10 Killer Thanksgiving Marketing Ideas for Restaurants to Drive Record Sales

November 19, 2022
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Thanksgiving holiday is the start of an extra busy time of year when people find it hard to spend time and energy making plans. In other words, it is a fantastic opportunity for eateries to be a place where customers can take a break from holiday shopping and cooking while still creating unforgettable memories of the season. Should you have not started cooking up some Thanksgiving marketing ideas to increase sales on this occasion, we have a few best ways you may capitalize on.

10 creative Thanksgiving marketing campaign ideas to boost sales 

1. Share the inspiration

One of the simple but effective ideas for Thanksgiving blog posts is publishing some recipes you use for your cuisines. This has some connection with reverse psychology. It may encourage customers to visit your restaurant or order the food. Else, they likely talk about the recipe with their friends or share it on social media channels. Either this or that, your business gets positive publicity.

2. Get creative with your menu

Sell food that is Thanksgiving themed

Spice up your typical menu this November with Thanksgiving meal ingredients and dishes. Pumpkin pie, cheese, macaroni, mashed potatoes, and turkey are something that should help your customers kickstart the Thanksgiving spirit and encourage people to have meals in your place. 

Create a menu with a twist for this holiday season 

To stand out in the crowd, you want to put a twist on some Thanksgiving food items. For example, go for vegan options or create recipes with a secret ingredient. Customers cannot get enough of being excited and should they love your food, they may only come to your place on Thanksgiving day.

Consider the buffet option

“Thanksgiving buffet near me” is one of the popular Thanksgiving keywords. Thus, think about offering a buffet menu as well. Some ideas about it include:

  • Pumpkin mug cake
  • Southern green beans
  • Sweet potato casserole with marshmallows
  • Turkey casserole

Make use of the Friendsgiving concept

Friendsgiving is mainly invented for millennials who feel less attachment to traditional values. Indeed, more than 65% of young adults at 18-38 years old said that they like joining a Friendsgiving better than Thanksgiving. To this end, consider creating group menus for 4-6-8 customers. 

Take full advantage of leftover lunch

Leftover lunch is one of the Thanksgiving traditions. So, it makes sense to use such dishes in a new menu section for nostalgic customers.

Write a powerful description for your Thanksgiving dinner menu

There is a high chance that customers will buy your food if it sounds impressive. Be smart about the words and consider serving some wine and food pairings.

Accommodate your target audience using One2Menu

Instant Contactless QR Code menus from One2 are safe for everyone and effortless to update (just with the push of a button). Ultimately, it enables simplified menu management and the best experience for your potential customers, new customers, and loyal customers.

QR code menu from One2

3. Throw a unique Thanksgiving event

One of the best Thanksgiving marketing campaigns your business should try, events influence a guest’s decision about where to eat and keep coming back. As the local community is usually charitable during the Thanksgiving season, you may partner with a local charity to host a charitable event like a canned food drive and encourage people to participate. To get great publicity, share how many donations you have collected on social media. This aids in your efforts of gaining customers in the future as well.

Events can take various other forms, including:

- Turn Thanksgiving into a Friendsgiving party or even Singlesgiving.

- Host a football viewing party.

- Create an autumn-themed trivia quiz.

- Throw a party to celebrate your small businesses on Small Business Saturday.

- Host a special live music event.

- Organize a Thanksgiving giveaway where customers submit a holiday picture, favorite recipes, a story of what they are grateful for, or anything else that let people vote on and share on social media pages.

Pro tips: Ask your customers to share their dinner photos using the event hashtag to increase social media engagement. Besides, offer an Instagram-worthy backdrop and onsite photographer to appeal to the young who want their Thanksgiving celebration captured on camera.

4. Offer customers catering options

Catering brings more sales for your business without patrons having to sit down and eat at your eatery. After all the effort poured into preparing turkey dinner, people cannot wait to relax on the weekend while still expecting to appreciate great food with their beloved. Try providing Thanksgiving catering packages intended for them.

More specifically, create a Thanksgiving-themed catering menu with One2Menu and complete with pickup or delivery options implemented seamlessly with the One2 ordering platform. This system ensures the ultimate convenience for your customers and helps work out your marketing strategy. Better yet, it removes your worry about high commission fees charged by delivery services and provides valuable first-party data.

Checkout experience on One2

Plus, it will be great if you differentiate packages depending on food styles or portion sizes to accommodate all customers. No matter how many entries or sides you provide, your diners cannot help but express gratitude!

