How to Attract Diners to Your Restaurant During the Holidays

by Sarah Niderost, 3 minutes read
HOME blog how to attract diners to your restaurant during the holidays

After they’ve made sure all their holiday shopping is done, you want prospective diners to incorporate your restaurant in their seasonal plans.

The holidays can be either a win or loss situation for restaurants — with people leaving town for holidays and hosting more dinners at home. So make sure that this year is a win-win situation for your business and your staff.

Continue reading to learn how you can attract holiday crowds to your restaurant this year.

Offer catering

Some diners prefer to go out to restaurants to celebrate the holidays. Others want to host dinner parties in the comfort of their own homes. While you spread joy inside of your restaurant, offer holiday catering for customers to enjoy your food at home. If this is their first time trying your restaurant, you have a great opportunity to make them loyal customers.

Here are three tips for offering holiday catering:

  • Tailor your menu to group sizes. From couples and families of four to dinner soirees of ten, the more options you have, the more opportunities you have for more orders.

  • Pay attention to flavor preferences. Include customer favorites and ingredient substitutions so diners with food allergies or sensitivities are able to order from you too.

  • Offer delivery. Picking up food on the day of a big celebration can take up time in your customers’ fun-filled day. Offer delivery so they can relax and decorate before their big meal.

Pro tip: To easily manage your staff across deliveries, catering jobs, and your restaurant, try a scheduling app. It’s the simplest way to make sure everyone’s in the right place, at the right time.

Add seasonal specials to your menu

Help your guests enjoy the season by serving an exclusive holiday-themed menu. When they know it’s only available for a limited time, they won’t want to miss trying it. Bonus: new menus are a great way for your kitchen staff to get together, brainstorm, and engage with each other to make a great holiday dining experience.

Here are three ways to level up your holiday dishes and drinks:

  • Make renditions of customer favorites. Are your loyal diners big fans of the woodfired porkchop you serve? Add some seasonal sides to the dish and give it an upgrade during the holiday season.

  • Spruce up your cocktails. Give cranberry vodkas a seasonal twist by garnishing them with cranberries and sprigs of mint. You can even serve a spin on Irish Coffees by serving spiked hot chocolate. Don’t shy away from being festive. Decorative cocktails are a great photo opportunity for your diners to spread the word about your cocktails on social media.

  • Don’t be afraid to get creative. Holidays are a great time to get your team to get out of their comfort zones and create a menu that will drive traffic to your restaurant. They’re also an opportunity for newer kitchen staff members to learn and grow. When they see just how many guests enjoy their dishes, it can boost their morale too.

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Send a postcard

Collect the most appetizing images of menu favorites and send a postcard out to your loyal customers, inviting them to dine at your restaurant during the holidays. Include any information about seasonal specials and how to make reservations. This is an easy and inexpensive way to get diners to your door.

Here are three tips for sending your postcard:

  • Send them well in advance. Make sure to send your postcard a month before the holiday rush starts. If you send one too late, your customers may have already made their holiday plans.

  • Include a special offer. Give diners who bring their postcard to their reservation a discount on their meal or complimentary drinks. This is a great way to show your appreciation and spread holiday cheer.

  • Have a great holiday greeting. “Tis’ the season to celebrate good food” is a great example of tying in some catchy seasonal messaging to your postcard.

Deck the halls

Getting festive is more than just a great way to decorate your restaurant. It’s also a great way to create new dining experiences your customers will love. While your staff create new dishes and spread holiday cheer, your new customers can become loyal ones in the new year.

Looking for other ways you can transform your restaurant? Sign up for a free trial of Deputy and see how smart scheduling can save you and your team time, so you can all focus on what you do best.