Restaurant Holiday Planning: The 7 Things To Start Doing Right Now

By Raubi Perilli

      Aug 19, 2021     Solutions    

It is never too early for a restaurant to start planning for the holidays. Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, and New Year’s Eve are always right around the corner when it comes to restaurant holiday planning. 

The holidays present a variety of opportunities for restaurants to bring in additional revenue through events, specials, and promotions. So don’t wait until a few weeks before the holidays to line up your marketing plans. Get started today with these seven planning tips.

7 Ways Restaurants Can Prepare for the Holidays

Start restaurant holiday planning today. Use these tips to get ready to welcome more customers and more revenue into your business this holiday season.

#1) Decide on menus for food specials.

Get your planning started in the kitchen. Start making plans with your chef and kitchen staff to create new menu offerings that are a fit for the holidays. Decide on offerings now so you can start creating marketing promotions around them. Consider how you can create:  

  • Seasonal items: Create menu items that bring in flavors of the season such as peppermint, pumpkin, gingerbread, vanilla, hazelnut, and cranberry.
  • Limited-time offers: Take your seasonal menu up a notch by creating limited-time offers that customers will want to visit to try before they go away.
  • Family-style meals: Many families and groups plan gatherings over the holidays. Create family-size menus that serve 4-8 guests to tap into this customer base.
  • Catering menus: Go bigger than family-size by creating a catering menu that can serve parties of all sizes.

And, remember: don’t forget about drinks. Drinks are a great way to increase order sizes. As you create food menus, add both alcoholic and nonalcoholic specialty menu items.  

Related: 15 Holiday Marketing Tips for Local Businesses

#2) Get ready for holiday reservations.

Now is the time to start booking your dining room for holiday reservations. Consider the different groups that will be looking for reservations during the holidays. Decide if you want to target one or more of the following groups.  

  • Companies looking for private spaces for office parties
  • Large families and groups looking for tables to accommodate large groups
  • Small families and groups looking for a place to celebrate on the day of a holiday

Decide which type of reservations and groups you want to target this holiday season, and begin to put both policies and marketing initiatives in place to support those plans.

#3) Make a plan for catering and to-go orders.

The holidays bring an influx of customers into restaurants as well as many customers who want to order take-out options (this may be especially true as we grapple with the restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic).  

Get ready for take-out orders now. Set up an online ordering system if you don’t already have one. Create deadlines for catering and large take-out orders. Start sharing your policies and plans on your website and through social media so customers (and your kitchen staff) can plan ahead.

#4) Schedule on-site events.

Don’t focus only on helping individuals and groups plan their holiday parties. Plan some of your own. Schedule branded events that play into the joy and festivities of the holiday season. Decide on your events early so you can start promoting them.  

Post your events on community calendars, such as on Local Area Sites. Add events to your website, feature them in your newsletter, and regularly promote them through social media postings.  

Related: How to Use MyArea Network To Promote Your Holiday Events

#5) Start selling gift cards.

Get prepared for holiday shoppers. Make it easy for customers to purchase gift cards to your restaurant. Set up an online portal so customers can buy through your website. Also, offer an incentive to drive more sales. Offer a deal, such as buy a $50 gift card and get a $10 gift card for free.  

As you plan your marketing promotions for gift cards, don’t focus only on individuals. Also, consider how you can market to companies that may be looking for gifts for their staff. Offer bulk incentives to drive a large purchase from a group or organization.

#6) Create marketing campaigns.

Once you have an idea of what types of holiday initiatives you want to run this holiday season, consider how you will market them. Plan for the marketing campaigns and tactics that will help you promote your initiatives.  

Remember that it’s not enough to set up holiday marketing initiatives. You need to promote them to get them in front of audiences who are mostly likely to be interested in your holiday events, sales, and offers.

Related: 3 Types of Powerful Holiday Marketing Campaigns to Run in December

#7) Find the right partners.

With your restaurant holiday planning and marketing plans in front of you, now it’s time to execute on the tasks. Consider if your restaurant has the capabilities to drive each of your initiatives forward. Do you have the resources, time, and staff required to launch and promote all of your initiatives? If not, find and vet a partner who can help.

Finding the right partner can take time. Don’t waste precious time leading up to the holidays looking for marketing partners, kitchen staff, or online ordering support. Get started, and find the right partners today.  

Related: The 5 Restaurant Holiday Marketing Campaigns To Set Up Now

Get Help With Your Restaurant Holiday Planning

The holidays are always closer than you think. Don’t let time slip away and find yourself with no holiday marketing plans just a few weeks before the holiday season. Get started today with these restaurant holiday planning tips.  

If you need help with planning or executing on these tasks, MyArea Network is here to help. We specialize in helping local businesses connect with local customers. We’d love to see how we can help make this the best holiday season yet for your restaurant.  

Get started today. Contact us to set up your intro call with our team.