The upcoming holiday season is a pretty big deal for pizzeria operators. Hordes of customers opt for the convenience of pizza delivery on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day—after all, we can eat only so much leftover turkey—and folks often crave a fresh, piping-hot pie after a long day of fighting traffic and standing in long lines on busy shopping days. As a restaurateur, you’ll want to create top-of-mind awareness for these potential customers at this time of year.
For starters, think like a holiday shopper when you’re developing your seasonal menu. Create holiday-themed pizza specials, desserts or drinks just for them. And while you’re creating a holiday business plan, don’t forget to create a people plan. Successful holiday promotions depend on having enough well-trained staff to handle the additional workload you’ll face during the busy season. Train, train, train—and be sure to motivate your team with incentives and rewards tied to goals!
Meanwhile, here are 10 ideas for building traffic over the holiday season:
Engage customers on social media. Use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest to reach out to your customers at this time of year. Let them know that you’re here to help them feed their families during this busy, often hectic season. Use photos of your food, and employ humor and uplifting, positive messages to get their attention!
Send out a direct mail piece with a holiday promotion. Create a promotion with an expiration date to convey a sense of urgency and work with a skilled professional designer to create an attractive, eye-catching piece.
If you don’t have a loyalty program, create one. Get your customers hooked on your loyalty rewards now, and you’ll reap the dividends throughout 2015. Use social media, direct mail, e-newsletters and in-house signage to spread the word. Make sure to give new members some kind of instant reward for signing up, such as a free appetizer with their next visit or order.
Host a fundraiser for a good cause. Customers are usually in a generous and giving mood during the holidays, so now’s the time to promote a cause that’s dear to your heart, such as a local food bank or a toy drive. Reach out to local organizations and find out how you can help them.
Hold a Christmas caroling event. Partner with other businesses in your community to organize a night of Christmas caroling. Invite the public to join you in making the rounds in the neighborhood. Of course, you’ll want the route to end at your restaurant, with pizza specials for the participants.
Outfit your staff in seasonal clothing. You can start with Santa hats or holiday-themed sweaters. Help your employees get into the holiday spirit, and their enthusiasm will spread to your customers.
Give away free ornaments. Select the right ornaments for the right customers. For example, give away kid-friendly ornaments—snowmen, reindeer and elves—to families with small children. Offer more romantic ornaments as keepsakes to couples.
Offer gift ideas on your website. Partner with local stores in your neighborhood to create a special section on your website that lists unique but affordable gift ideas under various categories, such as For Him, For Her, For Boys and For Girls. Make sure to include gift cards to your pizzeria, but also feature merchandise from partner businesses in your area.
Create a social media fan campaign for the holidays. To build up your social media fan base, offer a free holiday-themed dessert to people who like you on Facebook or follow you on Twitter. Also offer a deal-of-the-day promotion on all of your social
media channels to keep customers coming back every day through December.
Host a wreath making event. Bring in local craftspeople to teach your customers how to make beautiful holiday wreaths. If wreath making isn’t your thing, try a cookie baking event or offer lessons in making pumpkin pies.