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Blog / December 2, 2020

The Restaurant’s Guide to Christmas: Ideas For Promotions, Marketing, and Menus

Lenny DeFranco

As one of the biggest events on the hospitality calendar, Christmas brings a sled-load of opportunity for restaurants with great promotion ideas.

With more people out and about and willing to spend cash over the holidays, there is a huge opportunity for restaurants to maximize revenue. There’s also a huge amount of competition. A well-constructed Christmas promotion and marketing campaign can help your restaurant stand out from competitors.

By making the most of your customer data, it’s possible to maximize holiday covers while planning for the quieter months ahead. Using a smart restaurant marketing system alongside compelling promotions, you can be sure of a merry Christmas and a very happy New Year for your restaurant.

Christmas promotion ideas

The options for Christmas promotions for restaurants are endless. In this article, we’ve come up with a few suggestions to inspire you. The important thing to remember is to offer value to the customer. A compelling offer draws them in and helps them choose you over the other restaurants also offering holiday promotions.

When planning your Christmas promotion, keep customer data top-of-mind. Think about ways to use the data you already have to inform your holiday strategy, and to collect new customer data during service. This way, you can offer a more personalized experience for your guests while collecting valuable insights that can be used to boost revenue in the quieter months following the holidays.

Come up with great Christmas menu ideas

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

Promotional drinks ideas

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.

Offer 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? Here are some ideas to get your mixologists’ inspiration flowing:

Seasonal upsells

Christmas is a time to eat, drink, and be merry, so take advantage of the loosening of belts and purse strings by encouraging your team to offer seasonal upsells. Here are a few potential offers:

  • Glass of port with a cheeseboard
  • Brandy after dessert
  • Pre-dinner glass of champagne or seasonal cocktail

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.

Office holiday parties

Offer drinks and catering packages for office parties and promote them to local businesses. You could even consider offering a delivery service or taking the party to their office on a Friday afternoon. Again, there is an opportunity here to get the details of affluent business people who may later turn into repeat customers.

How to market your Christmas promotion

Create a white-label booking widget

Maximize booking conversions by creating a branded booking widget that easily allows guests to see availability and make reservations online. A custom widget streamlines the process and enables you to keep all guest data in-house for future use. A widget allows you to present pricing, availability, terms & conditions, your cancellation policy, and even your dress code in a brand-aligned way.

Create a landing page for Christmas bookings

Drive direct bookings and secure upfront cash payments with a dedicated seasonal landing page. A dedicated landing page gives you more space to sell your seasonal promotion, using vibrant images and punchy copy. You can even link to related recipes and partners, and employ SEO best practices to drive organic traffic.

Use Social Media

Get creative on social media platforms and drive business to your booking widget or landing page. Showcase your promotional offers with colorful images and engaging captions, and link your posts directly to your landing page or booking widget with a ‘Reserve a Table’ button. You can use a tracking link to accurately measure the success of your campaigns for future optimization.

Personalized 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. (If this sounds like a daunting task, click here to take a look at restaurant marketing software that uses the data already in your system to make email campaigns easy.)
Use the data collected over the holidays to further segment your audience and boost post-Christmas sales. Remember: emails can drive traffic directly to your booking widget or landing page.

Maximize the holidays with a data-driven approach

Christmas is a huge opportunity, which should be about more than just opening your doors and welcoming the increase in covers. Taking control of customer data is the best way to maximize the holiday season, and also boost sales in the quieter months to follow. More people in the door during the holidays means more people you can market to and turn into repeat customers during the slower months.

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