How to Market Your Restaurant for Seasonal Events

The “Big Game” in February is one of the most widely-watched sporting events in the United States. The game brings people together to watch football, but also centers around food and socializing. For restaurants, this is arguably one of the biggest profit-earning days of the year, especially if your restaurant has big screen TVs, sells chicken wings or delivers pizza. In the U.S. alone, Domino’s Pizza delivery drivers will cover the equivalent of more than 335 round trips from Boston to Seattle in that single day, which is about a 50 percent increase over a typical day.

Missed your chance to cash in on the “Big Game” this year? Good news – there are other seasonal events coming up. Here are a few tips on how to market your restaurant for all seasons.

Start with Specials

Menu specials are a valuable way of getting customers’ attention, especially during holidays when more people dine out. Valentine’s Day is only a few days away, and it’s a perfect opportunity for your business to cater to nearly 70 million of Americans planning to go out to eat on this romantic holiday. Try offering a “prix fixe” on your menu for Valentine’s Day. Include something as simple as a Buy-One-Get-One deal on certain items, two free glasses of wine or offer special menu options. California Pizza Kitchen is offering a special Valentine’s Day-themed menu this year, featuring an appetizer, two entrees and one dessert for $32 dollars. Themed menus, promotions and specials can be customized to fit nearly any event, so think about how you can incorporate the season into your restaurant promotions.

Advertise Early

Many customers dining out during events or holidays choose their dining options ahead of time and make reservations. With so many choices, it’s important to promote your restaurant prior to the event. Use targeted social media to promote specials and get in front of customers, and make sure your deals are easy to find on your website. In addition, some restaurants will run their deals before or after the actual event so customers have more opportunities to stop in. Papa John’s Pizza offered free large 3-topping pizzas between January 29 and February 1 for customers who placed an order of at least $15 online using a promo code this year. The free pizzas are redeemable after the “Big Game” until February 22. Papa John’s customers got their pizza during game day, but now they have an easy way to come back.

Find Ways to Stand Out

Lots of customers are looking for novelty during seasonal events. Think outside your menu and consider how else you can join in on the festivities. Change up your employees’ uniforms so they can join in or consider selling “themed” promotional items for the holiday. Try decorating your restaurant to fit the specific event. For more than 20 Valentine’s Days, White Castle has brought romance to its booths by turning them into “Love Castles.” The fast-food restaurant provides tablecloths, candles, tableside service and reservations on Valentine’s Day. In 2013, more than 20,000 guests dined there on the holiday.

These are just a few ways you can market your restaurant business during holidays and seasonal events. Mark your calendars so you can prepare throughout the year.