9 Tips to Write Engaging Restaurant Blog Posts that Increase Sales

Blogs can be a powerful marketing tool for a restaurant. We talk about them in our Content Marketing 101 blog as well. When people are looking for a new restaurant to try out, they turn to the internet. Blogs are great for showing off what your restaurant does best, whether that is featuring fun events, new items, great photos of your food, or stories from staff and customers.

Here are nine tips to write engaging restaurant blog posts that increase sales.

Plan It Out and Post Consistently

“You should have a plan before you begin posting. Don’t just write about what you feel like, do some research and see what keywords and phrases your customers are using online. Once you’ve got some ideas and are ready to begin posting, be sure to post at a pace you can maintain consistently,” recommends David Behling, food blogger at EliteAssignmentHelp.

Once a week is a sensible starting place for a restaurant blog. Don’t worry if you feel like you have more things to say, you can always write posts and then have them set live later on your schedule.

Talk About Recipes

People are always searching online for new recipes and having yours available can be a great way to get some buzz and some new patrons. Not only does this give you a chance to brag about your amazing cuisine, you’ll also get to help out a potential customer. Give them a taste of what you’ve got to offer and then just wait for them to come in and try out the real deal.

Consider Local Interests

“Blogging about local-specific interests can be a great way to make your restaurant stand out. Think about some local foods and traditions and integrate them into your menu,” writes Jane Smith, content marketer at BigAssignments. People love an establishment that takes pride in its community, and they also love unique takes on local niche foods.

Write About Special Events You’re Opening

People are always looking for a fun new event to attend, and it’s not always easy to find one. Plan out some fun events at your restaurant and then write about them in your blog. Not only will your regulars love it, but you’ll get some new fans once the event is over. One good way to approach this is to write a blog post with the top five things to do in your town, and then have your event as one of those ideas.

Feature Your Employees

It never hurts to ask your employees for ideas on what to blog about. Spend a few minutes picking their brain and you’ll probably get some new ideas and perspectives. If they’re open to it, ask them what they like best about the restaurant or even just what they like to do for fun. Most important of all, ask them what their favourite dish you offer is. Your customers will love getting to know the people that make and serve them their food, and your employees should have fun too.

Answer Common Customer Questions

Keep track of the most common questions you receive from customers, or better yet, ask for some feedback on your social media. Make a post or two in which you answer these questions. Ask your staff for their input as well, they are the ones who interact with your customers and have their finger on the pulse. For every person who asks a question in person, there are many who are wondering about it, or asking online, so these kinds of posts can be very helpful.

Feature New Menu Items

People get excited whenever there is something new, especially when one of their favorite restaurants has something new on the menu. If you have a new menu item, be sure to share it on your blog and create some buzz.

Write about the process and inspiration that went into creating the new dish. A blog about a new item is also a great way to remind old customers why they loved your restaurant in the first place and will inspire them to pay an overdue visit.

Make Your Blog Visually Appealing

The way your blog looks matters. It’s best to go with a clean, simple design that doesn’t distract from your writing. If you have an established look then try and keep your blog consistent with that.

One of the most important aspects of a restaurant blog is having quality visuals. Don’t just describe your food, post appealing photographs of the dishes you’re talking about. Did you just host a really fun event? Put up some photos and prove it. Don’t forget to include photos of your restaurant full of people enjoying themselves.

Use Some Online Resources to Help Write Your Blog

Before you get cracking on those restaurant blog posts, you need to make sure your writing is as good as it can be. These online writing tools can help you improve the quality of your writing:

  1. ViaWriting, WritingPopulist, and Grammarly – If you find grammar a difficult thing to grasp, you’re not alone. These grammar resources can help make sure you’re not leaving any grammatical mistakes in your posts.

  2. Essay Writer and UKWritings – These online proofreading tools, suggested by UKWritings review, will make your editing process a whole lot smoother and easier.

  3. AcademAdvisor and StateofWriting – Check out these blogs and read through their useful writing suggestions. It never hurts to mix things up and try out a new strategy.

  4. EssayRoo and BoomEssays – Try out these editing tools and see how much better your blog posts are as a result. They are dependable and have been reviewed at AustralianReviewer.

