It’s that time of year again: snow is falling, lights are strung up and the streets are filled with people bustling about to get their holiday plans in order. In the midst of the holiday chaos, it’s easy for restaurants to get left behind even though there’s no shortage of opportunities for peak booking levels. With family dinners to holiday parties to people just getting together, how do you take advantage of the holidays and skip out on being left behind?
1. Decorations and Visual Content
Ok, there’s no doubt that decor is one of the best parts of the holidays. It’s cold outside and some cozy decorations make that frosty mood all the better. How do you come up with a cozy theme that will drive customers in? It all starts with a theme: choosing matching colours, lights and music are great ways to warm up the atmosphere.
Translating this cozy atmosphere onto social media is also a great way to get more business. Not only do people want to get in the holiday spirit but people respond to visual content more than any other type so, use this to your advantage! Also, it signals that you’re ready for the business of the holiday season and have transformed your restaurant to meet the needs of the holiday consumer.
*A lot goes into creating a great holiday atmosphere. That being said, don’t get too caught up in the specifics of designing a theme. Have fun with it and focus on creating an environment that people want to spend time in. At the end of the day, that’s what’s going to make customers choose your restaurant over others.
Got anything fun planned for the holidays? Show your customers the sense of community and generosity that comes with the holiday season! Special deals during peak times can help drive business in and get the word out through other channels. Better yet, promotions targeted at large groups of people will encourage customers to bring their friends and family. Whatever your promotions focus on, let your customers know what you can do for them as a thank you for their support.
3. Spotlight unique features of your business
Revamping your menu for the holiday season? Featuring new holiday-themed drinks for happy hour? Draw your customers in with new holiday-themed foods that they can’t just get anywhere. The holidays are a great time to try out fun things with friends and family and offering new twists on holiday classics is a great starting point. Try revamping some traditional holiday dishes with your own new twist based on what’s popular!
4. Start promotions early
As we discussed in our “How to Make the Most of Holiday Business” article, businesses all around are starting their holiday promotions earlier. Promoting before key selling periods allows the word to get out about your holiday deals whilst giving customers time to decide when they can fit certain activities into their schedule. Plus it extends the period in which customers can actually take advantage of your deals!
5. Holiday parties
Family gatherings, office parties, holiday get togethers – there’s no shortage of reasons to celebrate at year-end. Catering your business to hosting such parties could be a holiday revenue-generating option for your restaurant. Offering holiday party options is in high demand and if you have successfully set yourself up for the holidays, including decorations and special menus, then your restaurant would be the ideal place to host year-end parties.
Finally, as much as the holidays are about gift-giving, hot chocolate and snow, they’re even more so about community and reaching out to those in need. Being a strong small business that has a place in its community means being a leader when it comes to supporting your community. Leading donation initiatives through monetary means or goods (clothing, food etc.) is a great way to contribute positively to your community this holiday season. Also, coming up with strategies to be less wasteful with food and donating leftovers is a great way to be more sustainable and help your community thrive.
With all the chaos of holiday preparations, it’s easy to see why some restaurants get left behind. Getting your restaurant ready for the holidays is an absolute necessity for not missing out on all the business that comes with year-end! Whatever your goals are this holiday season, we’re here to help!
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By Juliana Schneider