8 things you can do to grow your business this holiday season

It’s a holiday season! And by “Season” we mean it’s time to prepare your restaurant for the busiest time of the year that’s just around the corner. The period between Thanksgiving and New Year is often trying for small and midsize restaurants as the big guys gear up with an onslaught of billboards, radio jingles, and TV commercials that we've all seen about a thousand times, and ineluctably get drawn to them another thousand times.

Plus, who says your loyal customers will remember you to satisfy their holiday cravings? It's a bummer of a thought, to be sure.

But don’t let the season of fierce competition get you down! Instead, focus on strategies that not only capture the attention of your customers now but help keep your business on people's minds year-round. It’s that time of the year when people spend a lot of money on shopping and experiences, and you need to take advantage of every opportunity to attract them with fresh ideas.

So to help you get your business organized for the upcoming holidays, we’re sharing a few effective ways to increase sales and drive traffic to your online ordering website

Create a holiday campaign

There’s no holiday promotion without an enticing and inviting holiday campaign. A 360-degree holiday campaign would require you to create interesting content for all online as well as offline platforms. It can either be a promotional deal or a contest where your customers can win goodies, discount vouchers, loyalty points and much more during the holiday month.

Regardless of what kind of promotion you choose, it’s best to start its marketing early. Give them a reason to connect with your brand throughout the season. But pay attention to how much holiday content you’re planning to post. Talking about Black Friday or Small Business Saturday is a great way to create a buzz without forcing them into the holiday spirit.

Pro Tip: Remember that your customers are going to meet a lot of people throughout the month, starting early would guarantee that they would talk about your promotions and deals with whoever they meet.

Offer smaller plates

Mini meals are trending - more than the saving, they are convenient for people on the go. Christmas shopping can be quite endearing, in the midst of all the rush, ordering a quick Mini Meal that can be delivered at the customer's preferable location is guaranteed to do better than any other category on the menu.

Adding a Holiday themed category offering different variations for quick, mini-meals will keep your customers hitched. Think about combining sophisticated appetizers and crowd-pleasing punches that can be shared amongst a family of 2 or perhaps a small group of friends.

This is also a great strategy to encourage customers to try your complete meals so they can develop a palate for your food. The special menu can run for the month of December and January.

Roll out seasonal catering

If your restaurant has slow foot traffic during the holiday season, consider promoting your catering services. The holiday season is perhaps the busiest time for the catering industry as more and more people prefer to hire the services of quick service or fine dining establishments for formal family dinners and backyard get-togethers.

Another way is to position your menu to fit the holiday party needs. Create party packs for to-go and online orders. In 2018, Taco Bells came up with Taco Bell Party Packs featuring three different categories: Taco Party Pack, featuring a mix of 12 crunchy or soft tacos; Taco Variety Pack, featuring a mix of 6 crunchy or soft tacos and 6 Nacho Cheese Doritos Locos Tacos; and Grande Meals, 10 bean burritos of your own choice, soft tacos and crunchy tacos. Such combo works great for people looking for holiday catering at home or for their office parties.

Partner with local retailers to boost holiday sales

A party caterer in California became a valuable one-stop-shop for family dinners by hosting tastings that let its dishes be sampled while introducing local party planners and decor suppliers.

It is no big news that partnerships and collaborations help you reach your goals faster. They expose you to new markets and acquire new customers. If you think creatively, holiday collaborations don’t necessarily require a significant time or financial investment.

Find out which local retailer or small business might benefit from the collaboration. If it benefits you both, why not go for it?

But here's the catch, look towards retailers or brands that are effective with their own marketing efforts. Is their content engaging? Do they have positive reviews online? What's their yelp or google rating? Are their followers interacting with their content? Ensure that the brand you choose to work with has a positive image amongst its customers.

Use restaurant technology

If you really want to increase your restaurant’s sales, you’ll need to make it easier for your customers to order from you. If you offer online ordering, you give your customers a reason to choose you over a competitor.

Using technology also allows your restaurant to be more discoverable online, as 80% of the online shoppers prefer to order food right from their computers and smartphones.

You can partner with a third party online ordering platform, like Restolabs to develop online ordering for your website. Such platforms easily integrate with your other restaurant technologies for a trackable and streamlined service.

Stay social

Make your presence felt on social media by running holiday campaigns, uploading pictures of new dishes in the menu, as well as interact with your fans/followers on a regular basis to keep the holiday spirit high. If you get inquiries, feedback or reviews from your customers, be sure to acknowledge them and respond as soon as possible.

Since the holiday is a time to make connections, it’s advisable to appoint a staff to regularly update all social channels with new promotions so that all your present and potential customers are aware of all the new offerings that your restaurant is likely to have throughout the month.

These Instagram marketing tips will help you create fabulous holiday feeds that will bring in more orders.

Email marketing

Everyone is doing them, every day, every hour. What you need is to be creative to the extent that your customers are left with no other option but to choose you over competitors.

Email Marketing is a great way to nurture long term relationships with your customers. Since your database consists of contacts that are already interacting with your business, they wouldn't mind receiving periodic newsletters from you. From Balck Friday Offers to Cyber Monday Promotions and even Holiday Charity, get the word out early with an email reminder.

Planning a new holiday-themed menu? Give exclusive, early access to your loyal members. Invite them to the grand launch on your website by sending out personalized emailers. Find out how email marketing the right way for your restaurant here.

SMS Marketing

Short, Sweet and Strong - that’s how your text messages should be to your customers. A recent survey suggested that millennials find messages with coupons more useful, and those coupons are redeemed five times more than Facebook and Email Ads. SMS messaging is a rapid and highly valuable resource to attract more visitors to the website.

When you develop your holiday-related text message marketing campaigns, don’t forget about your mobile ordering app! Send exclusive app-based offers to drive traffic to your mobile app. Something like an additional 10% on all orders when placed via the app is sure to set the ball rolling.

By implementing some or all of these tips, you can make sure that your restaurant has a merry and bright holiday season!

Continue reading the next article that describes The Best Loyalty Programs for the holiday season to drive restaurant sales.