Customers feel the stress of the holidays as much as the joy. Offering them some free help can build customer loyalty and make your restaurant unique.A good percentage of restaurants offer a Thanksgiving dinner with a special menu. This takes the burden of cooking Thanksgiving dinner off your customers.
Nonetheless, most customers will go it alone. No amount of marketing will change their mind as it is family tradition or a subject of pride. I will discuss marketing to the customer who stay home on Thanksgiving. Still, you should know about what other restaurants are doing for Thanksgiving:
However, don’t waste this opportunity to connect all your customers. You should not only concentrate on filling your restaurant on Thanksgiving and miss a great opportunity to demonstrate your holiday spirit. Marketing during Thanksgiving sets you up for December where you can further convey the message that your restaurant wants to help make their holidays as good as they can be.
The best way to market to customers on Thanksgiving is to give them valuable information. Many are looking for guidance in the kitchen both with classic dishes or something new to spice things up. Luckily, you and your cooks have a greater knowledge of food that your customers may treasure if you share it. There are three things to win some good will:
1. Recipes: Something Classic or Something New and Unexpected
The classic Thanksgiving dishes can be a source of anxiety. Customers are often left fishing out a recipe online. Many of those recipes say contradictory things. Help them out! Set down clear instructions (be sure of course) and then give them a little tip to differentiate it from the pack. Maybe it’s a spice or herb, or the Thanksgiving cook going the extra mile. Anything that makes it slightly unique will differentiate your recipe from the rest.
The new recipe normally connects Thanksgiving to your cuisine (unless you serve American food). Don’t go with something on your menu, but a dish that fits the season. Perhaps, you should take a classic and turn it into the Indian version or Thai version of it. For example, the younger generation has fallen in love with Turduckens (connected with Louisiana/Creole cuisine) where a duck is stuffed inside a turkey or a duck is stuffed inside a chicken which is then stuffed inside a turkey. You don’t have to come up with something as elaborate (or time consuming) as that. But give them a dish they can be proud to share with their family. Additional recipe suggestions are in these posts (recipe part 1 and recipe part 2).
2. Thanksgivings (Harvest Festival) in Other Cultures
This is mostly for ethnic restaurants. Many other cultures have similar holidays to Thanksgiving that traditionally celebrate the harvest and express thanks for a successful yield. Tell your customers about it and what it shares with Thanksgiving. You may use the celebration of this harvest festival to make suggestions for Thanksgiving or just inform your customers of your culture’s version of Thanksgiving. I couldn’t name a single foreign culture’s harvest celebration without looking it up. By sharing this information, you connect your restaurant with American culture. It may be even good to market the Thanksgiving dinner by promising dishes that you find at your harvest holiday.
You should include photographs of what it looks like both on the table and with decorations during your culture’s harvest holiday. Including a somewhat detailed and interesting explanation is a good idea so you don’t have customers leaving your website, blog or newsletter to get more information.
3. List or Countdown for Thanksgiving
People like lists, but coming up with a list takes a bit of time. You should list (or countdown) one particular thing. For example, you could come up with a list of the best wines for Thanksgiving. You could also do a countdown of the top 5 desserts for Thanksgiving. If you have a good website designer, you could have different pages for the countdown providing some extra suspense. Remember to include compelling photos and ask for feedback.
Use All Your Marketing Resources
Without bombarding your customers, you should send the Thanksgiving content out any way appropriate. That means you should include it in your newsletter (with other content), put it on your social media and post it on your blog (if you are ambitious, you could make a video). If you don’t have a blog, you may have to put the links directly to your website. The content should be presented with photos and be well-written. This makes stuffing it on social media or in a newsletter undesirable. Link to it. I hope this helps in connecting with your customers for Thanksgiving that will provide future marketing opportunities. If you don’t get a chance this Thanksgiving, a lot these ideas can be applied to other holidays.