You know Christmas, and Hanukkah, and Kwanza, and Festivus… but are you ready with any other restaurant promotions to rock out December? While consumers are going crazy preparing for the holidays, you can attract them to your restaurant by offering comforting specials, touches of nostalgia, or the spirit of generosity from some alternative December holidays.
With these ideas for restaurant promotions, we wish you and yours a prosperous holiday season and a happy new year of increased sales!
December 5: National Comfort Food Day
When the winter winds are howling, we seek solace in hearty dishes like stews, roasts, and casseroles. But as the days get shorter and people are busy preparing for the holidays, there’s less time to cook these home-style meals. That’s where your restaurant promotions can step up to the dinner plate with comforting specials like mac ‘n’ cheese, chili, or even chili mac.
You can also get a leg up on 2018 food trends by offering healthy takes on comfort food, such as cauliflower crust pizza or zucchini lasagna. For extra credit (and extra restaurant promotions), you can incorporate vegan food trends in your specials. Creamy sauces can be made with butternut squash, cashews, or nutritional yeast, while mushrooms, lentils, seitan, and jackfruit give the umami flavors we crave.
December 6: Mitten Tree Day
‘Tis the season to show appreciation for the community. Drawing inspiration from a children’s book by Candace Christiansen, local businesses celebrate this holiday with winter clothing drives to benefit the less fortunate in their communities.
If making charitable donations is a priority for your restaurant, you can participate by contacting a local charity or shelter to ensure they will accept your donations. Then put up an evergreen and encourage customers via signage and social media to bring new mittens, hats, scarves, and other winter essentials to drape over the tree.
You can also put out a donation box to accept monetary donations in addition to the winter clothing. Be sure to keep a count so your employees and customers know how much they contributed at the end of the drive – and post plenty of photos of the Mitten Tree on your social channels.
December 21: Humbug Day
With stressful shopping trips, bumper-to-bumper traffic, and “Little Drummer Boy” played on a loop, it’s easy to see where Scrooge was coming from. Help your customers cure their holiday blues with “Christmas Carol”-themed specials on this day. The catch is that mince pies and figgy pudding aren’t as popular as they were in Dickens’ days, so you’ll have to get creative.
Think: Tiny Tim’s Not-So-Tiny Turkey Leg or Fezziwig’s Fondue – because a melted pot of cheese would make even the humbuggiest Scrooge smile. If you’re looking to celebrate the season in a more secular way, December 21 is also the Winter Solstice, making it the perfect day to promote your winter menu specials.
December 28: National Box of Chocolates Day
Forrest’s momma was right, life is like that unpredictable box of chocolates – but wouldn’t it be nice to get the one that brings more customers to your restaurant? By hosting a “Forrest Gump” viewing party, you can attract those looking to relax with friends at your restaurant.
Don’t have screens? You can also host a 90s movie trivia night and offer themed food and drink specials. Chocolate desserts are a no-brainer, but your specials on this day aren’t just limited to chocolate. Say it with me, folks: “There’s pineapple shrimp, lemon shrimp, coconut shrimp, pepper shrimp, shrimp soup, shrimp stew, shrimp salad, shrimp and potatoes, shrimp burger, shrimp sandwich…”
December 30: National Bacon Day
While we’re at it, bacon-wrapped shrimp sounds amazing too. Although to be honest, anything with bacon is a crowd-pleaser. Bacon is the food trend that’s here to stay, so taking advantage of this holiday with bacon specials at your restaurant. You can stick to classics like bacon cheeseburgers, BLTs, or bacon-wrapped dates.
But if you want to take a more unique spin on the bacon craze, consider specials like bacon jam, bacon kale salad, bacon ranch pizza, bacon brownies, or maple bacon cupcakes. You can’t go wrong even with something as simple as a basket of crispy bacon… unless you don’t eat meat.
And vegetarians don’t have to miss out on the bacon fun, either. If you have a veggie-loving customer base, you can offer “facon” made from seitan, tofu, tempeh, or even coconut meat. The trick is to get that smoky flavor from soy sauce, smoked paprika, or liquid smoke.
Want to make the most of the holiday rush with restaurant promotions and more? Download our free guide to making the most of the holidays: