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Checklist: 6 Restaurant Holiday Marketing Ideas for 2020

December 7th, 2020 Marketing Written by Selena Slavenburg

Holiday decorations at Toca Madera Restaurant in Los Angeles

While the holiday season is typically the busiest for most restaurants, this year is quite different. Guests in most areas can’t flock to crowded dining rooms and order catering for large celebrations, but hope isn’t totally lost. Restaurant operators looking for a seasonal boost this year need to lean on holiday marketing ideas for takeout and delivery instead. 

To stay focused, we’ve helped by mapping out some quick ways to bring in business. Read on for some proven ways to cut through the noise this holiday season:

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, artisanal beers, and flavored coffee and tea are all great additions. Don’t forget to add the items to your online menu, and promote them on your website, email, Instagram, Facebook, and other marketing channels.

2. Engage your audience with Instagram Stories.

Here are a few holiday marketing ideas for your restaurant’s Stories: Introduce new menu items using video, have an employee take a viewer “behind the scenes,” or ask guests to submit holiday greeting videos for you to repost.

Don’t forget: ChowNow restaurant partners get free Instagram ordering, so you can take orders straight from both your Stories and your profile.

Customers are more likely to choose your restaurant if it has a branded mobile app.

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. Try Creative Market, which sends out free graphics for you to use on a weekly basis.

ChowNow Restaurant Success Manager Emily Plotkin 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.”

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

Seasonal pizza at Berri's Cafe in Los Angeles

6. Help bring the holiday cheer home.

While there are fewer in-person events this year, there are still many ways to connect with your community online, so you can garner more support and sales. Consider some of these restaurant holiday marketing, event, and gift ideas:

  • 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: Ask your guests to share the wealth! 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 offer extra comfort—and even fun activities—to guests when they need it most.

For more tips and marketing assistance, schedule a free consultation with your ChowNow Restaurant Success Manager to have a quick talk and learn what’s available to you.

Here's why you need a restaurant ordering app.

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