Plan Ahead for Holiday Restaurant Marketing Success


We all know that the holidays are coming, so why does it seem to surprise us when they’re suddenly “here” each year? Because like any shopper who’s found himself in the mall on Christmas Eve, the immediacy of the moment tends to take precedence over pre-planning.

But this year, why don’t you make an early resolution to start planning – and marketing – your holiday restaurant promotions now, before you’re consumed with just getting through the next shift?

Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Plant the seed for holiday parties now. Train servers to ask customers if they’re planning any holiday parties. Create materials that feature all of your holiday party services (catering for the corporate lunch, banquet facilities, family gatherings, etc.) and train servers how to present the materials and seal the deal (“You’ll need to reserve your date as soon as possible. Should I have our catering director call you on Monday?”). Then, motivate servers to fit this sales dialogue into their everyday routine by rewarding them with cash incentives for each event that closes or even for every lead they generate.
  • Start the holiday season sooner. Many corporations are now planning holiday parties in January or February when they can get lower prices and more availability after the holidays are over. Why not present your operation as a kickoff to the holiday season with pre-Thanksgiving holiday parties? Create marketing materials that present your operation as the perfect place to begin holiday celebrations and stress parties may be more fun before we’re all hit with the “holiday have-to’s.”
  • Remember that celebrators like to splurge. When you plan your holiday promotions, include specialty items each week that will boost add-on sales. Be sure you’re stocked with enough items and that you’ve created internal marketing materials to assist your servers. Then, run weekly contests with your servers and see how many “go ahead… it’s the holidays!” sales your team can inspire.
  • Crazy for craft beer. Craft beer has never been a bigger trend than it is right now. While wine and champagne are traditional holiday drinks, create a holiday theme around your craft beer offerings, including special tastings and pairings just for large parties. Re-name some of your beer for the holidays or, better yet, use October to run a contest for the best holiday brew names.

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