Realizing the full capability of the holiday spirit requires planning and creative marketing. Restaurants have the chance to deliver memorable dining experiences that diners will cherish with families and friends gathering to mark the season.
Joyful music and crafted festive menus help create an atmosphere of indulgence and celebration. The most magical time of the year for restaurants is the holiday season.
This article will explore strategies restaurants can use to develop holiday marketing that attracts customers and drives income.
Your target audience
The starting point for effective holiday marketing is gaining wisdom from your customers. Their demographics, methodology for studying consumers, and changing needs during the festive season should inform your marketing campaigns.
Who comes in the most?
Older folks may come in more if they have big family meals. But don’t forget younger people too. They like to try fun new holiday foods.
How Much Money Do Customers Have?
Aim ads at people with enough money to eat out more. Holidays are when they like to spend on nice meals.
What brings customers in?
Many come in groups, like families or friends getting together. Show them foods and deals they can share.
Where are your customers from?
Market both to regular locals and tourists in town for the holidays. Reach everyone you can.
What feelings matter most?
Play up cozy feelings of family, tradition, and childhood memories. Help make their holidays special.
Get to know your typical holiday visitors. Think about their age, budget, who they come with, where they are from, and what makes them feel the holiday spirit. Use this to make your marketing right for them.
Holiday Marketing Goals
Define specific, quantifiable goals so you can gauge the success of campaigns and make data-driven decisions.
Key Performance Indicators for the Holidays
This holiday season, entice patrons by satisfying their festive cravings and creating magical moments. While doing so, align with measurable goals and data driven KPIs.
By providing holiday cheer along with quantifiable results, you can unwrap a truly successful festive season.
- Note increased customer visits during the festive season. Use this to evaluate interest in your special offerings.
- Track customer orders of specialty holiday dishes. Analyze which menu items resonate most.
- Evaluate open and click-through rates for festive email campaigns. Refine strategies as needed.
- Review likes, shares and comments on holiday social media posts. Determine successful social media engaging customers.
- Monitor the revenue generated from holiday-themed seasonal promotions. Assess the financial impact.
Finding customer preferences
Spotlight your festive ambiance and holiday entertainment to attract diners seeking an experience. Promote unique dishes like roasted turkey, ham, Yule log cake, and mulled wine. Comfort cuisine and festive flavours are in demand. Offer holiday prix fixe menus and promotions to appeal to budget-conscious celebrants. easy takeout, delivery, and catering for time-strapped hosts.
Aligning goals with brand messaging
Ensure marketing aligns with your core brand awareness. For example:
- Fine Dining: Emphasize gourmet holiday dishes and classic atmosphere
- Family Style: Spotlight family bundles, kids menus, and cozy setting
- Fast Casual: Promote speed and convenience of holiday catering and takeout
Creating a Festive Restaurant Ambiance
New Year Eve’s promotion ideas
Have a countdown to midnight with champagne toasts and party favors at midnight.
- Promote this on social media and with email blasts.
- Partner with local transportation companies like Uber/Lyft to offer discounts on rides to and from your restaurant on NYE.
- Reduce drunk driving and get more customers.
- Host a NYE-themed event like a masquerade party or roaring 20’s theme.
- Encourage fancy dress and promote weeks in advance.
- Offer a complimentary midnight champagne toast for all guests, or give party hats/favors when guests arrive.
Decor and music
- Hang up twinkling lights, wreaths, snowflakes and other decorations that sparkle to make your restaurant glow.
- Put up and decorate a Christmas tree for everyone to enjoy.
- Use fun holiday plates, cups and napkins at each table.
- Put wintery decorations in your windows, like a gingerbread house and fake snow.
Staff Attire and Training
- Make fancy, elegant decorations for fine dining restaurants.
- Have homey, comfy decor for family-friendly restaurants.
- Use bright, playful decor for casual restaurants.
- Decorating for the season helps make your restaurant extra special. People will come enjoy the holiday spirit you create!
- During the holidays, make your restaurant look extra special and festive. This will help get customers excited and happy for the season.
Crafting Special Holiday Menus
Entice customers with holiday flavors by designing limited-time menus around seasonal ingredients.
Unique Holiday Entrees
- Roast turkey breast with cranberry chutney
- Braised short ribs with fig sauce
- Baked ham with pineapple glaze
- Chestnut stuffed Cornish game hen
Signature holiday cocktails
- Candy cane martini
- Spiced mulled wine
- Cranberry vodka smash
- Hot buttered rum
- Gingerbread cheesecake
- Peppermint pot de creme
- Yule log cake with chocolate ganache
- Eggnog creme brulee
Promotions to Drive Holiday Marketing
Grab diners’ attention with limited time offers designed to boost income during your busy season.
Holiday Happy Hour Specials
Draw in loyal customers with extended happy hours featuring:
- Discounted holiday cocktails
- Appetizer specials like bacon-wrapped dates
- Two-for-one select menu items
- Free holiday cookie platter with entree purchase
Seasonal Prix Fixe Menus
Offer prix fixe menus pairing holiday dishes with regular menu favorites at an attractive fixed price.
