Holiday Marketing Tips for Bars and Restaurants [WEBINAR]
The holiday season offers boundless opportunities for local businesses to bring in new customers, increase sales and create momentum for the new year. As Q4 rolls in, bars and restaurants should capitalize on the increased foot traffic and restaurant spending the holidays bring. Planning creative promotions is essential to a successful holiday season. Watch the webinar and check out our top holiday marketing tips to help you navigate this hectic, but profitable, season.
How to Increase Holiday Sales [Webinar]
You can meet your year-end goals by getting more people into your location and providing great value to your guests and community. Promote your location as a holiday destination, and be sure to make a lasting impression with your guests that will positively impact your business’ bottom line.
In the webinar we provide tips on how to drive revenue over the holidays with:
- In-location promotions
- Strategies for ensuring staff success
- Online marketing strategies
- Showcasing and building your community online
Top 10 Holiday Marketing Tips for Bars & Restaurants
#1 Plan Ahead & Promote in Advance: Experts suggest giving yourself six months to plan an effective promo line-up. Halloween is in October, which means you should start planning in April! That way you will be ready to start spreading the word about your holiday specials in October, when the Christmas music starts playing. Remember, the holiday season is busy for everyone and people need a lot of advance warning to carve out time to visit your bar or restaurant.
#2 Give Back: There’s a growing backlash against holiday consumerism, with many people looking for ways to give back. Tap into this positive trend by hosting a charitable event. Donate a portion of sales to a good cause or collect cans of soup for a local homeless shelter. Getting involved is not only a good thing to do, but highlights your business as an active, caring member of the community.
#3 Find Something that Makes You Unique: Holiday promos and specials are a dime-a-dozen. You must have a unique selling point to effectively attract new customers during any major holiday. Be the bar or restaurant you’d want to visit! Think of a fun way to differentiate your offerings, whether it’s incorporating humor (an escape your family promo?) or charity (see below). You can even showcase your unique staff with a tasting event with your chef or bartender. You know your customers best, so be sure to offer specific specials that resonate with your fans and followers.
Depending on the winter weather in your area, this could even entail some specials to bring people in when it’s cold out. As Lennie Holt the General Manager of Central Bistro & Bar told the Independent Restaurateur: “We’re promoting ‘Snow Days at Central.’ The first couple of snow storms people are like ‘oh no, this is terrible,’ and no one wants to go anywhere, but we’re hopefully going to rope in the neighborhood with this.” Their “Snow Days” promotion consists of $2 hot toddies and discounted draft beer. They also offer discounts to apartment buildings in the area, hand out free coupons to locals, and host several holiday happy hours, just to draw in more of the local crowd.
#4 Go All Out on Social Media: Social media is one of the best ways to keep seasonal specials in front of customers. Flood your social media feeds with holiday promotions and messages, creating a conversation with customers. With everyone making plans for the holidays through social media, it’s a great way to spread the word about food & drink specials and events. Promoting a holiday special exclusively on Facebook (or Instagram, Twitter or TapHunter) is another great way to reward your followers and get people through the door. For example, you could share a few posts with a “secret password” that grants you 15% off (or a free peppermint martini). If you’re hosting a holiday event, create an event post on Facebook so fans can invite their friends (watch this webinar for instructions). Evergreen‘s social media software makes social even easier with suggested posts based on your events or popular holidays.
#5 SEO is Your Friend: Search engine optimization (SEO) is particularly important over the holiday season. For example, “Thanksgiving” is also associated with things like “turkey,” “cranberry” or “autumn.” Take advantage of those trains of thought with social content, blog posts, or other seasonal content on your website to get traffic from search engines.
#6 Create a Holiday-specific Menu: Check with local breweries for any seasonal craft beers they might be offering. Featuring a delicious porter, stout, or winter ale is perfect for year-end holidays. For cocktails, go for seasonal favorites like white-chocolate-peppermint martinis or add a seasonal scent with hot buttered rum or mulled wine. Carry rare seasonal beers or liquors that will generate buzz (check out our Top Fall Beers of 2017 for inspiration).
#7 Promote Your Loyalty Program: It’s great to generate new business during the holidays, but it’s even better to keep those people coming back in January. Loyalty programs can help ensure new customers have a reason to return. Add your loyalty program to a printed menu or digital board, or ask servers to mention the discount when greeting a table.
#8 Events, Events, Events: The holidays lend themselves to a plethora of event opportunities, ranging from costume and pie-eating contests, to themed trivia or karaoke. Consider linking a promo to a holiday outside of the major Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s staples. You could host a “dark party” on Black Friday with specials on dark ales, black velvets and black Russians. Or promote afternoon specials (and your free WiFi!) on Cyber Monday; shoppers can have a pint and shop at the same time. Partnering with your retail neighbors for a “shop local, drink local” event is a win-win on Small Business Saturday.
Whether it’s a small local business or a large corporation, virtually everyone is looking to celebrate the holidays with an office party. Businesses are either looking for a place to hold their party, or one to cater it. You can start by creating flyers with a catering menu and/or drink specials to market to local management. Perhaps you have staff who can set up a bar at their office instead. Think about your resources, and plan accordingly. If your bar or restaurant is in a popular tourist area, tell local hotel concierges about your events and specials. One great idea is to hold a small luncheon with these people, so they may sample your menus. Sampling your offerings may encourage them to recommend your delicious menu items to out-of-town guests.
Mike Dooley, owner of The Craftsman Restaurant & Bar near the Mississippi River, admits to a huge spike in revenue during the holidays season (due to company parties), that now extends well into January. He told the Independent Restaurateur: “Now a lot of companies do their holiday parties after New Year’s. That always makes for a good weekday night.”
#9 Deck the Halls: Decorations are eye-catching, fun and, most importantly, inviting. Holiday decor indicates that your business is focused on the community and can encourage drop-in business. When decking your halls, pick holiday decorations that match your business’ existing theme but add a dose of sparkle. Pro-Tip: Decorating your website is another fun way to spread cheer on a digital scale.
#10 Sell Gift Cards/Certificates: Gift cards/certificates are a popular holiday gift and an effective way to secure repeat business. After the holidays, things can get sober very quickly–the parties are over, credit card bills come in. Extend the holiday spirit by selling the great experience you offer year-round with gift cards. Prominently display your certificates near the entryway and ask staff to tell guests about the cards as well. You can even schedule a staff member to specifically promote gift card sales during busy times. Why not go all the way and have them dress as a holiday character for that extra merry “oomph?”
However you choose to celebrate, these are sure-fire ways to not only drive revenue, but share in the warmth and joy of the season with your community. We hope that these tips are helpful as you gear up for the holidays!