Business Insights

Holiday Marketing Begins Now

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The holidays are more than the most wonderful time of the year. For foodservice operators, holidays can be the busiest — and most profitable time of the year. One Los Angeles restaurant, for example, estimates its end-of-year holiday sales account for about 20 percent of its annual revenue.

Think it's too soon to think about the holidays? Not at all. Now’s the time to line up holiday business in all its forms — large parties, private parties, on- and off-premises catering, takeout menus — before the frenzy of the holidays themselves.

Here's how:

Promote holiday business within your four walls. Use table tents, menu inserts and signage. Train staff to be able to answer questions about holiday offerings.

Deliver the news. Incorporate flyers or coupons in your delivery and to-go packaging to advertise holiday offers and events.

Reach out to past customers. Reconnect with guests who hosted parties or ordered catering for in-home parties from your restaurant. Let them know what you’re offering this year.

Promote online and via social media. Post enticing descriptions of your food, services, facility, and hospitality. Run photos and testimonials from past holiday seasons. Include booking links for holiday parties. Incentivize early reservations with discounts or other promotions.

Plan and promote holiday menus now. This gives you breathing room for being creative and affords opportunities to find cost-effective solutions. Build specials around traditional flavors, but with a twist. Determine what you’ll offer in terms of holiday takeout and bundled holiday meals.

Promote holiday takeout. Increasingly, consumers are enjoying restaurant-quality food in the comfort of their own home. In 2018, The NPD Group reported that restaurant meals consumed in-home accounted for 32 percent of all traffic. And with 30 percent of regular takeout users saying they typically purchase more food when ordering takeout versus dining in, there’s tremendous opportunity to increase check averages. Emphasize the convenience factor and how your holiday takeout orders can help guests be festive with less fuss. Major chains and independents are offering holiday-meal bundles to-go, and you can, too.

Lock in delivery options. Delivery is one of 2019’s hottest trends. Whether you offer delivery on your own or engage with a third-party provider, make sure you have this capability in place for the holidays and promote it.

Sell gift cards. Emphasize value with bundles, such as a free $10 gift card when you spend $100 on gift cards.

Ask your Shamrock Food Sales Representative how you can embrace holiday-menu opportunities.

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