consistently. Here are a few holiday marketing tips to keep in mind for your restaurant.
In the days of social media, you should be actively promoting your holiday specials on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and maybe even Snapchat, Google+, or other social channels. These platforms offer free ways to highlight your restaurant's brand image and make your personality shine. During the holidays, you can use each channel to offer unique promotions to encourage customers to come in, spread the word, or spend more than they normally would.
Send out E-mails to Your Customer Base
It's vital to reach out to your e-mail list (you're collecting e-mail leads at your restaurant, right?) whenever you run a holiday marketing campaign. Be as detailed as you can about any specials you're serving—people can easily be swayed by a delectably described dish. You should also advertise your holiday hours in highly visible places because potential diners may assume that you're closed on holidays when you're not.
If it fits into your budget, consider running ads in local holiday gift guides (if applicable), and if it fits into your schedule, take part in holiday charity events to promote your restaurant's socially conscious side. You can even run raffles (in person and on your website) to help spread the word and get potential customers in the door.
Consider Offering Holiday Catering
If you've been collecting e-mails and have a big database of customers, you may want to alert them that you offer catering for the holidays. The potential for boosting your profits is enormous if you have qualified leads (social followers count here, too), and you don't even have to tweak your existing menu to shift into this line of business.
It's important to consider whether your staff has the capacity and skill to handle adding an entirely new operation into the mix. However, if you identify that an opportunity exists for seasonal catering in your locale, this could be a great holiday marketing campaign for your business.
Create Themed Menus
Unless you're running a restaurant where the menu changes frequently, chances are that you and your kitchen staff are bored of preparing the same dishes every shift. Luckily, holidays are the perfect time to offer a themed menu to your guests. You can let your creativity shine, whether you opt to add a-la-carte holiday dishes to your existing rotation, or offer a prix fixe holiday menu in addition to your normal menu (or in its place).
If you stick with conventional specials, you'll likely bring in business that you might not otherwise have received. On the other hand, if you want to mix it up, you can even let your line cooks suggest ideas for holiday specials. Choose your favorite ideas to run in order to reward and motivate your staff.
Holidays are fun, so how you market your restaurant should reflect that spirit. Let every holiday be an excuse to do something that's both enjoyable for you and your staff, and profitable when you crunch the numbers.