Monthly Advertising Guide for Restaurants
Searching for ideas to increase traffic? Here are some ideas for restaurant advertising and promotions for every month of the year.
New Year’s Resolution Month. This is a time when many people vow to stop eating out to lose weight and stick to a stricter budget. Not the best conditions for many restaurants. Depending on where you are located you may be able to advertise to winter vacationers, skiers, snowmobilers or in warmer climates, those looking to escape harsh winter conditions. Offer up weekend specials, and mid-week specials such as two for one deal. A lighter side option for those New Year’s dieters is another way to draw in extra business.
Valentine’s Day. Unequivocally one of the best (if not the best day) for many restaurants. Promote your Valentine’s Day specials in the local paper. Focus your dinner menu on couples meals and decadent desserts that can be shared by two. Many schools have a winter vacation in February, so running some lunch specials and dinner specials that week can also help bring in extra business.
Cabin Fever Month. Not warm enough for outdoor dining and not cold enough for winter sports. Consider advertising a specialty dinner, like a wine tasting or nightly prix fixe menu. Advertise your restaurant promotions, like ladies night, two-for-one dinners or a wine tasting dinner. The local chamber of commerce or other local business organizations begins putting together summer tourists’ guides in late winter or early spring. If you hope to draw from local tourism in the summer months, be sure to place an ad for your restaurant now.
Spring has arrived. April is a time to advertise springtime specials, focusing on lighter fare, like salads, new vegetables, and fruity desserts. If you have outdoor dining, advertise that the deck/patio is open for business. Nothing draws a crowd like the promise of a warm, sunny outdoor lunch after a long winter.
May has great potential for restaurant advertising. It is the start of wedding season, prom season, and college graduations. If your restaurant has a banquet room or does any kind of catering, promote it! May is the time to gear up for summering catering as well. It is never too early to advertise your catering services for summer picnics, weddings, or barbecues.
If you are open on Fourth of July, be sure to advertise for it in June. Replenish take-out menus at local hotels, chamber of commerce, and any other places they are likely to be picked up by vacationers. With school out for the summer, you should look at ways to improve your kid's menu and offer kid-friendly specials.
Summer is in full swing. If your area has a large tourist draw in the summer months, run promotions in the local paper. Consider partnering with local hotels to give discounts to their guests.
Along with summer tourism, many areas have summer festivals that draw large crowds. Consider sponsoring festivals or other community activities for some easy advertising. Now is the time to start thinking about revamping your holiday catering menus and getting ready for the change to autumn. Start thinking about back to school ads and other fall advertising ideas.
Labor Day marks the unofficial end of summer. Some restaurant advertising ideas include back to school promotions and harvest dinner menus. Partner with local farmers for some organic, farm-to-table fare which you can advertise and offer a prix fixe menu.
Get into the Halloween spirit with scary promotions. If you have a bar or pub, considering throwing a Halloween costume contest. This is also a good time to start sending out holiday flyers and encouraging people to book their holiday parties early. If you provide any off-site catering, now is the time to advertise it.
Many people opt out of cooking their own Thanksgiving dinner. If you are open on Thanksgiving, advertise it well in advance. Other advertising for your restaurant includes holiday party promotions and New Year’s Eve reservations.
Promote your New Year’s Eve menu through local papers, radio spots and your website. Even if you don’t normally take reservations, New Year’s Eve (and Valentine’s Day) is a good exception.
Source: Lorri Mealey for The Balance - Small Business