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7 Ways to Spread Holiday Cheer and Drive-in More Traffic this Season

It may only be October, but the
Holidays are right around the corner! Before we know it, the world will be
turned inside out; we’ll be cutting down trees and bringing them inside,
unpacking lights and putting them outside, and people will be painting fake
snow on windows while complaining about the real snow on the ground. Before
things get too festive, it might be a good time to start thinking ahead..
Prepare your staff, your crowd, and your restaurant marketing before December
25th. Get everyone in the holiday spirit early – and enjoy the
season as long as you can! We’ve put together a few ideas to help you plan ahead
and brainstorm a few ways your own restaurant can engage its customer base this
holiday season. 

 1.] Trade Social Media Action for
Free Stuff

 Incentivizing customers to share your
posts means more eyeballs on your name which equals more customers in your
door. Be sure to include an awesome picture of your food so people are
associating that delicious eye candy with your restaurants name and
initiative. 

 Here’s what I mean:

     a.) Facebook
Post: “Help us help others in this season of giving! For every share this post
gets, we will serve a hot meal to a member of our community who is without a
home.“

-Coordinate
with a local Food Pantry or Shelter to provide (x) meals for one of the nights
their kitchen is open

  -That event is also something that can be shared on social
media

     b.) Facebook
Post: “Every person that likes this post will be entered to win a 3-course dinner
for 4 people. Shares count as 3 entries!” 

2.] Gift Card Bonus Programs

 As much as this is the season of
giving, we all know humans enjoy treating themselves well too. There seems to always
seen massive success when running the deal, “Buy one $50 gift card, and get an
additional $20 gift card for free!” (or really any amount free). People know
they have to buy a few gift cards as gifts every year anyways, they may as well
get a $20 gift card as a bonus for themselves to use! Or, of course, they can always
sweeten the gift they’re giving away.

(Gift cards also make terrific last
minute gifts, so this is a program you can run until the very last minute!)

 3.] Empowering Employees 

 As part of a Christmas gift to your
employees, here’s another great option: A “Friends & Family” coupon, VIP
LTO, or $5 gift card to your restaurant for them to give to their, you guessed
it, friends and family. This can help employees feel good about working for a
place that gives them perks they can pass along. Hopefully, it also encourages
their kin to come have an extra meal or two in your establishment. 

 4.] "Customers Nominating Other
Customers” Contests

 People love interacting with other
people on social media. (Obviously that’s why the whole Facebook idea worked in
the first place. Good thinking Mark Zucherberg!) Challenge people to highlight
other people doing things in the community; whether it’s a single mother
working overtime for her kids, a local youth worker going the extra mile, or
that guy in the neighborhood who always plows everyone’s driveway before they
can get to it, let people honor other people. 

 Here’s one idea we love: 

  ‘Pie From the
Sky’ Campaign (that name is obviously designed for a pizza place)

   -Facebook Post: “We want to hear about some folks who are spreading joy this
holiday season — Nominate a person who deserves a free pizza! Create a post of
your own, write out why this person is awesome, and tag us along with that
person. We’ll select a winner in 5 days!“

 5.] Employee Bonus Night

 We have one Restaurant Logic customer
in particular that has massive success with this every year. Basically, they
dedicate one night in which all of the profit from that night goes right back
to the employees. The community absolutely eats it up (in more ways than one).  There is always a great turn out and it’s
fantastic for employee morale. Utilize this idea for your own restaurant
and show your employees the love!

 6.] Free Holiday
Appetizer

 The slight tweaking or renaming of
crowd favorites is always a great strategy to create more perceived value for
one of your LTO’s. The holidays are a great excuse to take that concept to the
next level!

 Work with your food rep and your chef
to think of a low cost special appetizer (or dessert) that you can advertise
and give away for free to every table. This might only be for one night of each
week, or it could be every night for the whole month of December; either way,
it’s a great tactic to stay top-of-mind and get people excited about coming
into your restaurant. It’s like a seasonal version of what many Mexican
restaurants do every day with the free chips and salsa. You can always choose
to include a caveat where they’re required to spend $25 or more to deter the
free-loaders. 

 Here’s some examples of “Special
Appetizers” ideas:

     -5 Golden Rings…
of Onion (Obviously, onion rings)

     -Christmas Dip
(Spinach Artichoke Dip w/ tomato or peppers diced on the top for festive
coloring)

     -Reindeer
Droppings (Pretzel Bites piled on a plate) 

     -Santa’s Cookies
(Yes… just bake some cookies and toss them on a plate)

  This is a really underutilized
resource to restaurants — You can really do this with any cause or
organization. Lots of restaurants do it once or twice a year, but it can really
be done much more than that and end up being truly mutually beneficial! Whether
it’s your area’s United Way office, a local school program, or a national
foundation, it’s a perfect way to get people eating at your restaurant all
while supporting a great cause that both you and your customers care about. Select
a percentage that you’re comfortable with and it might just be enough to tip
the decision your way when customers are looking around for a bite to eat that
night.

 One last thing. Its not necessarily a marketing tactic, but keeping
your overall goal in mind, make sure you have enough staff to work through the
entire busy season. It seems a little counter productive to get customers in
the door, then not have enough staff to keep them all happy!

 The Christmas season is a time when even the savviest penny
pinchers are willing to spend a little more to honor the spirit of giving.
Hopefully this list will serve as a useful resource for you through these busy
times, and allow you to find some time to enjoy the holidays with your own
friends and family!

 Let us know what you think of our list, or if you have had
success with our tactics you’ve incorporated in the past.

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