  5. MyWritingWay and LetsGoandLearn – Use these writing guides and make sure you are following a complete, well-rounded writing process. Good writing takes time and effort, so it’s good to use a guide.

Conclusion

Blogs are an amazing way for restaurants to inform people about what they have to offer, as well as build buzz and excitement. They provide a great platform to do things such as answer FAQs, announce new menu items and events, share recipes, and post photos of your venue and dishes. Follow these nine tips to write engaging restaurant blog posts that increase sales.

Strategic Planning Tips for Restaurant Owners and Managers

As a restaurant owner or manager, what is your main goal? Of course, profitability is up there (and may even be #1), along with building a reputation that retains loyal customers. It’s every restaurateur’s dream to be the new hot destination for delicious fare and an attractive atmosphere. And it’s also wise to look at the bigger picture to determine how you’ll keep your wheels turning year after year.

Although there are hundreds of thousands of restaurants in the United States alone, it’s possible to approach the top tier of eateries with the right combination of data quality management and an impressive operation spanning from staff efficiency to food quality.

Data quality management simply means collecting the best information available and keeping it up to date. To do so, you should run reports often in order to keep tabs on all aspects, from sales to inventory levels and most popular items.

For a restaurant, there are plenty of tools out there that can help you keep tabs on all aspects of your business. Point of sale systems, like Toast or Upserve for example, do just that. They have extensive reporting capabilities that span from your transactions to your inventory and overall staff efficiency.

With good data and a firm understanding of your business goals and needs, you can make decisions that can potentially catapult your restaurant to the “must go” list for everyone in your surrounding area.

In this blog, we’ll discuss ways you can take a deeper look at your restaurant’s operations, and ways to improve on those operations, in order to set yourself up for success.

Start with SWOT Analysis

A SWOT Analysis is an exercise to determine your restaurant’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (hence the acronym SWOT). When performing a SWOT, you should look at both internal and external factors to get the best picture of the current state of your restaurant.

Among your strengths may be the popularity of your food, your marketing strategy, and your managers’ years of experience. Use these to propel your business forward, constantly maintaining (or improving) what your company is already good at. This is your angle that can help edge you ahead of your competition.

Weaknesses may begin with an inability to extract, analyze, and use the data at your fingertips. They may also include the inability to stay on top of industry trends, an issue with keeping track of inventory, or constant turnover of wait staff. Retention is tough in the restaurant business, and paying a premium for good, experienced employees may pinch the bottom line but result in significant long-term returns by retaining customers.

Opportunities can include business visibility through online reviews, the chance to grow your social presence, growing your online presence, and leveraging your loyal customers through word-of-mouth and marketing campaigns.

An easy way to act on an opportunity, like your online presence, is to have a clear strategy for responding to your reviews, both negative and positive. This is low hanging fruit that doesn’t take too much effort.  Of course, another opportunity to take control of your online visibility is by working with a menu management company like SinglePlatform. With 97% of people finding businesses through a search engine, this is key to attracting new customers.

Threats to your restaurant may include nearby competitors, an inconsistent social media presence, negative reviews, or poor staff management. You should pay special attention to these threats because they are the most risky factors that can tour your success sour.

Putting SWOT to Use

After putting together your SWOT Analysis, begin to create an action plan for business improvement. Determine which challenges you’ll tackle first and map out a timeline with goals and checkpoints. Without having a solid plan in place, you may push your responsibilities to the side in order to solely focus on the here and now instead of the future.

Start off by determining how you’ll improve on your weaknesses. Your weaknesses are your biggest hurdles and the elements that pose the most difficult challenges to your business. Then, focus on how to combat your threats.

And of course, don’t just focus on your threats and weaknesses. You should make those top priority, but don’t forget to continue to fortify the areas of your business that make you shine. Your strengths should be consistently monitored, and if needed, improved over time.

Competitive Analysis

Once you’ve examined your business inside and out, put a laser focus on your competition. After all, the surrounding restaurants with similar concepts are probably some of your biggest threats.

Make a comparison list between your restaurant and those of your competitors. Determine what you do better and what they exceed at. Analysis can include pricing, menu items, location, staff, and more. Be brutally honest in this appraisal, don’t just downplay a competitor’s strengths to make yourself feel better.

Putting Competitive Analysis to Use

If there’s something that a competing restaurant does very well, think about how you can put your own spin on it and use it in your own business.

Say their printed marketing materials are more eye catching than yours – consider hiring a graphic designer to help you take your brand to the next level. Or maybe they’ve got an enticing curb appeal that magnetizes passersby. Consider investing some budget into making your exterior more attractive.

From this competitive analysis, you will discover more areas in your restaurant in need of improvement in order to stay ahead of your competitors. It’s better to be aware of your surroundings than to turn a blind eye to those doing business around you. Staying informed about your competitors will help your business thrive.

Take A Look At Your Marketing Strategy

Marketing your business with success takes a lot of planning and strategy to uphold the creative aspect. We talk about marketing often in this blog, because it’s really important! Do an evaluation of your current, and even past, marketing strategies and tactics. What was successful? What was a complete flop?

Did you have success with paid advertising on Instagram? Have you seen an uptick in reservations since placing your action button on your social media? Maybe you sent out a direct mail piece with a discount and attracted large crowds. Use those tactics that work and repurpose them in new marketing campaigns. Like they say, if it’s not broken, don’t fix it.

At the same time, you should always be evolving and keeping up with present day demands. Marketing is a bit of trial and error, so don’t be afraid to test out something new. A pop up event for the holidays could help boost sales. Maybe hosting a Valentine’s Day date night will inspire ticket sales. You won’t know until you try. Just make sure your plan is solid and the budget needed is there.

Of course, we believe a crucial part of your restaurant marketing is your online presence. If you’re not searchable online, you’re missing the chance to attract new customers that have never dined with you before. That’s equivalent to throwing away cash! Learn more about why it’s important here.

In Closing

Marketing can help you bring in business – but your overall restaurant operations will help you retain customers for the long run. Strategic planning is essential to any business and can help you get a firmer grasp on what you excel at and which areas of your restaurant need improvement. It keeps you in the know about your own internal landscape, as well as what you’re facing with your competition. Use these strategic planning tips to create a solid foundation for your restaurant and let the rest fall into place.

5 Holiday Preparation Tips for Your Restaurant

‘Tis the season for more restaurant business – whether it’s a company holiday party or just a celebration among friends, your restaurant will probably be experiencing an uptick in busyness in the coming weeks.

Although it’s a positive to bring in more customers and higher profit, it’s also wise to be prepared for the rush.

To get you in the spirit, and to prepare you for a busy season, we give you 5 holiday tips to incorporate into your restaurant strategy.

1. Make Your Staff Schedule & Check It Twice

Santa’s making his list, and you should too. Plan ahead when it comes to staffing for the holidays. Plenty of people will be requesting off for travel and hoping for earlier hours, so make sure you’re ready to roll throughout the season.

If you’re old school like Mr. Claus, you may still be using a pen and paper to write out daily schedules. This is both time-consuming and unreliable – it’s easy to lose a paper schedule and forget when your shift begins.

Utilizing a staff scheduling tool will help to make your operations easier and will keep employees informed about when they’re expected to work. If an employee needs the day off, they can request it easily through the system and wait for approval on an app.

Plus, with the app capabilities, any changes in your schedule will be reflected in real-time, ensuring everyone is in-the-know about last minute changes. Learn more about employee scheduling tools at 7shifts.com.

2. Make Sure Your Cupboards Are Fully Stocked, But Not Overloaded

There would be tons of disappointed kids on Christmas if Santa Claus forgot to load his sleigh with toys. And you’d have some hungry customers on your hands if you forgot to fully stock your kitchen with necessary ingredients.

Making sure your inventory ready for an influx of customers is key – and you can check your levels with the help of a point of sale inventory tool, like Toast. Utilizing a tool within your point of sale system again eliminates the need for pen and paper or convoluted spreadsheets.

Plus, inventory reports will give you a clear picture about your food cost and waste, helping you make better informed decisions. Although you want to make sure you have all the ingredients needed to serve your customers, you don’t want to throw out rotten food or unused goods because you ordered too much. Learn more about the benefits of a POS here.

If you’re introducing a seasonal menu, you’re probably using in-season ingredients, like those we mentioned in a previous blog. Keep tabs on the availability of these items, which could be compromised by weather conditions or other outlying factors. For example, there’s currently an avocado shortage, which is proving to be a challenge for Mexican restaurants and other businesses that rely on avocados for many recipes.

If you do in fact find out there is a pomegranate or clementine shortage, you’ll have to improvise and make menu adjustments to substitute the ingredient in your recipes.

3. Make Your Guests Feel At Home With Holiday Decor

‘Tis the season for decorating! The days are cold and the nights are long, it’s the time of year when most people opt for ordering in instead of dining out. Although you probably (or should) have a plan in place for online ordering and delivery, you still want guests to come through your decked out doors in the winter months.

An inviting, cheerful ambiance will help to inspire diners to join you. I know I’m partial to sitting home by my Christmas tree during December, but going to a place that’s draped in holiday cheer might just get me off the couch.

Show off your own personal style by incorporating holiday decor that suits you and your restaurant. Hanging lights, a tree, and some ornaments can liven up your space without breaking the bank. Something as simple as a festive place setting can make a subtle impact.

Rolf’s German Restaurant in New York City takes holiday decor to the next level and is well-known for their over-the-top Christmas displays.

 Rolf’s
Rolf’s

Although this may be a little extreme for your establishment, you can take some cues and put your own spin on holiday cheer.

For example, the Refinery Rooftop is more, well, refined. Simple string lights and a few sprigs of greenery immediately transform the space into a winter wonderland.

 via In Good Company
via In Good Company

Whatever decor you choose, make sure it keeps with the theme and atmosphere of your restaurant. And of course, make it merry.

4. Ensure Your Staff is Merry & Bright

Having disgruntled Grinches as employees won’t heed great feedback from your customers.

The season is about happiness and merriment, so make sure your staff is putting their best foot forward throughout their shift. You should have greeters welcoming each guest, attentive waitstaff ready to answer questions, and a well-oiled system for getting food out fast, not only to please guests, but to efficiently turn tables.

Creating a solid company culture can help inspire your staff to be at the top of their game. Make sure that seasonal employees are well-trained, call frequent staff meetings to ensure everyone is on the same page, and keep everyone updated on any new seasonal menus or bar items. The better informed your employees are, the better the guest experience will be.

Show your employees you care by hosting a holiday gathering or putting on a Secret Santa event. Making work fun is a way to increase staff positivity and loyalty, and it’s great for your company culture.

5. Give the Gifts That Keep on Giving

Of course you want to fill seats at your restaurant during the holidays, but what about after the trees are taken to the curb and the string lights are put in the attic? The winter months following the end of the holiday season are quite dismal, but you should strive to keep business alive during that time.

Think of ways to encourage repeat business after the holidays – gift cards are a great way to do this. People are always looking for present ideas for family members, friends, and co-workers. A gift card to their favorite restaurant (yours, of course), is a more personal option than just a generic gift card or cash. You get the profit ahead of time, and the recipient gets to enjoy a delicious meal.

Don’t offer gift cards? There are other ways to get customers to come back. Ask them to sign up for your email mailing list to receive exclusive offers and coupons throughout the year – if diners hear they can get free stuff or discounts, they’ll be more willing to give you their contact information. This is email collection is a great addition for your marketing efforts.

Keep the holiday high going by releasing an event series for the happenings you plan on hosting in early 2019. Get patrons excited about what’s to come in the new year so they can mark their calendars ahead of time.

In Closing

The holidays are here – is your restaurant prepared? There are plenty of ways you can set yourself up for seasonal success and ride on the high of holiday revelry.

From tasteful decor to checking inventory levels, make sure your restaurant is properly prepared for the most wonderful time of the year.

December Restaurant Marketing Ideas

I know December is all about festive fun and holiday celebrations, but there are other ways you can market your restaurant this month as well! Read on for some ideas on how you can make your business shine this December (aside from the major holidays).

