The holidays are known to be one of the busiest times of the year for restaurants. Between mid-shopping meals, family dinners, and work parties, restaurants prepare for their schedule to book up quickly.
However, with the COVID-19 pandemic, this year has thrown a curveball for everyone. Many restaurants have had to alter how they serve customers, and some have had to close their indoor dining and become creative with extending patio season.
That said, this time of year is still expected to be profitable for restaurants and an opportunity to drive even more business.
Here are six ways restaurants can drive business over the holidays.
Sell Physical and Digital Gift Cards
If you don’t already have a gift card program, now would be the time to launch one. Offering both physical and digital gift cards (also known as eGift cards) is a great tactic to help increase revenue during the holiday season. Did you know gift cards and eGift cards are still expected to be one of the top purchased items this holiday season?
Both gift cards and eGift cards are a great way to get money into your restaurant now and encourage future visits. As well, eGift cards are a flexible option for those who are choosing to do their holiday shopping online this year.
Drive business to your restaurant by offering promo cards. Promo cards can be an extremely effective marketing tool and they’re easy to set-up.
There are a multitude of ways you can offer promo cards to customers or potential customers. For example, when someone purchases a gift card from you, they receive a $10 promo card that can be used on their next order. Or encourage customers to refer a family or friend to your restaurant during the month of December and use the promo card as a referral bonus.
If you want to help drive business during a time when you may have slower sales, like January, offer promo cards that are only valid for that specific time frame. As well, since those cards have a timeframe attached to them and do expire, you’ll have a better eye on your cash flow.
Partner with a Local Community Initiative
With COVID-19 on everyone’s mind, now more than ever people want to give back to those in their community. Help increase awareness to your restaurant while giving back to the community by tying your restaurant to a local initiative.
Consider running a special promotion where when customers order certain menu items, a portion of their total receipt will go back into this community initiative. Not only will you drive business to your restaurant, but people will also be giving back into the community.
Make sure to pick an initiative that would attract people who would be similar to your customer base.
Make Your Menu Seasonal
Drive business to your restaurant by creating an attractive, seasonal menu. Whether customers are dining in your restaurant or ordering for pick-up or delivery, highlight specific seasonal offers to help boost sales.
Looking to help cut costs? Think about using seasonal produce that you can incorporate into the menu.
Get Social with Digital Marketing
Social media is one of the best tools to use to help increase restaurant awareness and increase your customer base. Especially if you aren’t able to have as much face-to-face interaction with customers, help build the bond through social media engagement.
Keep your followers up-to-date specials and promotions, restaurant updates, or to run engaging contests. For example, ask your followers to tag 5 friends in your most recent post and they could win a $20 gift card to your restaurant.
Along with social media, email marketing is a great tool to help drive business to your restaurant. If you have access to your customer database information, email marketing is a popular, low-cost customer engagement and retention tool. Just make sure you have consent to communicate with them!
Launch a Loyalty Program
Loyalty is key to help driving business to your restaurant because they encourage repeat visits from customers. Through loyalty programs, you create a bond and emotional connection.
One of the most important tools within a loyalty program is the data you collect. That data allows you to run a loyalty program with a customer-focused approach. You’re showing your customers that they can get value they can’t get elsewhere! Plus, the data can be used for future marketing initiatives.
Keep these business driving tips in mind this holiday season when you are planning out your customer approach for December.