If there's one time of year you can maximise the value of your restaurant marketing efforts, it's Christmas. The busiest period of the year for restaurants, bars and takeaways is perfect to deploy your most creative Christmas marketing ideas and promotions.
Many people spending a lot more on takeaway and dine-in, and with some small strategy tweaks, you can attract new and existing customers to spend online with you.
To celebrate the season of giving and offer the gift of restaurant marketing inspiration, here are 12 Christmas marketing ideas for restaurants that will help you increase your online orders during the busy festive period.
1. Run a competition
Hold a contest for everyone who places an order through your app in December, rewarding them with a prize, like a Christmas basket, or by creating and sending them a digital discount code. With Flipdish, you can see all your December easily orders in a Sales Report, filtered to December.
2. Reward your best customers
Spread the joy this Christmas by rewarding your best customers. Use reporting tools to find out your top users for the year and then reward them with a Christmas gift.
SMS marketing is a powerful way to get your message right into their pockets. Send a text to your best customers with details of their gift or even send them a digital Christmas card. Other gift ideas are a voucher code, free meal or a gift voucher. You’ll be spreading the joy this Christmas, while creating some invaluable word-of-mouth marketing buzz.
3. Add a Christmas menu item
Create a unique Christmas dish that will even get your regulars to come to your restaurant more during the festive season. Announce these new limited editions as part of your social media marketing strategy with a Facebook post, Instagram story or reel story or reel, or a short TikTok video, so your followers know to come in to try the new seasonal dishes.
4. Create an online Christmas offer
Create a special Christmas meal deal, for example, a 'Festive Feast' available online only through December. Make the most of December trends, like post-shopping munchies, tie in with local events and create group meal deals that can be shared between family and friends. Optimise your menu and use smart menu engineering to attract and encourage profitable Christmas orders.
5. Sell online gift cards
Create a new Christmas section in your menu and sell Christmas Gift Cards to celebrate the season of giving. Restaurant gift cards are one of the top category of gift cards that people purchase during the holidays.
6. Target your Christmas offers
Offer a Christmas basket online, and market it as the perfect gift for your child's teacher or your Secret Santa at work. Or create a meal deal targeted towards a specific time of the festive season, like a 'Christmas Party Recovery Hero' bundle.
7. Advertise that you cater for staff Christmas parties
Make the most of the festive cheer and offer lunch and evening group or catering menus, geared towards local offices, shops and group gatherings. Your customers can pre-order to have it ready and delivered at the time they need it, or even to multiple dresses for remote workers.
8. Use Christmas imagery
Add some Christmas cheer to your menu with festive Christmas images, and update your food pictures to be relevant to this time of year. Focus on warm and hearty winter menu ideas with rich colours.
9. Try Christmas-themed social media content
Make it easy for shoppers to share your Christmas promotions. You could make a short behind-the-scenes Christmas video to promote your Christmas content and deals, and even encourage social media sharing and tagging for small-stakes competitions, like win a free meal for you and a friend.
10. Give thanks to your loyal customers
Promote your online loyalty program at a time when diners eat out a lot and why not reward them using automated Flipdish customer loyalty campaigns? Learn more about how to grow customer loyalty in your restaurant in our essential Customer Loyalty Playbook.
11. Send your customers a happy Christmas message
12. Think about the month after Christmas
Don’t let your business or your customers suffer from those post-Christmas blues. January is a time of tight budgets, so create a good value January deal or share a discount code to encourage those orders to keep on coming.