The holidays can be a time of both celebration and stress for the restaurant industry. Though restaurant sales have been trending up since 2010 by as much as 8.1% per year, guests who decide to spend time at home during colder months can have a negative impact on profits.

The good news is, CAKE pulled data from their Point of Sale software and discovered that restaurants that stayed open on Christmas Day experienced a 46.13% revenue increase in 2015, and restaurants open on New Year’s Day in 2016 saw an increase of 49.10%.

For restaurants that choose to stay open during the holidays, it’s critical that they take advantage of restaurant social media marketing. Restaurants can use social channels to spread the word about special menus, events, and decorations to bring more customers in to celebrate Christmas or ring in the New Year.

Let’s take a look at a few tips for using social media to amplify your restaurant’s holiday marketing:

 

Highlight Local Events

In the spirit of the holidays, restaurants can use their social channels as a way to promote local events and non-competing businesses nearby. While the restaurant business typically slows down during the holiday season, the retail business thrives. Consumers spend a lot of time shopping for loved ones, coworkers, and friends during the holiday season.

By promoting the events of nearby businesses, you’re not only extending an olive branch for potential reciprocation and collaboration but also helping bring more potential customers into the neighborhood.

Gaslight, a French Brasserie in Boston, MA, recently posted an image from the busy South End holiday market, which took place just around the corner from the restaurant.

The “power station” outside our front door is packed! #sowawinterfestival

A photo posted by gaslightboston (@gaslightboston) on

 

Show Off Holiday Décor

Social accounts are also the perfect place to show off holiday-ready décor. Even though it may be cold outside, restaurants can make their interior look as cozy and warm as possible to draw customers in.

Take, for example, Penelope Café in NYC, which posted this interior shot of their restaurant adorned with twinkle lights and soft lighting.

Holiday décor can often make spaces look more inviting, so take advantage of these visual channels to showcase any special holiday decorations the restaurant has added.

 

Holiday-Themed Menu

It’s critical to promote the new menu items on social channels to notify existing customers about the menu changes and entice new customers to visit the restaurant with a mouth-watering picture of a new dish.

A seasonal or themed menu is a great way to bring new diners into your restaurant during the holiday season. In fact, 59% of customers are more likely to purchase a menu item described as “seasonal” because they perceive it to be healthier and more appetizing.

Tartine Bakery in San Francisco, CA gives a sneak peek of their snowflake gingerbread cookies on their Instagram, tempting customers to visit the bakery.

Gingerbread Cookies Photo ?: @gina_echeversie

A photo posted by Tartine Bakery San Francisco (@tartinebakery) on

 

Special Holiday Events

Another way to get both new and loyal customers into your doors during the holiday season is with themed events. Consolidated Food Service suggests offering an event such as breakfast with Santa, or a one-time coursed meal around Christmastime. A New Year’s Eve event could have a focus on cocktails and dancing instead.

Restaurants can take advantage of social channels to get the word out about their special holiday events and even predict customer interest.

For example, Zola’s Restaurant in Palo Alto, CA used Facebook to promote a bake sale in addition to their Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve special events.

Final Thoughts

Social media is a great marketing tool for restaurants in general, but especially during the holidays as a way to promote the special events, seasonal menus, local businesses, and festive decorations to bring more business into the restaurant.

With the help of social media, restaurants may be able to avoid the holiday slow down and increase revenue.

How does your restaurant take advantage of social media during the holiday season?