December 3rd – National Apple Pie Day

You can’t get more American than apple pie, and it’s the perfect time of year to celebrate the delicious dessert. Although many families enjoyed apple pie on Thanksgiving, the classic sweet never goes out of style. If you’re a restaurant with apple pie on your dessert menu, offer up a discount for the day. If you’re a bakery, you can also market an exclusive deal on apple pie for December 3rd. Mention the offering on your social media pages ahead of time and add it into a customer newsletter to spread awareness.

December 4th – National Cookie Day

Keep the dessert trend going by celebrating National Cookie Day on the 4th. Whether it’s chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin, or sugar cookie, diners will be delighted with your sweet discount. What’s better than one cookie? Two, of course. Promote a buy-one-get-one deal on cookies for the entire day.

If you offer catering or have a take-out bakery, you can even utilize this holiday to prepare for Christmas, Hanukkah, and New Year’s Eve. Give guests 10% off holiday cookie orders if they place their order on the 4th. This will incentivize people to get their orders in early so you can prepare ahead of time to meet demands.

You can even host a cookie-centric event. People love immersive cooking classes and workshops, so take advantage of the hype. Get creative and host a holiday baking bash or cookie workshop for kids; this is great for your social media content and will show off your restaurant’s holiday spirit. Plus, you can charge an entrance fee and let guests take home a to-go bag of the treats they made- win, win for everyone!

December 21st – Winter Solstice Celebration

Friday, December 21st marks the official start to winter. Host a Winter Solstice Happy Hour; introduce new seasonal cocktails and food items to get guests excited about the months ahead. You can even make it more interesting with a “beat the clock” countdown; drink and food prices will start low and increase by the hour, inspiring people to get there early and stay late!

If you want to make an event out of the day, put on a Winter Solstice Party. Decorate your restaurant, give out prizes, and set up a winter necessities station with hot chocolate and cookies for guests to feast on. Play some cheerful holiday music to set the tone and let your guests have fun.

Consider raffling off a prize that includes winter snack essentials and a gift card to your restaurant. This is more great fodder for your social accounts and will get people excited about returning to dine with you to reap the reward.

December Donation Drive

December is the month of giving, so why not participate? Do some research to see which local charities and volunteer groups are in need. Toy drives are always happening prior to the holidays and are a great way to get involved while brightening up a child’s day.

Encourage guests to donate to your restaurant’s toy drive by advertising it on social media and your website. Post flyers around town and outside of your restaurant to spread additional awareness and mention the drive to customers.

Ask for an unwrapped gift for local children in need and set up a bin for collection. From there, watch the donations flow in! You can post about your progress on social media, thanking participants along the way.

Participating in charity work helps your restaurant build a stronger bond with your community and shows that you care about giving back. It’s what the spirit of the season is all about, so get involved!

December 31st – New Year’s Eve

On the last day of December ring in the New Year with a large crowd! Although only 9% of Americans plan to go out to celebrate, if you market it right, you’ll inspire partygoers to spend the night at your restaurant.

Consider creating a prix fixe deal, which is quite popular for NYE. This can include a buffet, champagne toast, and restricted open bar for a fixed cost per ticket. People in search of a fun time are willing to pay the price, but don’t price your tickets too high that they’ll choose to celebrate elsewhere. Consider your profits as well as the willingness of guests to figure out a sweet spot.

An upbeat playlist, delicious dinner options, and a party atmosphere will help to make the evening memorable for attendees. You can even incorporate party favors, a signature drink, and special one-night-only food items to make it even more special.

In Closing

If you get creative and pay attention to the holidays that aren’t the biggest celebrations, you’ll be able to find unique ways to market your restaurant in December.

The month is filled with holiday celebrations, seasonal spirit, and family-bonding, but there are also plenty of opportunities for your restaurant to draw large crowds. With strategic pre-event marketing and solid execution, you’ll impress guests and increase profits.

