Thanksgiving dinner used to be synonymous with the whole family sitting down to the ultimate homemade meal. While this is still the case for many Americans, others want someone else to take care of cooking and cleaning and are looking for Thanksgiving offers and coupons. Thanks to grocery inflation, it’ll be less expensive for some to dine out than to cook a Thanksgiving meal.
It’s not only Thanksgiving dinner that presents a lucrative opportunity for restaurateurs. 60% of Americans plan to dine out on Black Friday, Small Business Saturday or throughout holiday season.
As a restaurant owner, now is the time to start preparing your Thanksgiving Day marketing campaigns to entice both new customers and loyal customers during the holiday weekend. Here are seven restaurant marketing ideas to help you do just that.
1. Run a Thanksgiving Promotion
One of the best ways to attract potential customers during Thanksgiving weekend is to run a promotion. But what’s the best way to get the word out? You’ll want to reach your target audience through multiple channels, like email, social media and print.
Plan your holiday events at least one month in advance. Consider handing out flyers to loyal customers, hanging signage throughout your restaurant, engaging with followers on your social media platforms and sending out emails to your mailing list. Each customer has their own preference as to how they communicate with businesses, so you want to cover all the bases with your promotion ideas.
2. Get Creative with Your Thanksgiving Feast
Don’t get stuck on pumpkin pie and cranberry sauce. It’s common for people to be “turkey-ed out” after their Thanksgiving meals and to want a culinary change of pace during Thanksgiving weekend and beyond. To differentiate your restaurant, offer meals not normally associated with Thanksgiving. Depending on your customer base, you could decide to go with vegetarian or vegan fare. Other options to consider are non-American cuisine like Asian, Indian, Thai, Mexican or Italian.
3. Offer Catering, Online Ordering & Takeout
Catering, online ordering and takeout give you an opportunity to increase sales without customers having to sit down to eat at your restaurant. Plus, after all the effort that goes into preparing Thanksgiving dinner, people are happy to take a break from cooking for the weekend while still wanting to enjoy great food with loved ones. Try offering special Thanksgiving weekend packages geared toward customers in need of a break from their own kitchens.
4. Attract Customers with a Thanksgiving Event
Specials events are one of the best ways to influence a patron’s decision about where they want to dine at that time. This can take a variety of forms, from a celebratory party atmosphere to special live music and entertainment. For example, you might host a “Friendsgiving” event to provide guests with an opportunity to celebrate the holiday with friends. Again, you can offer a traditional Thanksgiving menu or create a specialized menu. Ask your guests to share photos of their dinners using a special event hashtag to drive engagement for your social media channels.
5. Give Back This Thanksgiving Season
Get into the holiday spirit by partnering with a local charity. Run a canned food drive in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, offering your customers a free drink or appetizer with their donation. Or donate a percentage of profits from a certain menu item to a local nonprofit. Your customers are feeling more charitable during the holidays and will appreciate your community involvement. They may even make it a point to dine at your restaurant specifically to join the cause. Be sure to highlight your involvement through social media, email and signage around your restaurant.
6. Take Reservations for Thanksgiving Meals
Once you start promoting your holiday specials and events, taking reservations can help assess your target audience’s level of interest. Even if your restaurant doesn’t normally take reservations, it’s a wise thing to do for Thanksgiving weekend. Not only will it help things run smoother, it will create a sense of urgency for people to sign up. Knowing space is limited will often get people to make reservations sooner.
7. Highlight Convenience This Holiday Season
Thanksgiving is a hectic time of year, that’s why it’s a great opportunity for your restaurant to be a place where guests can relax and de-stress, while still creating new memories. Tout these conveniences to your customers through your holiday advertising. Diners that know they can get a great dining experience with little hassle on Thanksgiving weekend will be more likely to stop by.
Get Started on Your Thanksgiving Marketing Ideas
Planning your Thanksgiving marketing now will ensure your restaurant gets a piece of all that (pumpkin) pie this holiday season. Contact your local Valpak office to strategize a Thanksgiving-themed promotion.