Increasing and promoting your business during the holidays can not only significantly multiply your profits for the year — it can set the pace for next year as well. No matter how tight the family income is from January through October once November rolls around people begin to let loose and celebrate. Help things along with these tips.
Quick Tips for Promoting Your Business During the Holidays
From November through January most people shop more, have more parties, and eat out more. They expect to spend more money than usual, partly because it’s tradition and partly because the celebration increases the intensity of the experience. The more you increase the holiday spirit around your business the more you can tap into that.
Decorate, Decorate, Decorate
First, take a look at the first impression that your customers get when they walk in. Do the feel that warm holiday welcome?
Just before Thanksgiving is a great time to start but all is not lost if you miss the moment, just begin as soon as you can. A wreath on the door, poinsettias here and there, and perhaps candles on the tables all contribute to he holiday spirit. If you can add seasonal music softly playing in the background so much the better.
Get Your Menu into the Mood
Seasonal menu items are a great way to encourage guests and it doesn’t have to be a big change. Add a daily special by printing it on a piece of paper and clipping it to the regular menu or just have the servers let customers know verbally. Things like pumpkin pie, cranberry cookies or bread, spice cake, egg nog, comfort foods, or special cocktails are perfect. Don’t just rely on the menu, either. Have servers bring small sample bites to offer each table.
Instead of serving mints when the check is presented why not serve small candy canes to each guest? Think of ways to bring holiday cheer to each guest.
Offer Special Pricing
Now is a good time to run coupons that your guests can use when they come in. The best ones tend to be the buy one/get one free or the buy one/ get one half off dinners but anything that let’s your customer keep a little money in his pocket is a good idea.
Even if you don’t normally do outside catering you may want to offer your customers party trays, desserts, side dishes, or even whole holiday meals. Most people have at least one gathering to attend where they are asked to bring food. It is hard to find the time during the busy holiday season so providing your delicious menu items in a party package not only creates more opportunities for sales but it also introduces your menu to potential new customers.
The holidays are a time when people concentrate on giving. Giving back to the community is a great way to promote your business — just be sure to make it a media event.
- Donate food items to the local shelter.
- Have a day when the profit from the dessert goes to a local charity.
- Throw a party for the fire department, police department or foster care families.
- Have a free dessert with canned goods day or free drink with a new, unwrapped toy day.
Don’t Forget Gift Cards
Gift cards not only make a convenient last minute stocking stuffer for your guests they introduce your business to people who may have never considered trying it before. Have the servers mention gift cards, keep a display off them by the cash register or the hostess’s station, and offer a discount for multiple purchases. For every $100 of gift cards a customer buys offer him a $10 gift card or coupon of his own.
Send Christmas Cards
If you keep a list of your best customers (and you should) send them Christmas cards with a personal note inside. Don’t promote your business but keep it friendly and casual.
Reward Social Media Use
If you have a social media account (and you should) reward your followers with a special “secret code word” or coupon for a free dessert or cocktail.
Even if you don’t do it the rest of the year, offering seating by reservation during the holidays saves your guests time and makes them feel special. People like businesses that make them feel special.
Have a Blogger Party
Food bloggers have loyal followings. Invite local food bloggers to a special after hours party to introduce them to new cocktails and menu items. Be sure to introduce yourself to each one and talk to them personally for a few minutes. You want them on your side.
Analyze What Worked and What Didn’t
Keep good records and notes about everything that you do and the customer’s response to it, as well as what kind of profit you saw from it. Analyze the information after the holidays and let it be a guide for how you do things next year.
Most of all, keep everything fun and relaxed. People are stressed for a variety of reasons this time of year and if you can offer a relaxing, pampering atmosphere you will have lines going out the doors! Meet with servers regularly to discuss any problems that have occurred, difficult customers, and to encourage them. Find ways of affirming your staff. Christmas bonuses, a company Christmas party, contests, and other events keep things lively and to help the staff stay focused on their good attitudes.
A nice bump in traffic during the holidays may raise traffic the rest of the year if you play your cards right!