There is no doubt that Black Friday is the busiest shopping day of the year. The National Retail Foundation (NRF) reported that last year 174 million Americans shopped in stores and online between Thanksgiving Day and Cyber Monday. That number is expected to increase to 180 million in 2018.
However, retailers are not the only industry that can take advantage of the increase in consumer spending during the biggest shopping weekend of the year. Restaurants are getting in the on the action too.
Across the country, restaurants are offering special deals like discounts or gift bonuses to persuade customers to come in for a pit stop during their holiday shopping spree.
See how you can put a little more green in your pockets with these seven Black Friday restaurant promotions.
1. Gift card promotions
These days, gift card purchases are practically on everybody's holiday shopping list. They are the perfect gift when you don’t know what to buy someone — and everyone has “that” person(s) on his or her list.
Although gift cards of all types are popular, restaurant gift cards reign supreme and account for 34.8 percent of gift card sales according to statistics. As a restaurant owner, this puts you in a great position to capitalize on money consumers are already spending.
A great way to encourage gift card sales is to offer monetary bonus cards when customers purchase a gift card. For instance, if a patron purchases a $50 gift card, gift them with a $10 bonus gift card. The $50 gift card will go to the intended recipient, but the $10 bonus card will encourage the patron to return to your restaurant at a later date.
Encourage employees to upsell gift cards by mentioning the promotion at the point of service or include a small advertisement about the promo when they drop the check at the end of the meal. If you own a quick-service restaurant and people pay at the counter, put promotional signage near the register.
Lastly, and most importantly before you dive head first into gift card promotions, make sure your POS system can seamlessly integrate with gift card services and processing.
2. Partner with a local retailer
Like gift card promotions, another way to entice Black Friday shoppers is by teaming up with a local retailer. Find a retail store near your restaurant and talk to the business owner about a mutually beneficial partnership such as offering customers special deals for visiting both businesses.
Customers can show a receipt from ABC Restaurant and receive a 20 percent discount from XYZ Retail. On the flipside, a customer can present their receipt from XYZ Retail for a free appetizer or specialty drink at ABC Restaurant.
3. Create a special menu
Speaking of specialty drinks, you might want to consider creating an exclusive menu to entice patrons to stop in and take a breather from the shopping chaos.
For instance, you can try a lighter fare munchies menu with smaller portions or different pairings of your existing menu. You can also experiment with different appetizers or serve a la carte items for shoppers that just want to grab a quick bite in between stores.
You can also have your bartenders design specialty cocktails with crafty names like “shopping at sunrise,” which can be a play on the traditional tequila sunrise cocktail but with rum. Also, since shoppers are out in the early morning, don’t forget to to start happy hour a bit earlier than usual.
4. Give back
Although the Black Friday shopping craze provides an excellent opportunity to increase sales, it’s also an opportunity to give back and make a charitable donation to a cause that’s near and dear to your heart.
Is there a local organization or family in your community that could use a little extra help this holiday season? You can donate a percentage of your profits from the shopping weekend to a charity in your community.
Not only does this bring more people through your doors, but it benefits your local community, so it’s a win-win for everybody.
5. Get social
For any Black Friday deals or holiday specials you want to promote, you’re going to need to do some planning to get the word out. Any business, large or small, hospitality, retail, or service based, the best way to spread the word is through social media.
The sooner you can get a jump on sharing promotions via social media the better. Use your social media pages (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) to advertise special offers and engage with customers. You can post discount codes or create a unique hashtag and prompt followers to post pictures of their favorite holiday activities using the hashtag.
Also, don’t be afraid to spur on a little competition by having customers enter for a chance to win a $25 gift card by liking and sharing your page or post.
If you partner with another retailer, interact with them on social media too. Tagging and mentioning each other will give both businesses a broader audience reach and some potential new customers.
6. Double down on loyalty programs
As you push to get the word out about your Black Friday deals, leverage your restaurant’s loyalty program as a resource to capture people’s attention.
Offer a small holiday gift like a free dessert or hot chocolate to new customers who sign up for the loyalty program. On the other hand, for existing loyalty members, you can double the number of reward points earned when they come in to dine on Black Friday.
You can also encourage loyalty members to refer family and friends to sign up for the loyalty program by offering a sum of bonus points for the referral or accelerate points to meet their next reward. For example, if a loyal customer comes in and dines with a friend and that friend signs up for your loyalty program, give the customer an additional 100 points or fast-track them to their next reward.
7. Extend promotions through Cyber Monday
Finally, one last approach to take full advantage of the holiday shopping pandemonium is to extend Black Friday specials through Cyber Monday.
Keep customers interested by lengthening your special offers throughout the entire five day period. Whether consumers are shopping in stores or digitally, continue to lure them to your restaurant with bonuses and special offers for dine-in, takeout, or delivery.
In a nutshell
Overall, the objective of Black Friday restaurant promotions is to strengthen the relationship between the business and the consumer for the upcoming year. Whatever marketing ideas you decide on, please make sure that it caters to your customer base and reflects your restaurant’s brand identity.