Over the years restaurants, especially chains, do gift card promotions for the month of December. Most of the time I see gift card sales which are very high. Most independents have a harder time with this promotion because they do not have the entire infrastructure to do it correctly and maximize their sales. What follows is a step by step methodology to assist the operator for this promotion.
As a footnote I strongly suggest you do a Thanksgiving promotion where you donate a portion of your sales to the hurricane flooding or the fires in California. We think it is a good idea to have a table piece talking about the disasters and that you are going to donate 5% of your sales to the relief disasters. We might suggest you utilize your social media to announce what you are doing. We suggest you use the month of November for this charitable act.
The gift card and catering promotion is as follows:
Gift Cards are the #1 most requested gift. Develop your own strategy, plan and financial objectives to include:
- Email Blast(s) to your Clientele List – Begin to send out in early November and offer incentives to the recipient. We have done by $100 of gift certificate for someone and receive an additional $25 certificate for your own use.
- Remember to build your email list starting in September – Offer an incentive for sign ups such as a free appetizer on their next visit. Make a concerted effort with your staff to facilitate sign ups.
- Website Announcement – Have a blurb on your home page in a different color than the colors of the web page so it stands out. This might even take the user to another page to buy the certificate.
- In-store Point of Sale Materials – Guest check presenter, table piece, lobby poster, etc. are some examples
- Staff Sales Incentives – I would develop sales goals such as if a team member sells $1000 worth of cards they get 10% of the sales. If they sell another $1000 they would get 15% of these sales and so on. You might think about gifts to staff members as well on top of the cash incentives.
- Social Media Announcements – Present same offer as you would in the email blast(s).
Host a Holiday Season Kickoff Event
Host the event early November or even in October. The purpose of this party (s) is to get your clientele in the mood for the season and to choose your establishment as the “go to place” for their holiday entertaining, dining and socializing.
- Pick a busy day to do this so that the invitees and the other customers can see how festive your restaurant can be. Thursdays or Fridays are always good because you will get office workers which are your target audience. You will also get early dinners.
- Make it festive with balloons, streamers, flowers, welcome sign, live entertainment, and maybe even a fun photo booth. Go overboard. It gets people in the mood.
- Offer complimentary buffet and champagne toast to welcome in the season.
- Have a take away flyer showing specialty menus and other add ons that bookings can have for their party.
- Team up with other local businesses for unique gift opportunities – For example, team up with a nearby hotel for a free night and dinner and raffle it off.
- I would give each recipient a take away gift. How about a $10 gift card? Why not?
- Promote Holiday Hours – So your customers know when they can visit you.
- Utilize your web site, email list, social media and in store messaging to get the word out for this gala event.
- Follow Up – Promote hosting and/or catering holiday parties – Encourage booking reservations or orders early to avoid the last minute rush and anxiety.
Don’t wait until the middle of the holiday season, when your customers are busy and traveling, get on their radar now!!
Call us to help you assemble these two promotions. Arnold at 206-679-1037. We have done this numerous times and have had success in increasing gift certificate sales as well as holiday bookings.