It’s that time of year again to start getting ready for the holidays! With the highs and lows of the past couple years, get ready to put your restaurant into holiday-mode and bring a little cheer to the community you serve.
Deck the Halls
Decorating your space for any of the upcoming holidays can really set the mood and atmosphere in your restaurant for the holiday season. But you don’t need a Rockefeller Christmas tree budget to decorate your space! If you’re in need of more decor, hit up your local thrift stores, especially at the beginning or end of the season when people may be throwing their old decorations to make room for new. There’s nothing that twinkly lights and a little garland can’t fix!
Show Your Appreciation
You and your staff have been through a lot with the pandemic and labor shortages, so it’s important to show them a little extra appreciation this holiday season. Whether you are able to give out bonuses, want to host a holiday party just for them, or offer some vacation time, they will surely appreciate it. Rewarding them for their hard work in general can boost morale and make them feel seen. Just don’t forget them when it comes to planning your holiday out!
Similar to showing your staff some extra kudos, you can also show your love to your top, loyal customers. If you have some sort of VIP club of customers that have stood by your side, especially during these times, let them know how much you appreciate it! Have a members-only Friendsgiving event or gift them a special discount to use during a certain month, some way to show them that you notice their loyalty and are thankful.
This may be already in your plan, but including seasonal flavors on your menu is always a good way to get your restaurant in the holiday spirit! Apple, pumpkin, peppermint, caramel, cranberry, and gingerbread are all great ones to integrate into your food and cocktail menu to spice things up. Look for ways to effectively add these flavors into dishes you may already offer to cut down on any extravagant food costs. Rebranding your offerings with a festive flair can spark interest for loyal and new customers.
Make It To-Go
With the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, customers may be looking to you to do the cooking. Make sure your to-go or delivery menu is completely updated with your available offerings wherever it is posted to give customers a seamless ordering process. If you prefer customers to order from you this way, you can even incentivize them to do so with a virtual punch card or some sort of small discount when they order a certain amount. A robust to-go/delivery menu is important to supplement your in-restaurant traffic!
Position Yourself at Events
Get in on the community fun! Does your community have holiday events like a light up night or parades that occur during the holiday season? Capitalize on this extra foot traffic by being open during these kinds of events. Offer a limited menu or grab-and-go options to event-goers to bring them into your space before they go on their merry way!
Give Where You Can
While everyone is poring over their shopping lists, the holidays are also a time of giving. You can help your customers feel extra satisfied when they dine at your establishment by providing opportunities for them to give back as well. Sponsor your local food cupboard and give customers a small discount when they bring in a canned good. Support a local school by helping them fundraise or do a cold weather gear drive in their honor. Select a charity to donate portions of a particular menu item to at the end of the season. There are many ways your restaurant can give back to the community and have your customers join in as well!
Gifting Made Easy
Everyone likes an incentive! Run a gift card promotion for the holiday season such as buy a $100 gift card and get $20 free (or whatever denominations you want to offer) to bring not only the recipient of the gift card in, but the purchaser as well. This kind of promotion works best when you calculate the average bill at your restaurant and your breakeven point to make sure you’re not throwing money out the window. With this promotion, you can keep customers coming back while also helping them cross a gift off their list.
Provide your customers with a unique holiday experience that they’ll never forget. Host a ticketed event like a cocktail-making class, craft lesson, paint & sip, or a holiday preview of your new festive dishes that will attract loyal and new customers looking for festive happenings. To figure out your ticket price, add the cost of the included items, plus any additional services per person, so the event is profitable for you and enjoyable for the customer.
Market Your Space
Make the most out of your square footage this holiday season! More than ever, your customers may be looking for a neutral location for their next holiday party to keep the fun going, just not at their own homes, and you can be that space. Market your extra room or a time your restaurant isn’t traditionally open to make the parties more private and secluded from everyday customers (another selling point!). Just be sure to factor in these parties when you’re looking at your staff schedule to keep everyone happy.
For every customer-facing event or service you’re offering this year, be sure to utilize your social media channels to promote your happenings! The time and effort you spent putting these ideas in motion isn’t efficient if no one knows about them.
Make your mark on your staff, customers, and community by bringing holiday cheer into their lives with these ideas! What other holiday ideas do you like to incorporate? Let us know below!