Festive Family Meals
Appeal to groups with family-style bundles that provide savings, such as:
- Roast turkey dinner for 4 with sides, starting at $XX
- Holiday tamale platter with rice and beans, serving 4-6 people
Encourage gift card purchases with incentives like:
- Purchase $100 gift card, get $20 bonus card free
- Gift card buyers entered to win holiday meal kit
Engaging customers on social media
Leverage social media to spur excitement, showcase your holiday flair, and reach new diners.
Festive Social Media Content
- Photos of decorated restaurants, table settings, and holiday dishes
- Videos of chefs decorating gingerbread cookies
- Holiday music playlists or carolers performing in restaurants
- Promotions like gift card giveaways or holiday meal deals
Social Holiday Marketing Hashtags
Social media contests
- Ugly sweater Instagram photo contest
- Facebook challenge to spot hidden holiday items in photos
Email Marketing for Holiday Promotions
Email enables you to share holiday offerings directly with your customer base.
Festive Email Newsletters
Highlight your menu, event details, promotions, and more through engaging email newsletters sent to your list.
Collaborations and Partnerships
Teaming up with other businesses through strategic collaborations and partnerships can enhance your holiday marketing reach and success.
Exploring potential cross-promotions
- Offer a free holiday dessert when customers show a receipt from a nearby retailer.
- Give a discount on holiday catering to local offices and holiday party hosts.
- Partner with ridesharing apps to offer discounts on holiday bar crawls stopping at your restaurant.
- Cross-promote with hotels by including your restaurant gift card in holiday hotel packages.
Building Alliances for Joint Marketing Campaigns
- Co-host a holiday cocktail class or ugly sweater party with a local distillery or brewery.
- Produce a holiday gift guide with other small businesses showcasing each other’s products.
- Promote a “Miracle on Main Street” holiday campaign with neighboring restaurants, shops, and attractions.
- Partner on holiday fundraising campaigns benefiting local charities, with proceeds from featured menu items donated.
Forging alignments with complementary businesses and participating in community holiday events allows for greater marketing exposure during the busy season. Joint holiday marketing campaigns also build goodwill and expand customer reach. Get creative in exploring partnership ideas for promotions to drive successful holiday sales.
Promotional email campaigns
Distribute holiday offers via dedicated email campaigns with compelling subject lines like:
One week only: Get our 12 Days of Cookies box 50% off!
Your holiday dinner just got easier with catering from [Restaurant Name]
- Set up automated email workflows to:
- Welcome new subscribers with a holiday e-Cookbook
- Wish loyal guests happy holidays and offer a discount
- Thank customers for dining and invite holiday feedback
Tracking Performance and Optimizing Efforts
Continuously monitor marketing performance and tweak strategies to maximize impact.
Key Performance Indicators to Track
- Traffic to holiday landing pages
- Click-through rates on holiday emails
- Codes redeemed from holiday offers
- Customer feedback on holiday food and service
- Analyze and Refine Strategies
- Identify most successful platforms and campaigns
- Eliminate or modify underperforming efforts
- Improve promotions and menus based on customer feedback
- Prepare earlier for next holiday season applying lessons learned
Holiday Marketing Case Study: Tartine Bakery
Tartine Bakery drives significant holiday revenue by transforming into a magical Christmas wonderland. They decorate with thousands of lights, ornaments, garlands, and trees to set a festive mood.
Their menu features seasonal pies, gingerbread, stollen, and signature sweets in holiday shapes. Email and social campaigns build anticipation for new menu items.
In 2020, Tartine generated over 25% of annual revenue during November and December. Their festive marketing attracts both regulars and new customers annually.
The holiday season is the perfect time for restaurants to make special memories and bring people together with fun food and activities. With good planning and creative marketing ideas, restaurants can get more customers to come in during the holidays. The key is making your marketing about what matters most to your customers during the holidays.
To have a great holiday season, restaurants should:
- Make holiday menus with yummy festive foods
- Offer fun promotions and deals
- Decorate to get people in the holiday spirit
- Host parties and events to bring the community together
- Use holiday decorations and music to create a festive mood
- Plan marketing early and keep changing it to make it work better
By focusing on delicious food, holiday cheer, togetherness, and what customers love about the season, restaurants can have their most successful holidays ever! The holidays are all about making memories. Clever marketing helps restaurants create wonderful holiday moments that keep people coming back each year.
Here are some key takeaways:
- Learn about your holiday customers – Look at who comes in, what they want, their ages, where they’re from. Use this.
- Set goals you can track – Watch holiday sales, how many people come in, social media likes. Use numbers to improve.
- Make a festive mood – Put up holiday decorations, music, have staff wear Santa hats. Make it feel festive.
- Offer holiday foods – Make special menus with yummy holiday drinks, cookies, meals for the season.
- Run holiday deals – Do fun promotions like free dessert with dinner or holiday meal bundles people can share.
- Use social media – Post about your holiday foods and decor. Run contests people can enter to win prizes.
- Optimize efforts – Track performance, refine marketing strategies, start planning early
With thoughtful preparation and strategic marketing campaigns, restaurants can spread holiday cheer while achieving their business objectives. Creative promotions, great food and a celebratory setting are sure to make the season bright.