How Your Restaurant Can Capitalize on the Holiday Season


With all the hustle and bustle of finding gifts and making sure everything is just right, the holiday season is busy for everyone. With your competitors trimming the tree and decking the halls, you’ll want to make sure your restaurant stands out. It’s the time in a year when people are looking to spend some serious money and there are a few things you can do to take advantage of every opportunity to attract them with fresh ideas and bring business to your restaurant. Of course you will do your best to provide memorable experiences for each one of them and strive to get new guests to walk through your doors. But how to do that?

These are a few tips to help you entice customers to venture out of the comfort of their homes this holiday season and bring their holiday spirit into your restaurant.


were-openStay Open
Every year more and more people are deciding to dine out for Thanksgiving. The National Restaurant Association predicts that more than 15 million people will eat out for Thanksgiving this year. Consumers don’t want to deal with the hassle of cooking all that food and the massive aftermath of dishes and leftovers. This is where your restaurant can save the day by providing them with a stress free, delicious meal. If you decide staying open on Thanksgiving Day is for you, offer a traditional turkey dinner for the families looking for a home cooked meal without all the trouble.

Takeout Options

If staying closed on Thanksgiving is a priority, but you still want to take advantage of the holiday sales, try offering precooked sides that patrons can pick up a day or two before Thanksgiving. Customers will appreciate not having to cook more than necessary, and you will appreciate their business. They might even decide to make your side a new holiday tradition, and who doesn’t love repeat business? Offering takeout options is a way you can have your pumpkin pie, and eat it too.

chef-counter-bowlsHost a Food Drive

Another option would be to run a food drive. Have a designated area in your waiting area where patrons can donate canned goods for the local food shelter. To bring in even more customers consider offering a discount on food with a nonperishable food donation. Customers will take note of your good deeds and might consider becoming a regular at a business that cares for the community.

Host a Tips from the Chef Night

Another option owners might want to consider is hosting an event before Thanksgiving. Take reservations and on a specific night, serve your guests a Thanksgiving meal. Then once things have calmed down a little and the meals are served, have your Chef visit tables and be available for questions on how to cook that perfect turkey. Most people are intimidated at the thought of cooking a whole turkey themselves so they will appreciate the advice and personal attention. This offers customers not only tips from a professional, but a night out on the town.  Plus such great customer service will have them returning even after the holiday season is over.




Decorating for the holiday season can really add to the atmosphere in your establishment. White twinkle lights are a simple touch that can bring some magic and wonder to an everyday setup. In addition to traditional decorations take advantage of some of the benefits of alternative designs. The Christmas tree made from champagne glasses decorated with lights, or different colored liquids in them will be an original and attractive decoration in your restaurant. It is also a conversation starter among guests.

Have your decorations ready to go from harvest into a holiday theme. Purchase your decorations ahead of time and then pick a slower day, perhaps during the week, to bring holiday cheer to your restaurant.

Having a cheerful holiday atmosphere could be a deciding factor in whether a business chooses your location to host their holiday party. If would be a shame to miss out on such an opportunity due to decorations.

Also be sure to promote your holiday wonderland on social media. People love to visit locations that have gotten into the holiday spirit and are sure to share their experience. More sharing equals more customers!


If you are looking to add catering to your lineup, now is the time. Many offices are holding holiday parties between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day and are looking for places to accommodate their needs. To meet their needs try to have veggie and vegan meal options available. This is an area that can often be overlooked but can be the difference between getting their business and being passed over.

It is also easier to train new staff for catering. Often people are looking for extra work during the holidays, seasonal workers can help manage the new part of your business through the busy holidays. It also can be helpful to your kitchen staff if you have a special holiday menu. If they have a general idea of what they will be cooking they can better prepare to accommodate the larger groups.


Offer Coupons

Do you have regulars who frequent your establishment? Let them know how much you appreciate their business by sending them a holiday card with a coupon inside. For example, a free dessert would be nice way to entice them in the doors and convince them to purchase an entree.

But be cautious, it is important to make sure the card stays a card and does not become an advertisement, as you don’t want to lose the meaning behind the gesture. By placing a coupon in the card it lets your guests know that you appreciate them and encourages return business. While a paper card is heart-warming, many restaurants with email programs can utilize a digital coupon and save on postage.

Another benefit of sending cards is that customers might talk about your card with friends, and word of mouth is the best advertising you can get (especially in the social network age.)

Coupons are also a great way to prepare for the lull that happens after the holiday season. When your staff takes the customer their receipt consider slipping in a few coupons that are good in January through February to encourage continued patronage during those slower months. Not only will they appreciate the gesture but also feel encouraged to return.

Give a Gift

Having gift cards available are a must for the holiday season. Many people are not sure what to purchase for that long lost cousin, or the co-worker they got in the office’s secret Santa. You can be there to offer them this viable option. It also works out great for a restaurant owner. About 72% of people spend more than the value of their gift card when they dine at a restaurant. Try to offer holiday themed cards to catch the eye of your customers.

