Great Ideas to Help Restaurants Beat the HOLIDAY BLUES

Great Ideas to Help Restaurants Beat the HOLIDAY BLUES


It’s safe to say that “Holiday Season 2020” is going to play out like no other. Yet another difficult part of a year that will go down in the books as one of the great restaurant industry challenges of all time. 

According to the National Restaurant Association, over 1 million restaurants are fighting to survive during this uncertain time. 

But does it mean the Yuletide spirit will disappear with the change in climate? 

Definitely not.

The concerns of restaurateurs are heard across the globe:  How do we respond? How do we cope? And most importantly, how do we bring the sense of hope and holiday spirit that our customers desperately need in these times of uncertainty and confusion?

It’s never been more important for restaurant owners to connect with their customers and community. Customers are still desiring (and expecting) that level of normalcy they experienced just a year ago. 

So the big question is: “In these not-so-normal times, what’s the best way to go about it?

 

Adjust Holiday Catering for Social Circles

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The traditional holiday gathering - complete with the overnight out-of-towners and distant cousin reunions - are put on mandatory hold this year. But that doesn’t mean that families and established social circles won’t be anxious to get into the holiday spirit and enjoy each other's company. 

But just Like everything else, things will be different.

Instead of promoting large party catering this year, shift your focus to intimate gatherings and creative menu options. 

Offering meal and cocktail kits is a great way to allow your customers to avoid visiting the (*Gasp!*) grocery store, but create their own restaurant-quality meals and drinks right from home.

The best part? Although this doesn’t fully replicate the experience of dining in a restaurant, it does offer a safe and fun alternative.

 

Add Holiday SpecialsGettyImages-1056286856

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Offering holiday specials is a great way to give back to your customers and increase sales this holiday season, but thinking outside the box with creative takeout innovations will give you an edge on your competitors.  

Specials like Quarantine Kits, Lockdown Lunches, or Socially Distanced Desserts will help bring a level of fun to your takeout. 

Another great idea is to offer special set menu prices for full course meals. These “Prix Fixe” menus allow your customers to taste the full scope of your menu from app to dessert, and are a great way to streamline your kitchen staff.

But don’t forget the power of great loyalty incentives. Try a special holiday loyalty promotion throughout December to encourage repeat customers and increase much needed sales. Free apps and desserts, 2-for-1 offers, and points for free meals are always promotional winners.

 

Gift Cards - The Gift That Keeps on Giving

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Especially this year, gift cards are your golden ticket to increase holiday revenue and keep your restaurant top-of-mind when things finally go back to normal. 

A few tips to maximize your holiday gift card holiday sales:

  • Start early, before holiday shopping is in full swing. Make sure your customers know you have gift cards available for purchase when they’re still deciding on gift ideas. 
  • Remind your customers that purchasing a gift card from your restaurant is not only a great present, but that it will also help support your business through these difficult times.
  • Offer gift-giver incentives to entice purchases and show customers how you appreciate their business. Offer discounts on the card value, and even a $20 card for the customer for every $100 gift purchase.

 

Give Back with Charity

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Utilize your social media following to raise money this holiday season.

With the growing number of families financially struggling to make ends-meet, there has never been a better time to show compassion for your community by giving back.

Hosting an online holiday fundraiser (and matching the proceeds) is a fantastic way to create a rapport with your customers and help those in need. 

How about organizing a contactless toy and food drive? This can easily be achieved through drive-by pick ups or designated drop off locations.

Another fantastic way to give back this holiday season is to include a “Buy One, Give One” incentive on your menu throughout December. This win-win promotion not only provides food for struggling families, but will encourage your customers to purchase more, knowing it means more food for someone in need.  

 

Spread the Cheer with a Holiday Contest

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The good news is when it comes to holiday contests, they're virtually pandemic-proof. 

In fact, a fun and creative holiday contest or giveaway could be the welcome distraction your customers need right now. 

Contests are a fantastic way to engage with your customers and keep your restaurant top-of-mind throughout the season. Another bonus? The creative possibilities are nearly endless.

For the highest engagement, make the giveaway user-generated. Photo contests are always fun, and the best (and easiest) platform to run these is Instagram. 

Ugly Christmas sweaters, pet costumes, and food photos are always popular with customers, but feel free to get creative! Get them to post their entries to a special hashtag and give a lucky winner a gift card to your restaurant.

 

A Final Thought

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Unfortunately, there is no way to predict how things will turn out for restaurants once the dust of this ordeal has cleared.

The only thing we do know is that our ability to adapt to changing circumstances will determine who comes out stronger than before.

Just because this holiday season will be different for restaurants doesn’t mean that different has to mean bad.  

Now is the perfect time to dig deep and get creative. This is the time to reach out and connect with your customers more than ever. 

Because one thing is certain - your customers are ready, willing, and waiting to hear from you. Especially during the holidays.

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