The upcoming hustle and bustle of the holiday season – your last chance to meet your financial goals for the year.
So you deck your restaurant with the finest holiday decor, and your staff are sporting their holiday spirit. But just as you open your doors expecting an onslaught of merriment, no one’s there.
At this time of year, hosting private or semi-private events at your restaurant can be a great revenue booster – if done right. But if your marketing efforts fall short, it doesn’t matter how awesome your venue looks or how tasty your holiday menu is – your restaurant’s holiday party will end up feeling a lot like The Nightmare Before Christmas.
So if you’ve got a great holiday party plan for your restaurant this coming season, but are stumped on where to focus your marketing initiatives, you’re in luck: we’ve got a few great tactics to help you wrangle some holiday cheer.
Snap Creative Shots of Seasonal Menu Items
Don’t be afraid to play into the season! If you’ve updated your menu for the winter, snap some photos of that new spiked hot chocolate cocktail or your limited-time dessert (bonus points for incorporating colorful string lights into the background, or a centerpiece with red berries). Deck your social media platforms with these photos to create some good holiday buzz — and get patrons in your doors.
Promote to Patrons Who are Already Through Your Doors
Your current clients are some of your best bets when it comes to potential holiday party bookings. Make sure they’re aware of your private event offerings by slipping information about your space in the check presenter, or via a card in each table’s menu. Keep your staff informed on the details of your events program so they’ll be able to speak to your offerings further if someone they’re serving is curious or wants more information.
Consider Special Offers or Discounts
It’s no surprise that Fridays and Saturdays are the most popular dates to book events during the holiday season. But hosting events throughout the week means you can host even more events — and accrue even more revenue. To entice more people to come out for a weeknight event, consider offering a drink special or bringing in some live entertainment that will draw a crowd, even on a school night.
Don’t Forget About Past Clients
The great thing about past clients? You’re already past that awkward, “first visit” stage, and chances are, they’ll have a good idea of what to expect from an event at your venue. Now is the perfect time to rekindle your flame and see if they’re interested in your event offerings this upcoming season. Whether in the form of a quick email, a small gift card, or a personalized note with what to look forward to, give your outreach a personal touch that will keep your business one step ahead of your competition.
Create a Special Prix-Fixe Menu
Prix-fixe menus are a win-win for both your staff and your patrons. Especially with the craziness of the holiday season, your guests will welcome the opportunity to sit back, relax, and leave the food decisions to the experts – your team. Just as well, your team will love the chance to get creative in the kitchen, experimenting with new ingredients, and create dishes outside of your usual offerings. The final consideration for a successful prix-fie is dietary restrictions; make sure any potential modifications are taken into consideration before the menu is finalized to limit the amount of “surprises” for your kitchen and serving staff the night of.
Any smart restaurant owner will be thinking of ways to bring in extra revenue this holiday season. Make yours stand out with the help of these very merry marketing tactics.
About the Author
Caroline Cox is the content marketing manager for Gather, an event management software platform. She spends her time crafting blogs, thought leadership pieces, case studies, social media content and more.More Content by Caroline Cox