Ah, the holidays. From the Fourth of July filled with hot dogs, to Halloween that gives everyone an excuse to act like a kid again, to New Year’s Eve and the promise of a new year, holidays are full of fun, friends, and family. But when it comes to running a business, the holidays mean a ripe opportunity for specialized, targeted marketing to get more customers through your restaurant’s doors.

That’s why we’ve compiled four tips to help your restaurant make the most of holiday marketing, even with a small budget.

Focus on your Strengths

While it’s always about the food and drinks, restaurants have the opportunity to branch out well beyond that and into their services that make holidays easier to manage. There’s a reason that it seems like every other commercial you see from Thanksgiving to New Year’s is an advertisement from Perkins, touting how much time home cooks can save my skipping the pie baking process and just buying a few pre-made ones from Perkins instead.

Take their lead and offer what you can to-go or via catering. If your restaurant or bar has a killer eggnog drink that people love, why don’t you consider selling it in batches for people to enjoy at home during their family celebrations and honing your holiday marketing efforts on that?

Don’t Shy away from Smaller Holidays

Holidays aren’t just about big name holidays like Christmas and Thanksgiving—there are opportunities year round, like Labor Day and Veterans Day, to put these holiday marketing tips to work. Plenty of people use the extra day off that “smaller” holidays provide as an excuse to squeeze in some extra R&R out of town or even just enjoying some time off at home.

If your customers generally head out of town on, say, Labor Day, focus your marketing on highlighting your catering or to-go services. Much like offering pie on Thanksgiving, by offering up your delectable eats in a way that suits your customer’s activities, you don’t have to suffer a loss if a holiday means less business thanks to out of town travel. If you really market it right, you might make enough profit on the features and deals you promote to give your employees (and maybe even yourself!) the day off, too.

If you want to focus on enticing people to still eat at your restaurant over a holiday, Veterans Day is a great opportunity for marketing offers and specials to veterans. Everything from a free drink to a free meal goes a long way on a day designed to honor those who sacrificed for our country. If you manage to grab the attention of a member of a veteran’s family, you might end up with big tables for the cost of just one free or discounted meal—the magic of marketing at work.

Free Sweets!

There is one thing that’s indubitably at the center of Halloween marketing: candy. In places like Brooklyn, kids do more trick or treating at restaurants and stores than they do at homes because the city is so filled with high rises that are inaccessible to the public. But, Halloween doesn’t have to be the only opportunity for you to appeal to your client’s sweet tooth or that you lure people in with a free, sweet treat!

We know that giving out free samples will increase sales, so don’t miss out on an awesome marketing opportunity to do so. If you can grab the attention of the kids, parents will follow.

Create Holiday-themed Menus

Designing a holiday-themed restaurant menu can help differentiate your restaurant. Chefs usually offer a streamlined version of their menu, focused on seasonal items. For example, you know that 75% of customers will order the Turkey on Thanksgiving, so you can focus on sides and desserts instead of a variety of meats.


Headshot of Guest Blogger, Seth Steinman - Upserve

This post was brought to you by Seth Steinman, Senior Manager of Growth and Demand Generation at Upserve.

Upserve is the magic ingredient that helps restaurateurs thrive, putting everything they need in one place.