• To ramp up holiday sales at your pizzeria, think about offering unique specialty items like tree-shaped pizzas or calzones shaped like candy canes.
  • Consider offering a prix fixe menu just for the holiday season or special value deals aimed at families and large groups.

By Jeanne Washington

The holidays are one of the best times to liven up your business and turn your pizzeria into a haven of celebration, fun and—best of all—food! No matter which holiday we observe, we all celebrate family and sharing a meal during this time of year. It’s your chance to get involved in your community while ramping up your profits with these five festive ideas.

1. Decorate your restaurant. This is one of the first steps in creating a warm and cozy atmosphere for holiday celebrations. A little can go a long way to getting your pizzeria into the spirit of the season. Adding some dazzle to your waitstaff, propping up a nice tree, and adding some trimmings can do the trick. Don’t be afraid to go a little wild! People love to see the twinkling lights and mistletoe strung about. Think about adding a small photo zone, complete with festive pizza boxes, to invite guests to interact more with your restaurant and incentivize them to share their pics on social media.

2. Offer special holiday treats. Your loyal customers love your food, but offering unique specialty items can really draw in the crowds. Limited-time availability also drags up their desirability. By changing the menu layout or name of your dishes, you can amp up sales while still using your tried-and-true recipes.

Better yet, get creative in the kitchen to concoct some fantastic new drinks and food items. Pizza can come in any shape or size, so this is an easy start. How about a deep-dish pizza in a pie tin complete with latticework? You could even shape your dough like a tree or a wreath decorated with veggie and meat baubles. Think of an adorable personal pan pizza shaped like a stocking or a candy-cane calzone. Don’t forget desserts and cocktails as well! The only limit is your imagination; just choose what best fits your clientele.

Related: 5 ways to pump up holiday sales at your pizzeria

this photo shows a Christmas tree-shaped pizza with mozzarella and spinach on a dark tabletop background

Getty Images

3. Dream up some menu specials. There are tons of possible deals to rein in new customers and excite your loyal regulars. Think about a prix fixe special with several delicious but limited options. This will give your patrons choices without overwhelming them or your kitchen. These options make it easier for your staff to prepare and create the items in a timely fashion, which in turn means customer satisfaction will go up. These specials can draw out guests that might have otherwise stayed home to try something new!

If a prix fixe menu is not for you, consider limited offers like buying three entrees and getting a select dessert free or a buy-two-get-one-item-half-off deal. These don’t always have to save customers a lot of money; oftentimes, they’ll just jump in on something new or a special that only happens for a short time.

Related: Your Pie debuts Holiday Craft Series nationwide

4. Give back to the community. You can increase sales and strengthen your position and reputation in the community by partnering up with a local charity for the holiday season. Common charities that need love this time of year are those that run toy collections for children in need and food drives for non-perishable items. This requires little setup as well. To draw customers into participating, you could offer small food items for free or a slight discount on their meals. You can also partner with a local church or nonprofit to put up an angel tree in your pizzeria and ensure that local kids from disadvantaged families get presents from Santa Claus.

There are many other ways to give back too! You could designate one day of sales (or a percentage of sales) to a local organization in need, such as a food pantry or homeless shelter. Another simple way to give back is to ask customers to round up their checks to the dollar and share those extra proceeds with a charity. Customers will feel like they’re contributing and will be more inclined to spend more to help the community alongside their favorite pizzeria.

5. Host a holiday party. Parties are one of the best ways to invite others to celebrate together while boosting your sales on drinks and food. You can combine all of the above ideas into one or pick and choose to your heart’s content! Make sure your guests know when to come and what you have in store by sending out emails to members of your loyalty program or even handing out beautiful, custom-made flyers. Events come in all shapes and sizes, but try adding a theme to really get your patrons involved.

Slumber Party: Let them wear their comfiest wintertime pajamas while lounging on mats, eating pizza, and watching their favorite holiday classics on your big-screen TV. Play classic sleepover games like Twister or have a “spin-the-bottle” contest for fun prizes or snacks.

Best of the Ages: Pick a time era (the 1920s, 1950s, and 1980s are all solid choices) and have guests dress accordingly. You can have a costume contest, trivia, karaoke from the era, or just play classic hits. Amplify the fun with a live band or artist that can keep the mood going.

Classic Christmas: Host an ugly sweater contest complete with swag prizes or meal discounts. Host a Secret Santa gift exchange for local businesses. Maybe even try the lesser-known traditional Christmas-pickle game but replace your pickle with a pizza ornament. All you have to do is hide the bauble in your holiday tree, and whoever finds it wins a gift or small food item.

These are some great ways to connect with your customers as well as your staff, but don’t forget the small stuff! Something as simple as an expertly designed menu or signing your receipts with “Happy Holidays” goes a long way in creating a memorable experience with your customers. You don’t need to create a Christmas miracle, but you should have a clear idea of what you expect from these celebrations. Plan, promote and get ready to see all those smiling faces at your pizzeria this holiday season.

Jeanne Washington is an artist and a content writer for MustHaveMenus. She lives abroad in South Korea, teaching English as a second language to primary school-age children.