Fast casual restaurants aren’t necessarily a seasonal business by nature, but that does NOT mean that you shouldn’t embrace that holiday spirit. Part of the fun of the holidays is getting together with people we might not get to see every day. A large chunk of the holidays usually involves sharing a delicious meal with you friends and family. You want them to share this experience with you restaurant. However, being a fast casual restaurant there are different rules to go by and it requires a different playbook than normal. Either way it is never too early to launch your holiday marketing, and you need to start as soon as possible.
Taking Your Restaurant Holiday Marketing to the Next Level
Now keep in mind that one major difference between a fast casual restaurant and a casual restaurant is that there is typically no table service and no servers. While people will still be dining inside the restaurant to enjoy their meal, this might not be the first idea for a holiday gathering. So this requires some different techniques.
First you want to get your customers – and your business itself – into that holiday spirit. This can mean a lot of different strategies from decor, promotions, menu options, or events.
- Decor: If it isn’t obvious, you will want your restaurant to be a destination for guests to enjoy the holidays. This can easily be done by the appearance and decor. You don’t need to go out and purchase a whole winter wonderland decor set but a little can go a long way.
- Promotions: You don’t just want to offer typical promotions, but offer promotions that directly tie into the holidays themselves. Some promotions might include:
- A discount to local area businesses when they host their holiday party at your restaurant, or cater from your restaurant.
- Create exclusive menu items for the season that people won’t be able to get during any other time of year. This could entice them to come to your restaurant specifically during the holiday season. You will want to create “must-see items” and promote the limited arrival of such items.
- Create holiday food promotions based on the “national food item of the day” list”. Over the years National “holidays” have become a trend. Days like National Margarita Day, National Donut Day, National Ice Cream Day, etc. are great to bring customers into related restaurants to celebrate. Throughout the month of December there are lots of these days to choose from. Here is just a small list of National Food Holidays in December:
- December 3rd- National Peppermint Latte Day
- December 4th- National Cookie Day
- December 6th- National Cook For Christmas Day
- December 26- National Candy Cane Day
- December 28- Box of Chocolates Day
- December 31- National Champagne Day
- Offering catering or take out promotions for holiday meals
- Events: You could hold special events throughout the holiday months. This could tie into the special days listed above or be completely original. This could help drive in droves of customers
Next you will want to tie in all of your direct mail collateral with the holidays by way of plastic postcards and other collateral. At DynamiCard, we offer a very popular holiday ornament mailer that includes a promotional pop-out card, which doubles as an effective piece of marketing AND as something that your customers can display on their tree during the holiday season. It’s a great way to both embrace the holidays AND seasonal marketing at the same time!
One thing that is so special about the holidays is gift giving. An easy and quick gift for people to purchase is a gift card. We can offer you products like gift cards, with optional magnetic striping and variable barcoding. You can even include promotions to help customers purchase gift cards. These types of promotions are easy and fairly cheap is to offer. This can be as easy as a complimentary $10 promo card for every $100 worth of gift card sales. You will want to advertise a limited gift card promotion to your existing, satisfied customers as this will incentivize them to purchase a gift card during the promo quickly. Gift cards also give guests another reason to share their love of your casual dining spot with friends and family. This is a perfect opportunity to not only spread the holiday spirit, but to also reach future customers or make existing customers happy. You might also want to advertise that this gift card could be an easy yankee swap/secret Santa gift, the perfect gift for your boss or coworkers, or an easy stocking stuffer. This is a perfect opportunity to really spread the holiday spirit, while making the type of impact people won’t soon forget.
If you’d like to find out more information about holiday marketing ideas for your fast casual restaurant, or if you have any additional questions you’d like to discuss with someone in a bit more detail, please don’t delay – contact us today.