Ultimate Guide to Holiday Marketing for Restaurants

For restaurants, the holiday season can be feast or famine. We have compiled a list of tips for holiday marketing that will help keep your tables full all season long.

Reward Early Reservations

Beautiful gift card, vector illustration.

Fill your restaurant calendar for the holidays by rewarding your guests who book early. A gift card or discount for early planning along with a cancellation fee will ensure your dining room and/or event room is fully booked for the season.

Host a Pre-Holiday Showcase Event

Festive Holiday Drink

A great idea from RestaurantBusinessOnline.com is to host a mock-party for interested event planners to attend. You can show off what you can do for people who are looking for a place to host their holiday party. Pull out all the stops and showcase the best options while making it clear that the options are customizable for various budgets. Be sure to post holiday hours and offerings in a table top card holder to keep everyone focused on why they’re there.

Offer Rewards for Repeat Guests

Customer Loyalty Concept

Reach out to people and companies that held events with you in previous years and offer them early-reservation rewards. If they were satisfied with you in the past, you might just make their decision an easy one.

Social Media Campaigns

Social Networks On A Computer Screen. Facebook, Foursquare  And

In addition to running traditional advertisements, BUZZTIME.com recommends stepping up your social media presence with deals and offers unique to social media platforms.

Here are just some examples:

  • Facebook ads with coupons or offers
  • LinkedIn ads with event specials
  • Foursquare check-in specials
  • Twitter and YouTube – “Mention this ad and get a discount”-type specials

If you make it a prerequisite that your guests must like, follow, or be connected with your restaurant, you’ll have more of an audience the next time you post or promote.

Gift of Giving – Host a Drive

love, charity, holidays, children and people concept - smiling l

The holidays are a great time for people to get into the spirit of giving. You can give them an opportunity to give and receive with a charity drive.

There are several options: Donate a can of food for Thanksgiving and get a free drink; donate a coat or toy and get a free appetizer; or 10% of all profits from 12pm-5pm on Tuesday go to support your local charity. Be creative; the more you can get your community involved, the more successful it will be.

Target Out-of-Towners

Receptionist giving tourist information to hotel guests upon arr

One aspect of holiday marketing most restaurateurs forget is the out-of-town guests, as they can be difficult to market to. BuzzTime recommends you contact the concierges at local hotels to offer samples so that they can recommend your restaurant to guests. You could also consider giving discounts specific to hotel guests.

Don’t Forget Local Businesses

Small Business owner with "open" sign

Large corporate offices are not the only businesses that hold holiday parties for their employees. Many small businesses are looking for affordable catering services or private rooms to treat their staff to a holiday get-together. Put together some flyers that cater to this group with either take-out or dine-in specials.

Don’t Forget the After-Holiday Crowd

Christmas Turkey On Holiday Table

Remember that after the holidays, people are exhausted, tired of leftovers, and often dreading the bills coming. This could be a great time to capture extra business by offering small discounts on foods that are not traditional holiday foods. Giving customers the idea that they’re saving money, while letting someone else cook and clean is attractive. If you run your specials on food that isn’t turkey and ham, it will make the decision even easier.

Make your restaurant easy to patronize this season and you will likely earn a percentage of those guests as regulars. Make sure you have enough staff to make the experience an enjoyable one to keep them coming back.


  1. http://www.buzztime.com/business/blog/holidays-promotions-restaurant/
  2. http://possector.com/marketing-promotion/restaurant-holidays-promotion
  3. http://www.restaurantbusinessonline.com/operations/advice-guy/smart-holiday-marketing
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