The Restaurant’s Guide to Christmas: Marketing & Promotion Ideas

a photo of Lenny DeFranco

Lenny DeFranco

5 min read

Oct 10, 2023

The Restaurant’s Guide to Christmas: Marketing & Promotion Ideas

As one of the biggest events on the hospitality calendar, Christmas brings a sled-load of promotional opportunities for restaurants. A well-constructed Christmas promotion and marketing campaign can help your restaurant stand out from competitors during a time of year when customers are searching for ways to get into the holiday spirit. 

Below, we’ve brainstormed restaurant Christmas ideas and marketing tips you can use to drive business this season and keep guests coming back well into the new year.

9 Christmas Promotion Ideas

1. Debut Unique Christmas Menus

A well-executed Christmas menu is an excellent way to drive direct reservations and collect data you can use in your restaurant’s marketing campaigns.

Whether you are able to offer an entire Christmas set menu or a couple of seasonal specials, it’s a great opportunity to show some festive flair. Here are some classic promotional Christmas menu ideas that you can ask your chefs to get creative with:

Christmas Eve’s “Feast of Seven Fishes”
Modern twists on classics like Brussels sprouts and cranberry sauce
Showstopping roast ham, turkey or duck
Home-smoked salmon for New Year’s celebrations

Pro tip: Don’t forget to add some holiday cheer to your takeout menu. For those who’d prefer to celebrate at home, or want to gift your food to a friend, create takeout holiday menu items that taste great and travel well.

2. Brew Your Own Festive Beer

Offering a holiday beer with a branded, festive label is a great way to stand out from the crowd. If you don’t feel comfortable brewing yourself, you could partner with a local brewery and commission one. In this arrangement, you’d also mutually benefit from cross-promotion. Plus, the email and social tag lines basically write themselves. (“Lacking Christmas Cheer? You Need a Beer”)

3. Offer Craft Seasonal Cocktails

A good way to increase the average ticket value at a time when people are open to spending more is to offer Christmas-themed cocktails, so why not add your signature twist to a holiday classic and put it on your happy hour menu? Here are some ideas to get your mixologists’ inspiration flowing:

4. Get Festive on Social

Social media traffic spikes more than 70% during the holidays, so it’s worth putting in some extra effort to engage with your loyal customers and potential new customers online. Some social media-related Christmas marketing ideas include:

Run a 12 Days of Christmas giveaway, gifting coupons, free desserts or appetizers and other special offers each day. Encourage people to follow your accounts as you announce a new winner each day.
Let customers know your holiday hours. If you’re open on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, post the announcement across all your channels and pin the post so the message is clear and accessible.
Post a before-and-after reel showcasing your restaurant’s holiday glow-up. Go crazy on Christmas decorations and encourage people to experience your restaurant’s ambiance for a taste of the season.
Have your bartender make how-to videos on TikTok that feature a special holiday drink recipe.
Urge your staff to wear their ugliest Christmas sweater and then create a poll on social media so your followers can pick a winner. The staff with the most votes gets a prize.

5. Add Seasonal Upsells

Christmas is a time to eat, drink and be merry, so encourage your team to offer seasonal upsells while the purse and belt strings are loose. You can also add special offers and upgrades during the online booking process to drive prepaid revenue. Here are a few ideas:

Prix fixe holiday packages and menus
Pre-dinner glass of champagne or seasonal cocktails
Glass of port with a cheeseboard
Brandy after dessert
Wreath-shaped appetizers


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6. Offer Gift Cards

Offering gift cards is a good way to collect guest data and to bring customers in after the holiday season is over when they redeem their gifts. Get creative and offer gift cards for cooking classes, special dinners, or wine tastings, or partner with a local business to offer a wider range of gifts or giveaways and benefit from cross-promotion.

7. Host (or Cater) Office Holiday Parties

Offer drinks and catering packages for office Christmas parties and promote them to local businesses. You could offer catering and delivery services or sell partial or full private bookings at your restaurant that allow teams to celebrate outside their office environment

8. Allow for Table-Side Gingerbread Decorations

If your restaurant serves a lot of children, swap the coloring books for a gingerbread cookie and some icing. Allow the young (and young at heart) to decorate their dessert.

9. Hang Mistletoe

An oldie but goodie, mistletoe hung in your lobby, near signage or around your Christmas tree is sure to surprise and delight. Let guests stand under the mistletoe and snap a picture. Create a holiday-themed hashtag, and encourage guests to post their experience on social media.

Tips for Marketing Your Christmas Promotions

Building out restaurant marketing strategies for your Christmas promotion ideas can sound overwhelming on top of actually planning the events themselves. Here are a few actionable restaurant marketing ideas you can implement on the most popular channels this Christmas season.

Create a Landing Page for Christmas Bookings

Drive direct bookings and secure upfront cash payments with a dedicated seasonal landing page on your website. Design a festive holiday-themed lander to promote Christmas-themed menus, brunches and events like the example below.

event widget restaurant Christmas ideas

Promote Direct Booking on Social

Social media is one of the most effective ways to drive business to your restaurant. With every post, link directly to your holiday landing page or booking widget with a ‘Reserve’ button. You can use a tracking link to accurately measure the success of your campaigns for future optimization.

Personalize Emails

Email remains one of the most effective channels in the restaurant marketing toolbox. Guest data helps personalize emails and drive pre-Christmas bookings with a targeted campaign. For example, build an email campaign to all your customers who booked a Thanksgiving experience inviting them to try a special holiday promotion. Find out more about how you can leverage email marketing to boost loyalty and repeat business in our guide below.

restaurant email marketing

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Maximize the Holidays With a Data-driven Approach

As you prepare to welcome guests to your restaurant for Christmas, it’s important to keep customer data top-of-mind. Think about ways to use the data you already have to reengage loyal guests and inform your holiday marketing strategy.

With SevenRooms’ restaurant CRM and marketing solutions, you can seamlessly draw new customers to your doors and quickly collect valuable data during service. The more detail available at your fingertips, the better you can create a more personalized experience guests will remember even after the holiday season wanes. Book a demo today.

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