Increase Restaurant Sales With These Easy Tips

Running a restaurant is a tough business. The profit margins are quite thin and unfortunately, many new restaurants fail every year. There are even TV shows about it! So how do you keep your restaurant from failing? The top goal, of course, is to get as many people into your restaurant as you can. The more regular customers you have, the better your chances are to keep a consistent profit flow. In this blog, we give you tips on how to increase your restaurant sales, both offline and online.

Ask For Referrals

Your best advertising will always be your existing customers. If they’ve had a good time after a meal, encourage them to tell their friends and neighbors about it. It may be best to have the manager on duty do this task, as it may seem forced if a server does it. It has to sound like a sincere ask in order to inspire diners to spread the word. Most managers are quite happy when they see customers having a good time, so this may be easier than you think!

Some restaurants even encourage guests to leave a positive online review; this helps to boost your online reputation to entice new customers at a larger scale.

Increase Table Turnover

Table turnover is a delicate balancing act. You want to get your guests in and out as quickly as possible, but you never want them to feel rushed either. Increasing table turnover is more of a matter of making everything before and after the meal as efficient as possible. This may mean pre-assigning guests to tables, improving server speed, dropping checks off early at the table, and using a menu that doesn’t require lengthy explanation.

If a table is just taking too long because of the customers, offer them a free drink in exchange for freeing up the table. The loss on the free drink should be more than made up for by the extra covers.

Can They Find You?

One of the most useful tools in a restaurant’s advertising arsenal these days your their online and mobile presence. If you can’t be found easily online, hungry customers will go somewhere else to eat. Take a look at your search engine optimization. Check the following:

  • Are you registered for Google My Business and Bing Places?

  • Do you have a website that shows your location, menu, hours, and directions to your restaurant?

  • Are you registered and active on review sites like Yelp?

  • Does your website look impressive on mobile devices?

Hiring an SEO services company for a few months to work on your basic SEO can make a huge difference in your visibility.

You should also consider online menu management and how it can benefit your business. Companies like SinglePlatform get your menu in the places that matter online so you can be found by hungry diners searching for specific menu items or local businesses.

Social Media

Social media is now the second-best way of interacting with your customers and engaging the audience of your own. Facebook and Instagram are the platforms best for this. The point is to get a good conversation going with your customers so they’ll remember your restaurant and want to keep in the loop of what’s going on.

This means that you’ll want to post about topics like the latest specials, weekly events, and other goings-on at the restaurant. Photos of popular meals are always a good idea. When someone responds to a post, strike up a conversation and thank them for their interest.

As part of your referrals talk by your manager, you can also encourage people to like or follow you on your social platforms. This is crucial, as a low-traffic social media page doesn’t do much to grow your influence. The more people you can get to show their appreciation, the better.

Online Ordering And Delivery

Offering online ordering and food delivery is the new darling of the restaurant world. People love the ability to order a meal from their phone and pick it up on the way home or have it delivered. You don’t have to worry about filling a seat, just a to-go container.

To accomplish this goal, restaurants are using third-party delivery services, like GrubHub and DoorDash, that let them do deliveries without having to hire additional workers or get a company vehicle. Rideshare companies like Uber are also getting in on this. If there is a demand for delivery in your area, you might consider this as well.

Online ordering may not be appropriate for a fine-dining restaurant, but for that kind of a restaurant you might consider a mobile reservation system. This technology makes it easy for people to make a dining decision the moment hunger strikes.

In Closing

As a new restaurant, there are plenty of things you can do, both offline and online, to increase sales. All of the tips mentioned above will help to build a stronger presence for your restaurant in your community. Of course, once you bring new customers in, you have to impress them! Do your best to provide great food, an inviting atmosphere, and top notch customer service. By putting in the effort, you’ll be rewarded with higher profits.


About the Author: Chris Hickman is the Founder and CEO at Adficient with 15 years of experience in search marketing and conversion optimization. Since 2006, he founded GetBackonGoogle.com, helping businesses and websites suspended in Adwords to Get Back on Google

Find Restaurant Success This Thanksgiving Weekend

Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on what we’re most grateful for, to be with family, and to introduce the upcoming holiday season. It’s a notable time of year for many people, and some argue it’s their favorite holiday all year. The days following Thanksgiving have, in recent times, become part of the holiday weekend celebration. Black Friday is the largest shopping day of the year, followed by Small Business Saturday, which allows local businesses to shine.

