The holidays are a whirlwind for your catering customers who have parties to attend and catered events to plan. Stay top of mind as their obligations pile up and steadily bring in new business this holiday season. Here are five holiday marketing ideas for bringing in new catering business during the busiest time of the year.
1. Craft holiday catering packages that address customer needs
Once the holiday season begins, your regular dine-in customers may need catering options. Holiday catering packages can help to make their celebrations at home and at work easier. Maybe your customers have three or four parties to attend and can’t keep up with their social calendar without catering. Maybe they need a catered dinner for a fundraiser or a workplace event. People will be happy to lean on your catering. Thoughtful holiday meal packages, delicious pre-packaged sides, and catered desserts may all come in handy for these busy professionals.
Similarly, businesses need holiday catering packages, too. From staff parties to client gift baskets, ordering catering is intuitive for businesses. Some even use catering to feed staff on-site if they’re extending their business hours to capture more sales. Consider how your existing catering packages might be flexible enough to meet these needs. Then put a holiday twist on your menu items to round out the offer.
2. Market directly to existing customers
If your restaurant caters, you already have an audience for your holiday catering packages—your existing customers. Here’s how you can easily promote your holiday offerings to your customers, whether you’re targeting regular diners or business catering clients.
First, start with these in-store holiday marketing ideas:
- Devote space in your restaurant to advertising your holiday catering packages
- Make sure your staff are lively and engaged in capturing customer interest and closing catering sales
- Make table tents, fliers, catering menus, and other holiday signage visible in your store from November through January
Next, expand your tactics with these holiday marketing ideas:
- Use your online marketing tools to remind business catering customers of upcoming holiday needs, from staff parties to client gifts
- If you’re rolling out new holiday menu items, feature these dishes prominently in your email and social media messaging
- Tempt your online audience with mouthwatering photos of your holiday menu
You can also create special offers based on the past ordering habits of customers. Are they reliable weekly customers? Maybe a 20 percent discount will ensure they book your catering services early for an upcoming staff party. Use what you know about your customers to craft the perfect holiday catering package.
Want to stay competitive this holiday season? Make sure you have enough staff in place. Most restaurants and caterers will have to spend 33 percent more on holiday staffing to meet the seasonal demands of their business. That’s why it’s important you have enough support. Once you do, develop a training plan so everyone—including your servers, your hosts, and your catering team—stays on message throughout the holiday season. You’ll need to get everyone on board with your holiday marketing ideas to be successful this season.
4. Keep staff motivated throughout the holiday season
The American holiday season is long, and a rebranding of the holidays has caused the season to start even earlier. To keep your staff motivated, here’s what you can do:
- Initiate shift challenges for capturing and closing on catering leads
- Reward staff members who stay on message, remember to talk up holiday catering packages, and make connections with your dine-in guests
Make staff engagement part of your holiday marketing culture, and you’ll see a big return on sales.
5. Amp up your holiday catering outreach
You probably have many existing relationships with customers and businesses. While these relationships can drive holiday sales, you should amp up your outreach to bring in new catering business, too. The most successful outreach plan will be based on what you already know about your catering customers. Focus your energy on the customer segments that make up the biggest part of your catering business. Are those individual customers or business catering clients? Small businesses or big businesses?
Next, devise opportunities to reach new catering customers over the holidays. Do the flagship department stores at the local mall need on-site catering to support extended office hours? What about the local big box stores with major Black Friday deals, like Best Buy or Target? Keep an eye on your local community calendar, and consider which community events—from fundraisers to charity races—might benefit from your holiday catering packages, too.
Start the new year with a bump in sales. Create a restaurant marketing plan.