Our Top 6 Holiday Promotions to Drive Sales at Your Restaurant

October 20, 2015 | blog | By Mike Sullivan


You already know the importance of building your customer base and increasing traffic, but implement our Top 6 holiday promotions and you’ll drive sales with new and repeat customers.

One key ingredient in all these ideas is to plan ahead. When it comes to holiday promotions, it’s better to start your work while it’s still warm outside than scramble for something to drive sales the day before Thanksgiving.


Social media (Facebook and Twitter, in particular) lets you reach customers at a low cost and allows you to measure how specific marketing plans drive sales with social-only discounts or specials. Facebook is a great venue to post holiday tips from your in-house experts. Recipes, centerpiece and décor ideas, drink concoctions, etc. are all great fodder for social media and offer a good way to get your staff involved. Don’t forget to cross-promote on Pinterest and Instagram, too.


You might think, “Easier said than done,” but sometimes a little creativity and humor goes a long way. For example, if you’re sending email coupons or posting one on your website or social media, include a link to a “tell a friend” form, but add a bit of creative copy – maybe make the coupon look like an obvious counterfeit bill and tell customers, “Go ahead, pass it along. We won’t tell.” Using “funny money” for customers to spend at your restaurant is another smart strategy for a challenger brand. Remember, established brands like Starbucks never discount their products. Giving customers store credit through an in-house currency system avoids the discount.


Just because shoppers will be looking for the best deal on the latest gadget doesn’t mean they don’t need to eat! Hop on board the Black Friday (Nov. 27, 2015) and Cyber Monday (Nov. 30, 2015) bandwagons. Promote your Black Friday specials through flyers, signage and online, but in keeping with its name, confine your promotion of Cyber Monday to online/social media only.


Be sure you have plenty of gift cards available for purchase during the holiday season and instruct wait staff to try to upsell these before closing out the check. Need a good sales pitch? According to a National Restaurant Association survey, six in 10 Americans want a restaurant gift card for the holidays. Traditionally, a large number of gift cards are purchased on Christmas Eve, so you might expect a surge in last-minute purchases.


The holidays are a great time to attract new customers with a community event such as a Tree Lighting, Breakfast with Santa or Meet Santa event. Offer some free refreshments (drinks and appetizers or cookies) and be sure everyone gets a coupon to attract bounce backs.


Emphasize the convenience of your take out and delivery service during the busy holiday season. Promote that saving time means more time to spend with family and friends enjoying the holidays. Remind customers that you can also save them time by taking care of the sides and desserts while they handle the main course. Use flyers, your website and take-out and delivery menus to promote these services. Remember to target high-traffic shopping areas like malls.

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Whatever holiday promotions you choose this season, be sure you tailor each campaign to match the style and personality of your brand. The consistency of stamping your restaurant’s personality on each and every promotion and throughout every communication with customers is critical for challenger brands. The joyous spirit of the holiday season is the perfect time to let your brand shine.


Mike Sullivan

President at LOOMIS, the country’s leading challenger brand advertising agency


We challenge underdog brands to think differently. We help them find their voice, and urge them to blaze new trails to make sure they stand out from the pack. Whether you need an agency of record or support on a project, we are here to help you win.