5. Come up with Thanksgiving promotions

Thanksgiving-themed promotions, special discounts, and flash sale designs are also one of the best thanksgiving marketing ideas for the restaurant owner to drive business sales. Some suggestions for both big and small business owners in this regard include:

- Offer classic Thanksgiving food deals such as X% off 2nd beverage or a complimentary dessert to customers who order the full menu. 

- Ramp up the excitement with promotions from the weeks leading to Thanksgiving. An example of these marketing campaigns is encouraging customers to bring a friend to your eatery and #sharethegratitude. In return, you offer discounts or give guests a free drink of their choice. 

- Create a loyalty program to promote perks leading up to Thanksgiving weekend. The more patrons purchase from you, the more rewards. This is a fast and efficient way to build and maintain customer loyalty.

- Offer giveaway winners prizes like a discount code, personalized bottles, and a full Thanksgiving meal.

- Give your best customers gifts.

- Provide to-go spooky cocktails for delivery.

- Provide online shoppers who eat at your food establishment with holiday gifts or partner with other businesses and with brands. Instead of just focusing on Thanksgiving campaigns, make use of the hype around the holiday shopping season, Cyber Monday, and more. 

- Use One2 to provide food discounts and coupons, make instant related updates, and optimize your loyalty program.

6. Get your promotions to as many people as possible

To allow as much target audience to know about your great Thanksgiving offers, use the omnichannel approach. For instance,

- Hang signs outside your establishment.

- Hand flyers.

- Reach out to people through email.

- Partner with other small business owners such as gyms and barbershops to assist you with distributing flyers for the event.

- Get involved in local events like farmers' markets to promote your business and specials locally.

- Let social media be in your Thanksgiving marketing ideas. Do not forget to set up your Facebook business page to increase discoverability and customer interaction with your business. Besides, consider these creative ideas for social media posts this holiday season:

  • Use hashtags
  • Promote the Thanksgiving promotions and events in your online store and in-store.
  • Create challenges with prizes.
  • Embed the real-time Thanksgiving marketing campaign (e.g., live polls and quizzes) into Instagram Stories to help your business rise above the noise. 

- Let One2 be at the top of your marketing ideas this holiday season. The system enables the ability to build and manage email lists and publish menu updates on social media and Google - so it broadens your customer reach. Want more information about these features and benefits? We are here for that.

7. Create your Thanksgiving messaging

All this holiday promotional talk does not mean making a large sale is your only goal. The best promotion and marketing ideas on this occasion are not attempting to sell anything. Rather, pay attention to emotion in a fun way or meaningful way. To give you an idea, post inspirational Thanksgiving quotes (e.g., “I suppose I will die never knowing what pumpkin pie tastes like when you have room for it.” - Robert Brault) and feature a water-mouthing photo of food on social media.

8. Take reservations

After promoting your Thanksgiving events and specials, taking reservations works to assess how interested your target customers are. Even if your eatery does not tend to take reservations, it is a smart strategy to implement for Thanksgiving weekend. With this, things should work more smoothly and people will feel a sense of urgency to sign up.

9. Highlight convenience

As Thanksgiving is one of the busiest occasions of the year, your restaurant may take this opportunity to provide a place where customers can de-stress. Tout the conveniences to them through your Thanksgiving marketing and advertising. There is a high possibility that those who know they can get a fantastic, hassle-free dining experience on the holiday weekend will visit your eatery.

10. Take advantage of Small Business Saturday

Back in 2010, Small Business Saturday was launched by American Express to support local stores suffering due to the recession. The Saturday following Thanksgiving each year encourages customers to Shop Small and provides small businesses with more holiday shopping.  

This annual event is not only for retailers. Use One2 and count on servers to spread the word about your restaurant specials. Let diners know they should come and support their favorite food establishment.

Related questions

1. How should I prepare for Thanksgiving eve at my eatery?

- Stock up on inventory.

- Use the One2 ordering system.

- Try out a holiday menu using One2Menu.

- Do staffing

- Keep your staff happy. An unhappy employee may not treat your guests with warm hospitality.

- Create promotions and host events.

- Expect your business revenue to rise.

2. How can I dress up my restaurant this holiday?

- Bring nature inside.

- Use autumn colors.

- Use pumpkins.

- Add themed napkins.

- Intricate centerpieces.

- Showcase the horn of plenty.

3. How about Covid-19 safety tips during Thanksgiving?

- Allow air circulation as much as you can if you are indoors.

- Ensure your entire restaurant is disinfected and cleaned regularly.

- Get employees to wear masks throughout their shifts.

- Give customers hand sanitizers as they enter.

- Set up sanitizing stations in your place.

- Adapt the holiday promotions to the contactless QR code menu One2.

- Have regard for food delivery using the One2 online ordering platform.

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