Restaurant Special Promotions and Events

Ideas to Help Increase Business

Festive holiday plate with cranberries
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Any restaurant can benefit from a well planned special promotion. Special promotions are those are only offered periodically, such as holiday parties, or during slow seasons to bring in more business. Seasonal special promotions can help increase sales, bringing in customers during slower periods or capitalizing on busier times.

Restaurant promotions can range from a tasting dinner to participating in your local restaurant week. Holidays such as New Year’s Eve and Valentines Day offer ample opportunity for special promotions. Another growing trend among restaurants is fundraising promotions. Read on for easy to implement promotional ideas.

Host a Restaurant Tasting Dinner

A specialty tasting dinner offers customers a chance to try a special dinner menu, paired with a series of wine or other spirits. The menu can be either prix fixe – with a certain number of courses offered, or a limited a la carte menu. With the help of a sommelier, you can offer customized wine and food pairings that will wow customers. This is an ideal promotion for a slow time of year, to bring in extra business. 

Participate in Restaurant Week

Restaurant Week varies from place to place. The general concept is that local restaurants partner with local tourist organizations or chambers of commerce to promote a week of lunch and dinner specials. Other partners may include local businesses, banks, and food vendors. Restaurants offer reduced prices for a prix fixe menu, the idea being that what they lose in check averages they gain in sales volume. Some restaurants report increased volume as high as 40% during Restaurant Week. Restaurant week takes place throughout the year, all over the country.

Offer Holiday Specials

Many special restaurant promotions capitalize on holidays and other special events. For example, Mothers' Day, New Year’s Eve, and Valentine’s Day are each busy days in for the restaurant industry. With anticipated crowds of customers all wanting to dine at roughly the same time, restaurants need to be even more organized than normal. With a little planning, you can avoid problems like overbooking reservations and understaffing. As part a holiday special promotion, your restaurant can entice customers with two-for-one deals on Valentines and New Year’s Eve or other promotions like moms get a free dessert on Mother’s Day.

Participate in Community Fundraisers

Another special promotion that many restaurant stake advantage of is fundraising. A restaurant can partner with a local nonprofit organization or community group, to host a dinner, with part of the proceeds going to charity. Going out to dinner is an easy and fun way for people to donate money to a worthy cause, while at the same time trying out your restaurant. The extra (often free) advertising that comes with fundraising events is good for business. Ideas include charity auctions, dinner, and dancing or other live entertainment, a murder mystery dinner (great for a Halloween promotion) or a scholarship fundraising dinner.

Offer Catering Services

Along with special promotional ideas, many restaurants offer both on and off-premise catering. Restaurant catering is ideal for the holidays, parties, receptions and meetings. Since your restaurant is already has a commercial kitchen for cooking and a well-trained staff, why not offer catering? It is a great way to expand your customer base and enhance your restaurant’s reputation. There are many types of catering options that restaurants can offer, including food stations, buffets and plated meals. Specialty catering equipment includes banquet tables, chafing dishes and extra place settings.