As a restaurant owner, you have many opportunities to take advantage of these three days. Read on for ways to find restaurant success this Thanksgiving weekend.

Thanksgiving

Let’s start with the official holiday that will be taking place on November 22nd. Thanksgiving, besides being focused on family and friends, puts food as the focal point. Some families choose to serve a home cooked meal, but others opt to skip the fuss and dine out. It’s expected that 1 in every 10 adults will take their turkey day celebrations to the restaurant dining floor.

If you’re offering a Thanksgiving menu this holiday, you should already be making your customers aware of it. By now, you should have a solid list of reservations and should turn your focus to staffing, food supply, and the overall flow of the day.

Posting your Thanksgiving-exclusive menu online will help guests get acquainted with their options and ensures you’re reaching a wider audience looking to dine out on the day.

When it comes to the service on Thanksgiving, you should plan ahead and train your staff accordingly. If you have any specials for the day, brief all servers ahead of time. Get them acquainted with your holiday-specific desserts and drinks as well so they can upsell during the meal. Make sure you have enough people on staff to handle the crowds and plan for any last-minute call-outs.

Your guests have chosen to celebrate the holiday at your restaurant – and Thanksgiving is all about being grateful after all. Let your customers know that you’re appreciative of their business by giving them a little something extra. You can create take-home goodie bags for children or offer a discount coupon for the next meal. You can even serve a complimentary dessert to each table. Giving back shows that you’re thankful for the patronage and inspires customer loyalty.

If you want to get extra-creative, prepare your guests for their Black Friday shopping sprees by offering a to-go cup of coffee. If you have time, get some disposable cups with your restaurant logo on it to serve the coffee in. What better way to spread the word about your business than having customers as walking advertisements?

Thanksgiving is a time for celebration, reflection, and of course, food. It’s a golden opportunity to make your guests that are dining with you on November 22nd feel welcome. Go above and beyond their expectations to make the holiday truly special.

Black Friday

Millions of people brave the cold weather in early morning hours to score some Black Friday steals. Although your restaurant probably won’t be opening at midnight like some of the big box stores, you can be the fuel to get shoppers through the mid-day shopping slump. In fact, the most popular shopping time on Black Friday isn’t in the wee hours, but instead at 4pm. Prime time for you!

Statistics show that 174 million people hit the stores during Black Friday weekend. As a restaurant, you can join in on the fun. Offer discounted lunch meals and BOGO coffee deals to delight hungry and tired customers. Want to make it more interesting? Host a “beat the clock” event, where your prices on select food and drink items increase at the top of each hour. Market this ahead of time on social media to inspire people to visit you.

Bonus Tip: Make sure your gift cards and other items for purchase are on display at your registers and hostess station.

Online Shopping

The truth is, more and more people are turning to online shopping to complete their holiday purchases. It’s much easier to wake up and walk to your laptop than to travel to a shopping mall! Although the official online shopping day is on Cyber Monday, the sales typically start earlier and earlier each year. In 2016, people spent $3 billion on online purchases on Black Friday alone!

This cyber-shopping phenomenon doesn’t have to hurt your business. The shoppers still need their fuel. Offer discounts on delivery or special Black Friday-only coupons to be applied to online orders. Delivering meals right to these shoppers doors ensures they won’t miss a beat (or a sale).

Small Business Saturday

Created in 2010 by American Express, the goal of Small Business Saturday is to give local businesses and purveyors a chance to shine. Big box, commercial chain stores take center stage on Black Friday & Cyber Monday, and American Express knew there needed to be a day to honor the thousands of small businesses that exist across the country.

As a small business owner, this is the perfect time to get involved in your community and take advantage of the day. Promote the hashtag #smallbusinesssaturday on your social media channels before November 24th and keep your followers informed on any offers or discounts you’ll have.

You may want to consider discounting gift card purchases (or adding an additional coupon to every gift card purchase), discounting any other items you sell at your restaurant (food items, cookbooks, swag), or donating a percentage of every meal to a cause you care about. It’s the perfect time to give back to your customers, and your community, while marketing your local business.

