This holiday season, are you sticking with the same marketing strategies as last year? And are those promotions going to help you stand out among your competitors? If you’re looking for new ways to increase restaurant sales in December and January, make a resolution to get creative with these marketing ideas for your business.
December 5: Repeal of Prohibition Day
It’s time to raise a glass to the 21st Amendment. This holiday is essentially the Thanksgiving equivalent for bars: those of us who imbibe can give thanks for our freedom to drink up. Celebrate and attract customers with a throwback specials menu featuring classic cocktails like sidecars and highballs. Your bartenders could also do some historical digging into lesser-known cocktails that were popular in the ‘30s, like the Ward Eight (rye whiskey, lemon juice, orange juice, and grenadine) or the Goat’s Delight (kirschwasser, brandy, cream, orgeat, and absinthe). Not only will these themed drinks attract customers for the novelty, but as alcohol has a lower cost and higher profit margin, this promotion is a great way to help increase sales.
December 9: Christmas Card Day
If the adult coloring book craze is any indicator, making holiday cards would appeal to grownups and kids alike. Whether your restaurant is full or limited service, offer your customers the option to create cards while they wait for their order – or even while they eat! Your marketing team or someone creative on your staff can create templates your customers can color, or let your guests create their own cards from construction paper. The cards can then be used on display in your restaurant as artwork, showing appreciation for your customers too. If it fits with a charitable organization you support, the cards could be used to send season’s greetings to those in need – whether it’s soldiers overseas or to complement your restaurant’s toy drive.
December 21: Humbug Day
Nothing makes even the grumpiest Scrooge smile like a special snack or a catered lunch. Use this holiday as a tie-in for promoting your baked goods, desserts, takeout, or catering services, especially if your restaurant is located near an office park or downtown area. Market to these customers with messaging encouraging them to get takeout or catering from your restaurant to share at their workplace or home. Delicious treats from your restaurant will get everyone in the holiday spirit and have even the grouchiest Oscar wishing everyone a Happy New Year!
December 23: Festivus
It’s not just for the rest of us – this holiday can be for the rest-aurants too. On a Wednesday this year, Festivus is great for spots that already host trivia or are looking to start trivia nights because Seinfeld-themed trivia is sure to be a hit. Restaurants that want to really be dedicated to the theme can set up a Festivus pole and play Seinfeld episodes on the TVs in the restaurant. You can also promote one-day LTOs as “Festivus miracles”, especially meatloaf, dessert with M&Ms, or doughnut holes (i.e. the opposite of bagels).
National Fat Free Living Month
Once the clock strikes midnight on 2016, many people will be making resolutions to eat healthier, or at least a break from the holiday feasting. This makes for a perfect opportunity to point out your healthiest options on social media or create healthy specials for the month of January. For example, burger spots can offer lettuce bun alternatives, and restaurants serving breakfast can feature egg white omelets. You can also show your dedication to providing healthy options by implementing helpful tools on your menu like keys for healthy categories, like lower fat options, and calorie counts for each menu item. More of an indulgent restaurant? Read on.
January 17: National Ditch New Year’s Resolutions Day
If your menu is full of decadent delights, this is the holiday for promoting your calorie bombs. “Our French fries miss you,” or “Splurge with us. We won’t tell,” make for tempting marketing messages to customers looking for an excuse to indulge. You can also sweeten the deal with tantalizing offers, such as new desserts or prix-fixe meals that are too good to refuse. If you’re promoting these specials on social media, make sure to include alluring food photos. Customers will be enticed even more when they can see the delectable chocolate cake or mouthwatering mac and cheese you’re offering.
January 28: Fun at Work Day
Give your business a boost by posting fun photos of your employees on your social media. This not only acknowledges your appreciation for your team, but it also shows your company culture, which can improve customer sentiment. Depending on your restaurant’s brand, could also hold a contest with your employees like “Create the funniest jingle for the restaurant” or “Share a story about a fun or funny time at the restaurant,” which you can post on social media. On the flip side, this is another opportunity to promote catering specials for the workplace – because what’s more fun than a catered lunch when you’re on the job?
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