Offering gift cards is also a great way to get first time visitors in the door and make them lifelong patrons.

Organize a Charity Dinner

5398146515_024b48dfaa_bSpread the holiday spirit by organizing a charity dinner in your restaurant. The holiday season is a time of giving and donations. During this season people are thinking more about others than usual. That’s why it is a great time to organize a charity event. Choose a cause that is close to your heart or your communities and inform people about the event through traditional media and social media. The media will be happy to promote such an event, especially during this time of year. Create a flyer, and use it as part of your restaurant holiday promotion.

Participate in a charity event by offering a certain percentage of the proceeds that night to go to charity. Invite members from the organization you have selected to add a personal touch. They’ll also help to promote your business and the event. You will be helping those in need and building a caring reputation for your restaurant, creating a win-win situation.

The holiday season offers many opportunities for promoting your business and thanking your customers for the wonderful year you’ve had. Don’t miss out because of a lack of planning. It is best to start advertising for these promotions 4-6 weeks in advance. By implementing unique promotions you can help your restaurant stand out from all the other deals going on during the season.

I wish you happy holidays and a bustling restaurant!


2nd Annual East Coasters’ Favorite Things

East Coast Chair & Barstool staff picks

The tree has been strung with lights all aglow, and we at East Coast Chair & Barstool are eagerly awaiting Santa’s ho ho ho!  Last year, one of our very first blog articles featured our staff’s favorite things for this festive season.  Because it was such a hit and we’re all in the holiday spirit once again, we thought we should share our new list of hot items and must haves.  I’ve polled the elves, and here are their votes for 2012’s favorite furniture offerings.

Amish-made solid wood tables


After moving into our new office and warehouse space in October, we’ve been able to expand our in-house production line to include solid wood table tops.  We’re all very excited about these!  Made by our on-staff Amish craftsmen, our table tops use either red oak (shown) or beech solid wood and can be stained in four standard colors (natural, cherry, walnut, mahogany) or custom stained per request. Traditional and elegant, these solid wood table tops offer a natural beauty that cannot be denied.

restaurant booths


We keep our production team busy, busy, busy, because when they’re not making table tops or assembling our chairs and bar stools, they are building and stocking our restaurant booths.  These Amish-made booths come in singles or doubles, standard black or wine vinyl or a plethora of choice vinyl colors by Naugahyde, with or without crumb strips, with or without wooden trim, and with smooth backs or multi-channel seaming.  With lots of options that all look amazing, these booths are commercial grade and use quality parts and materials. Plus, they also offer a comfy place to sit!

outdoor restaurant chair


One of our staff members is admittedly nearly obsessed with the next item on our favorite things list!  Our Stella chair which was introduced in the springtime features an aluminum frame and plastic wicker weaving that shows off a star-shaped pattern.  Great for outdoor restaurants and cafes, this chair is also lightweight and easy to carry from our staff’s back porch to her backyard campfire.

trendy bar stools


Last fall, we launched our Steel City Collection of restaurant chairs and bar stools that combine the warm  look of wood with the trendy, chic look of metal. A few of the East Coasters have Steel City bar stools in their homes, but our customers have really made this one of our most popular lines for bars, restaurants, and even church cafes!

resin restaurant table top


In addition to our solid wood table tops, we carry in-house laminate tables as well as these resin coated table tops.  Designed to look like real wood, these glossy finished resin tops are a beautiful addition to any restaurant table — and at low prices every day, they are a beauty for your budget, too.  Although one of the elves here recommends the natural color, our resin tops also come in walnut, mahogany, or cherry finishes.

black banquet chair


Hurry! If you like this banquet stack chair as much as one of our elves does, you’ll want to act fast, because it is a closeout item right now!  The clearance sales price will make you happy, but once our inventory is gone, this chair will not be available.  With black fabric that features a gold dot pattern, this padded chair has many purposes and stacks easily for storage.

retro bar stool


Now that I, myself, have been at East Coast Chair & Barstool for over a year, I’ve had plenty of time to think up what my favorite item would be for this year’s list.  Just like my coworkers, I had a hard time deciding on just one product, but this red retro bar stool with double chrome base definitely tops my list.  I think it’s fun and funky, and the cherry red is a bright color that demands attention.  And I like that about this stool.  While it has a certain ‘tude in the throwback style, I think it would also work well in a myriad of designs.  Mixing a little retro flare in a contemporary space is never a bad thing,  in my opinion!


Tolix look-alike chair

Now we’ve come to the most exciting item on our list: a sneak peek for a new 2013 item!  One of our owners is so excited about a new line we’ll be launching this spring, that when I asked him what his favorite item was, he couldn’t keep it a secret any longer!  We have yet to finalize the design or give it a name, but this aluminum and industrial styled chair will be joining our product line up soon!

Whether you’re celebrating Christmas or Hanukkah or not celebrating at all, we wish you a happy holiday season filled with all of your favorite things!