There are several holidays on the horizon for the coming year!. Why not start planning your restaurant holiday promotions early and thinking of ways to leverage these holidays in your own restaurant strategy?

And we’re here to help!

Planning Ahead for Your Restaurant Holiday Promotions

Perhaps you’re thinking, “Why talk about this now? The major holidays are still months away!”

And yes, you’re right. You’re not going to be promoting major holidays right now.

But now is the time to start thinking and planning.

Mark the holidays that you want to promote on your calendar — and don’t forget all of the smaller holidays while you’re at it, such as Mother’s Day, Earth Day, and even Veteran’s Day. If your restaurant features ethnic food, then consider holidays that are specific to your restaurant’s culture — Chinese New Years, Cinco de Mayo, Jamaican Independence Day…you get the point.

And don’t just write it down — set reminders in your phone to give you enough time to plan the details of your holiday promotions.

Starting early also gives you time to plan the menu. We’ll get into this more in the next session, but you’ll want to set aside time to talk with your chef, bartender, and others about how to make the holiday special and create buzz around it.

So don’t put it off — start planning now so that you can make the most of these special days and avoid the stress of throwing things together at the last minute.

Now let’s talk about some specific strategies that you can leverage to make the most of your restaurant holiday promotions.

How to Make the Most of Your Restaurant Holiday Promotions

1. Plan the Menu

It’s a special day — why not have some special dishes to mark the occasion? Around the holidays, people love to see new, exotic dishes on the menu. It excites them to try something new and interesting. And the fact that it’s only available for a limited time creates an undeniable sense of urgency.

Think about what flavors, dishes, and colors are most popular for a holiday and try to create dishes around these details. For example, around Thanksgiving, it could be a pumpkin dessert. Around St. Patrick’s Day, you could lean into a green or Irish-themed dish. Start brainstorming and see where your creative juices lead you!

2. Give People Deals

Deals and promos will always catch people’s attention. Think about what special deals you could offer your customers. It could be that mothers get half off drinks on Mother’s Day, a discount for those who volunteer on Earth Day, or a free appetizer for those who have served in the military on Veteran’s Day. There are many different options to fit your restaurant’s circumstances.

If your restaurant offers online ordering, consider what deals you could offer through your online ordering system. This could be a free side or dessert with orders over a certain amount. You might offer free delivery or guarantee a quick delivery within a certain mile radius.

3. Craft Specialty Drinks for the Occasion

There’s nothing like good spirits to get into the spirit of a holiday. There are plenty of drinks to go with special holidays — egg nog at Christmas, for example. But you don’t have to stick to traditional libations! Think outside the box to create new concoctions that will intrigue and excite your customers.

Even picking out fun names for your drinks can create its own special kind of buzz — think Freedom Martini, Mother’s Pearl, or New Yeaar’s Resolution.

If you have a bartender, talk to him or her about their ideas for specialty cocktails to make the day even more special. And don’t forget to promote them with pictures!

4. Make Your Space Festive

The right decorations and atmosphere can really set the scene for your customers, bringing up feelings of nostalgia, joy, and excitement.

And it doesn’t have to be anything big and over the top. Simple accent colors, such as flowers and table decorations can be a subtle nod to the occasion. Even special aromas can add to the festive feel of your restaurant, as long as they’re not too overpowering.

5. Promote It

You might have your menu all planned out, with special dishes, discounts, and more. But don’t let all of that hard work go to waste by not getting the word out. Remember to promote your restaurant’s offerings ahead of time to create buzz around your restaurant holiday promotions.

And this is more than a simple line of text on social media.

Here are a few ways that you can make the most of the holidays in your promotions…

  • Send out an email newsletter outlining your offerings.
  • Share tantalizing photos of your dishes on social media channels.
  • Send out SMS messages with discount codes and offers.
  • Use your restaurant to announce your holiday promotions.

One big question we get is when should you start promoting your holiday specials?

It really depends.

A couple of days to a week might be sufficient for minor holidays, such as Father’s Day. But if you’re dealing with a bigger holiday, such as Independence Day or Christmas, consider starting a couple of weeks to a month before to really capitalize on the excitement.

Concluding Thoughts on Restaurant Holiday Promotions

Holidays are always an exciting time — it’s a time when people are on vacation, families get together, and memories get made! And oftentimes, people use these occasions to go out to eat or order out for a special meal.

Make sure that you never miss out on these valuable opportunities. Take the time now to write down all of the most important holidays in your area — it could even be a local holiday such as a big college game. Then, record them in your phone’s calendar, and set a reminder that will give you the time to plan your menu and promotions.

What holidays are the most special for your restaurant? Let us know in the comments below!

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