Get involved with other local businesses and find opportunities for a partnership. This cross-marketing effort can help you spread brand awareness and create a community alliance. Maybe a local boutique is hosting a sale on Saturday – be there to sell coffee and snacks to shoppers. You can also hand out free swag items, like pens or mugs, with your logo on it. This is a great way to keep your restaurant’s name top-of-mind.

In Closing


Thanksgiving is around the corner, and following the holiday is a weekend full of fun and holiday season preparations. You can make the most out of each day by planning ahead, getting creative with your offerings, and most importantly, showing your gratitude toward your loyal customers.

Creating an inviting atmosphere to dine in on Thanksgiving, providing the energy hungry shoppers need on Black Friday, and bonding with your community and fellow local businesses on Small Business Saturday, are all ways to find even more restaurant success for the holiday weekend.

Have any of your own unique ideas for the holiday weekend? Comment below! 

Where to Begin Your Digital Marketing Campaign as a New Restaurant

Let’s face it, the restaurant industry is fierce—a recent study even shows that most new restaurants close within their first year of operation. That means that not only do you need a killer menu and environment that keeps patrons coming in droves, you also need to get the word out to potential customers. Here are the top tips for creating a digital marketing strategy for your new restaurant.

Be Active on Social Media

Creating a Facebook business page and a Twitter page is a must for establishing your contact information and location, as well as for sharing information on discounts or specials, new offers, and for general promotion. But Instagram is a smart platform to use for foodie photos that will both make mouths drool and grow your business (more ideas on creative social media ideas below).

The most important facet of your social media strategy is that you keep up with it. A maintained social media presence shows a hardworking business that has something worth showing off. This extra effort and drool-worthy photos (as well as an outlet for you to be fun and friendly) will win over new and existing customers alike). Of course, running a restaurant is a busy job, but that’s where social media management tools like HootSuite or Sprout Social come in handy. Use them to create custom streams and pre-schedule your posts so you can reach out to customers at meal time when you’re busiest and they’re hungriest.

Encourage and Maintain Reviews

Research shows that  88% of customers look to online comments and reviews before considering where to eat, which makes it clear that encouraging and maintaining your restaurant’s reviews is a must. People will review your business regardless of whether or not you have an account–especially on Yelp, the go-to review site. That’s why you’ll need to create a Yelp account and also prepared for negative reviews, no matter how great your food and service is. The key to making reviews work for you—rather than against you—is to respond to all reviews, especially the negative ones, in a constructive and positive manner. That way, an anonymous disgruntled customer doesn’t take away any business for you because they found a dish to be too salty for their liking.

Get Creative on Social Media

Social media is where you get to establish your name, a following, and your brand’s identity. If you’re a sophisticated date-night venue with expensive fare, cater your content to reflect this, by showing off wine and dinner pairings, photos of patrons dining in candlelight. If you’re a casual lunch cafe with healthy fare, share photos of your dishes and include calorie counts, nutritional information, and special ingredients. Whatever you do, make sure you’re snapping photos in a well-lit spot, and that the surrounding area is clean. Use hashtags of your own making to generate buzz (and encourage your patrons to use these on their own accounts), and hop on board to join in on the most popular food hash tags of social media.

Leverage the power of SEO

Learning how to use SEO the right way is a make or break for websites and businesses alike, and for restaurants—who usually rely on the business of patrons in their specific geographic location—local SEO can be a godsend for ranking higher in Google search results. You can even utilize analytics  to find out exactly who your users are, what they’re searching for, and how they’re finding you, so that you can tighten your strategy according to their needs.

Google My Business is the first step in ranking higher on Google’s search results, so that your restaurant will be found more easily and quickly. You can also have your menu pop up in the search results, which simplifies the research process for customers (no more visiting each restaurant’s website and then locating, downloading, and reading a menu). Because your menu will be much more accessible to patrons, you’re much more likely to reap more business.


Brianna Barcena is a Content Specialist at TrustRadius. When she’s not in the office, she enjoys reading, watching a good historical drama, doing yoga, and going on adventures with her dog, Deeks.