Checklist: 6 Restaurant Holiday Marketing Ideas

By ChowNowDec 2nd, 2021

Restaurants using holiday marketing tactics can boost sales during the winter period.

The holiday season is typically the busiest for most restaurants. Restaurant operators looking to maximize this seasonal boost can get clever with holiday marketing ideas for takeout and delivery, and keep diners delighted and coming back for more.

Checklist: 6 Restaurant Holiday Marketing Ideas

1. Refresh your menu with seasonal specials

Make use of new in-season ingredients by introducing some fall and winter dishes to your menu. Seasonal veggies, cold weather inspired dishes, soups, festive beers, and flavored coffee and tea are all great additions. Don’t forget to add the items to the top of your online menu in a “Featured Items” category, and promote them on your website, email, Instagram, Facebook, and other marketing channels.

Restaurants can consider featuring seasonal items during the winter to grab diners' attention.

2. Engage your audience with Instagram Stories or Reels

Videos perform better in the Instagram algorithm, meaning that they are more likely to be discovered and viewed by a wider audience than a picture (although it’s still a good idea to post those regularly, too!).  To get you started with video ideas, try introducing new menu items, or going “behind the scenes” with your chef, or teaching a quick cocktail tutorial for viewers to try at home.

ChowNow Restaurant Success Manager Emily Plotkin has worked with hundreds of independent restaurants on their holiday marketing plans. She notes, “During this time, people have gravitated towards empathy and certain restaurants have tapped into that. On social media, successful restaurants have featured the people who help make it all happen—the kitchen staff, dishwashers, even members of their families. This lets guests connect on a more personal level, and then they are more apt to help.”

3. Create holiday-inspired content and share it.

Get in the holiday spirit by creating new content for your website and social media channels. We suggest taking some new holiday photos of food items with the help of our quick photography guide, or creating new social media icons and banners with a seasonal theme and uploading them on your pages for a holiday takeover. 

Need help with new content? Download our free festive social media kit.  If you’re a current ChowNow restaurant partner, check your email for your complimentary social media package!

ChowNow offers free social media graphics for downloading and posting during the winter.

Don’t forget: Most ChowNow partners have a unique ordering link that they can promote with Instagram ordering, so your diners can start their orders as soon as they see your delicious posts online.

4. Spread the word via email

With the holidays just around the corner, customers are on the lookout for fresh ideas and new deals. Grab their attention with a restaurant email marketing campaign to announce your new menu or offer a special to loyal patrons. ChowNow has tons of great options for engaging customers with email blasts, designed to drive orders at your restaurant.

Email blast services via ChowNow Branded Online Ordering

5. Recommend fall & winter menu pairings.

Inspire your customer’s next order from your restaurant by marketing holiday pairing ideas to tickle their taste buds! These could include prix-fixe meals with multiple dishes, or suggested add-ons like the perfect cocktail for a winter-worthy dish.

If you use ChowNow for your online ordering, edit your online menu to display these suggested pairings next to your main menu items, so you can automatically upsell your guests.

Explore:4 Ways to Grow Restaurant Revenue Using Your Online Menu

6. Help bring the holiday cheer home.

Experiment with ways to package your dine-in experience in a takeout format, so that your customers can continue to enjoy your restaurant from the comfort of their homes. Get creative with ideas like:

  • Digital cooking, baking, or mixology classes: Use Instagram live, Facebook live, Zoom, YouTube, or another video platform. You can sell the ingredients through your online ordering and then send the link to paying customers through email.
  • Online wine or cocktail tasting classes: As noted above, pairings are a great way to sell more while keeping things festive. Go all-out by creating a wine or cocktail pairing for your menu, and then have an online tasting class.
  • Holiday cookie decorating kits: Invite your customers to spread some joy around their homes by bundling house-made cookie dough with fun decorations for some DIY holiday cheer.
  • Gift baskets: Create delectable baskets with your restaurant’s best holiday offerings. You can even team up with a local boutique, brewery, or artist to add different gifts, like candles, puzzles, cards, craft beer, ceramics, or anything else. That way, you can get the whole community involved in the festive spirit!

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