Restaurants must prepare for the holidays

Restaurants must prepare for the holidays

Stores aren't the only establishments that are busy over the holiday season as restaurants usually have more diners to serve as well. In 2011, payment processing firm First Data found that the food service industry earned 11.7 percent more than it had in 2010.

The holidays can be a lucrative time, but the season is also very competitive. Shoppers are focused on buying gifts, but they also need to find places to eat during those long trips to the mall. Restaurants cannot afford to count on passersby and walk-ins and should craft marketing campaigns to attract returning patrons during the busy winter months.

Keep them coming back
The more often customers come back, the better. Your main focus should be on ensuring that every patron has an enjoyable experience to encourage repeat business. You can also give out promotional items to increase your establishment's visibility.

Holiday shoppers are busy and have a great deal on their minds between hosting celebrations, buying presents and visiting family members. Consumers may not remember the delicious meals they ate on Black Friday, so restaurants should consider giving away physical reminders.

Promotional pens can be given to every customer, so they don't forget about your restaurant. You can leave pens around your establishment or include them with every bill. Some consumers may think it's rude to take their servers' pens, so instruct your waitstaff to tell every patron that the writing utensils don't have to be returned.

Advertising throughout the season
Pens are small reminders and their main characteristic is that they have long shelf lives. A restaurant can use other promotional giveaways that share this trait and promote your business for the entire holiday season and into next year.

Items like branded magnets may not seem effective at first, but they stay in consumers' homes for long periods of time. While the advertisements aren't as large as billboards, magnets are difficult to ignore and can effectively raise an establishment's visibility.

If you want to turn seasonal customers into regular patrons, you should consider giving away promotional wall calendars. Consumers may not actively look at the decorations each day, but whenever they write down important dates they'll be exposed to your brand. You can also include different coupons on every page, so diners may make monthly visits to your establishment.

The holidays can be a hectic time for businesses that make preparations and effectively advertise their services. Restaurants can craft long-lasting marketing campaigns to capitalize on seasonal clients who can become loyal customers.

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