Rachel Persoon

- November 2022

15 tips & tricks: this is how you’ll have a packed restaurant during Christmas

All I want for Christmas is you! When you’ve decided to keep your doors open during Christmas, it's now a priority to fill up those seats. How do you ensure that your target audience visits your restaurant instead of your neighbourgh's? This article highlights 15 marketing, social media and pr tips to fill those seats during Christmas!

Marketing tips

  1. Start early. Be sure to start two months before. You can do so by, for example, highlighting your Christmas activities in your reservation tool. However, you are not limited to the reservation tool in your customer journey. Feel free to add a similar text to your confirmation emails or on the many review platforms.
  2. Do you cater to business guests? Do not keep them waiting! Create a business menu and remain flexible so that companies of all sizes can book their Christmas lunch, brunch or dinner with you, regardless of their budget.
  3. Create a pop-up on your website showcasing your Christmas menu and create urgency amongst your target audience through phrases such as "Limited availability" or "X number of tables remaining". Add a contact form in which you also gather the email addresses, which you can then add to your database. (Note: always adhere to the local privacy laws)

  1. Do you already send out newsletters? Next to the fact that this is a great tool to communicate with your target audience, it also allows for more optimalisation, whereas social media, for example, does not. With the right tools, you can divide your database through various tags. Through this, you can share the right deals with the right people. Families might be looking for a family-friendly deal, whereas young adults might be looking for more of a party setting. Through market segmentation, you can communicate different messages to different target audiences.
  2. In 2022 we hear it often: personal communication sells! Next to offering a variety of choices that fit everyone's diets, it is often the small details that result in great outcomes. Have you considered creating menus with your guests' names handwritten on them? Little effort, great result!
  3. This, that or both? Do not settle with a newsletter, a website pop-up, or a mention in your confirmation email. Go all out. This includes, of course, your social media channels. Count down the days on Facebook using an advent calendar or reveal a Christmas dish a day on Instagram. Your main priority is to keep the engagement and interest of your target audience leading up to the holidays.

Social media tips

  1. We often look surprised when the local retailer shows signs of the Holidays in their inventory in early October – but is it really that odd? Little did we know that many festive December dinners are booked in October, according to data from OpenTable in 2021. So, why wait with your social media (dark) ads? Start promoting!
  2. Don't wait untill your Christmas decoration is hanging and definitely do not use old stock photos. Your loyal fans have seen those photos already, and your menu has likely changed. Grab your Christmas decorations, start decorating and have a fun afternoon with your staff. Use the new/fresh content on your social media channels.

  1. Due to the fierce competition among short-video platforms (such as TikTok, Instagram Reels and YouTube Shorts), video content is currently performing best on social media platforms. Creating a video around your Holiday activities and pushing this through dark ads targeted at the right target audience is a great social strategy. Dark ads allow you to promote specific content amongst a selected target audience without the consumer being able to navigate to this content manually. So, in short, they are shown to your desired target audience but are not published on your public channels. This allows you to advertise Christmas content in autumn without publicly posting about an event a couple of months from now.
  2. Make sure to make your video content shorter. Make the first three seconds captivating and exciting. Additionally, limit the length of your videos to a maximum of twelve seconds.

Pr tips

  1. Change the appearance of your restaurant into that of a winter wonderland. It is vital to bring the Christmas feeling to your restaurant to get people talking about it. Do so by decorating with Christmas lights, a Christmas tree, blankets, firepits, pillows and stockings. A little much? No worries. Just decorating your terrace is also enough.

  1. Create an original Christmas menu with creative dishes. Think of an 'Instagrammable' extravagant dessert that will get the mouths of your guests watering and, more importantly, get them talking. Or opt for whole-themed menus, such as a full traditional Italian Christmas menu (hello panettone!), which is only available during the Holidays. No cutting corners on this one because you will not fill those seats with just a simple menu.
  2. Invite press and influencers to try the menu, creating an online word-of-mouth effect leading up to the Holiday season.
  3. Are you usually closed during lunch? Open your doors for a special Christmas lunch/brunch. Do you usually only serve wine pairings? Creating a beer pairing might be that attention-grabbing detail you will need. Doing things out of the ordinary can help gain traction on- and offline amongst your target audience.

Remember to build a database with details of this year's guests for next year. Like that, you can grow a loyal group of guests who will want to know about your Holiday plans the following year.

No time to think about creative content, figure out how dark ads work or to create catchy copy and activities? We get it. Contact us to help you fill up those seats during the coming Holiday season.

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