A survey conducted by Statista in March 2021 showed that 30% of American adults are “very excited” to eat at a restaurant once the COVID-19 pandemic is under control. Only 6% said they were “not excited at all.”
Now that 58% of the population has been vaccinated, many restaurant owners are hopeful that these numbers will rise. After all, Q4 of the year is consistently the highest spending month for consumers, with Halloween, Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Christmas dotting our calendars.
Take advantage of this opportunity to make up for lost business from the health crisis by serving up something extra special to your customers during Thanksgiving season and putting your resto back on the map.
7 Tips To Promote Your Restaurant This Thanksgiving Season
Boost your sales and social media likes with these marketing ideas. They don’t require much capital but will go a long way in establishing your resto as the top-of-mind dining destination within your sphere.
1.Offer A Traditional Menu
Target the messaging of your marketing materials towards regular and potential customers who absolutely don’t fancy cooking. Inject your dishes and dress up your restaurant with unique local traditions to capture the nostalgic market as well as weekend tourists.
Entice your customers to look forward to a relaxing Thanksgiving season where they don’t have to go through the hassle of preparations for a change. Put up restaurant posters and distribute restaurant flyers way ahead of time – about 2-3 weeks before the occasion – so they can make or alter plans.
Pro Tip: Make sure you don’t bite off more than you can chew. Many other restaurants also offer Thanksgiving dinners, so you need to stock up on turkey and stuffing ingredients, or else you’ll lose patrons to the competition.
2.Prepare An Unexpected Thanksgiving Season Cuisine
If your restaurant is located in a place where the clientele is known to be adventurous eaters, you can capture their attention and attendance by offering something avant-garde. Take advantage of seasonal produce and autumn flavors. Launch a new cranberry dessert or promote your famous pumpkin appetizer as a limited offer exclusive to your Thanksgiving season menu.
Think out-of-the-box with your regulars in mind. Review their feedback to determine the types of no-turkey dishes they would be pleasantly surprised to see on their plate during the Thanksgiving season. Ask a few minutes of their time to fill out a short survey of 3-4 questions – this is already a clever marketing tactic that drums up interest. If you live in Raleigh or planning to visit, you should check out the best places to eat in Raleigh.
Pro Tip: Experimenting with new dishes requires weeks of practice. Enlist your staff, family, and friends in tasting sessions to ensure success.
3.Host A Friendsgiving Event
In 2019, 68% of young adults aged 18-38 admitted that they prefer attending a Friendsgiving over Thanksgiving. Provide a warm home for these members of your community who cannot (or choose not to) celebrate the occasion with their families. Be the Friendsgiving venue that they will remember for a long time.
Make it a real-deal event by selling tickets as early as one month. Design these like postcards, and you’ve got yourself low-cost marketing collateral.
Prepare platters that friends can share in place of the usual per-person 4-course dinners. If possible, invite a band to play all night long. Transform a corner of your resto into a photo booth complete with costumes and a professional photographer. Ask your guests for their social media usernames so you can tag them when posting the pictures on your pages. As a bonus, you’ll increase your SM friends and followers!
4.Run A Gift Certificate Promotion
Kick off the spirit of giving with a discount promo via gift cards. Q4 is a busy time with one holiday after another. So, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t extend price cuts until the end of the year. It’s an ingenious tactic to increase your client base as your existing customers will spread the good news of your restaurant within their circles by giving GCs as holiday presents. Plus, they get a convenient gift option that doesn’t require wrapping. With this in mind, try to produce various holiday-themed gift certificates designed according to the seasons.
If reservations are not a normal practice in your restaurant, Thanksgiving is the best time to do it. You will earn plus points in marketing your brand by creating an illusion of high demand and scarcity of space.
Pro Tip: Problem with manning the reservation phone lines? Try automating the process with technology. You’ll find the best online reservation systems on the market today on Eat App.
6.Give Back To The Neighborhood
One half of Thanksgiving is gratitude, but its better half is “giving.” Get into the mood – and the hearts of your customers – by supporting a local charity or nonprofit.
Not sure which organization to select? Look closer home for food-related causes, such as a soup kitchen, local church feeding drive, or community pantry. Donate a percentage of your Thanksgiving profits, food, or your time.
Promote your charitable efforts subtly and sensitively. Motivate your staff to join in your efforts. Take plenty of pictures and post them on social media as well as on bulletin board posters set up at your restaurant entrance. Let your customers know they have helped you make it possible through Thanksgiving-themed thank you cards.
7.Lastly, Be Grateful And Express It
Create a hashtag movement among your social media tribes. Post about the little things you’re thankful for, specifically those that kept your business afloat and boosted your staff’s morale during the difficult quarantine and lockdown months. #LoyalCustomers and #DevotedStaff are a couple of examples you can use.
While Thanksgiving season is traditionally an at-home family affair, some people simply don’t have the luxury of time or space for a sumptuous sit-down dinner. Do them a favor and open your doors! The sales spike you generate will be an addition to your Thank You list.
Read also: Food Business Ideas