Holiday promotions give restaurants an opportunity to capitalize on a spending trend every year.
But it’s one thing to recognize an opportunity, and another entirely to capitalize on it.
You need to know what to offer your guests, how you’ll organize logistics, and figure out how and what to charge to procure revenue upfront.
Below are holidays throughout the entire U.S. calendar year— some you might not even know about — and how to take advantage of the major ones.
Use This Calendar To Spark Your Team’s Creative Juices
Pro Tip: Choose at least one holiday above to offer a unique dining experience for — it can be as small as a social media post or something larger that affects your restaurant's operations, like a limited-time menu item or a ticketed event with a pre-sale on your website.
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Clients: Here’s A Guide To Events, Experiences, and Upgrades For Your Widget.
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How To Celebrate With Holiday Promotions: Ideas from Your Peers
Halloween — October 31st
- Sell tickets with pre-purchase to costume party or costume contest on Halloween night. Offer free cocktail or Halloween shot with ticket purchase
- Selling a dinner seating experience where guests watch a horror movie while they dine on movie-inspired fare.
- Host a pumpkin pasta and fall favorites cooking class
- Organize a “Creepy cookies & cocktails” event: an interactive cooking /decorating and cocktail sipping at your venue
- Offer upgrades to reservations booked on the nights leading up to Halloween to pre-purchase holiday cocktails
- Create a special menu as an experience (pumpkin soup, pumpkin chili, etc.)
- Offer a candy bag as an upgrade during reservation-booking on your website for the month of October
Thanksgiving — 4th Thursday of November
- Create a turkey dinner option during reservation-booking on your website for Thanksgiving Day. You could even include an option to purchase a $10 party popper add-on.
- Offer takeaway food to bring home the night before (turkey dinner and pies)
- Turkey tasting menus for families who don’t want to cook on Thanksgiving or who have small kitchens
- Pumpkin pie cooking class Monday or Tuesday the week of Thanksgiving
- Offer an upsell throughout November during reservation-booking where, with each seasonal cocktail pre-purchased, $2 is donated to a local food bank
- Give guests the option to add on a canned food to their reservation (to be donated); give a free glass of prosecco in return
Christmas — December 25
- Offer a prix fixe menu on your website — one option for Christmas Eve, and one option for Christmas Day. Have your time slot availability only show these experiences.
- Christmas party, restaurant edition: host a holiday party with passed hors d'oeuvres and seasonally-inspired cocktails
- Offer a "holiday favorites"-themed cooking class: Master the art of mashed potatoes, stuffing, roasted veggies, etc.
- Sugar, Spice & Everything Nice event: partner with a wine company or cocktail brand to do a pairing with popular holiday desserts
New Years’ Eve - December 31
- Sell tickets to early and late dinner seatings. Make it prixe fixe and include a bottle of champagne per couple. Check out these real NYE examples from Eater Magazine.
New Years’ Eve - January 1
- Offer a New Year’s Day brunch for guests to nurse their hangovers, have a mimosa or bloody mary (or a few), and dine on eggs, pancakes, waffles, french toast, etc.
Super Bowl Sunday — February
- Offer meal experiences on your website: have deal options that include variations of wings, nachos, egg rolls, and a bucket of beers
- Offer takeaway food for guests to bring home apps like wings and nachos
- Sell premium seating options, like the ability to reserve a table close to a TV
Valentine’s Day — February 14
- Give guests booking reservations on your website the option to pre-purchase for the table: rose petals, a bushel of roses, chocolates, champagne, wine pairing, a parting gift, or aphrodisiac upgrades like oysters
- Offer a heart-shape-themed dessert menu
- Create a special “rosé bubbles” menu with Dom Perignon, Ruinart, Perrier Jouet Blason, and other special sommelier selections.
- Create a class where couples can make a heart-shaped pizza or dessert
Easter — April
- Sell an easter basket for children as part of a brunch at your restaurant
- Offer a Mommy & me / Daddy & me cookie or egg decorating class
Mother’s Day — 2nd Sunday in May
- Give families bringing their mother’s out the option to add a chocolate pairing, photo frame, or champagne flight to a brunch reservation
- Sell tickets to a prix-fixe meal for the family, including free champagne for Mom
Memorial Day — Last Monday in May
- Sell a “Long Weekend Picnic Essentials” package including meats/cheeses, potato salad
- Offer pre-packaged train, bus, or flight meals for people traveling for the holiday weekend. Includes a drink/beer, sandwich or salad, and chips
Want more holiday ideas? Here are 31 unusual holidays to help your restaurant stand out.
SevenRooms helps venues to offer these ideas on your website, and process payment securely.
Looking for more ways to drive profits this holiday season? Check out our content created with our POS partner, Lightspeed, “4 Ways to Increase your Restaurant’s Holiday Profits.”