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Marketing Your Restaurant on Black Friday

Marketing Your Restaurant on Black Friday

Black Friday might be billed as the biggest day of the year for retailers, but your restaurant also stands to benefit. Many shoppers plan to spend most of their day going from store to store, searching for Christmas gifts and major discounts. They need fuel to keep themselves going, and that's your chance to step in. 

Leverage Their Shopping Moods

The first thing you want to keep in mind is that they are laser-focused on their shopping experience. You can drive extra sales by marketing gift cards, gift sets and brand merchandise front and center. Have an easy-to-browse display that grabs their attention. They can make purchases for holiday parties, family members, coworkers and anyone else who enjoys cooking or eating out at a restaurant. 
If you don't already have products available for gifts, take some time to plan them in the months before Black Friday. Gift cards are easy to put together, with many third-party services handling the logistics for you. Branded TT-shirts, hats and other apparel are almost as simple, especially if you have a great logo and visual design. 
Gifts and sets are more difficult, but they can offer an excellent source of supplementary income for your restaurant. A few ideas that can work well include: 
  • Cookbook
  • Bottled sauces
  • Baked goods
  • Advent calendars
  • Spice mixes
Your focus should be on products that make people have your restaurant experience in their own homes. Cookbooks are the most straightforward of these items, as local and national printers offer many ways to get your restaurant recipes into print. The other items may require specialized equipment or manufacturing to put together, so research your options six months to a year in advance. 

Plan a Menu for the Hardcore Shopping Crowd

Put yourself in the shoppers' shoes. You're pushing through crowds at the crack of dawn, trying to get your hands on the deeply discounted toys or electronics that are in demand this season. The store is crowded, the seasonal retail workers just got hired last week and aren't quite sure what they're doing, and you're probably going to end up buying a lot more than you expected. Now it's time to repeat this process at another packed store. 
The shoppers might be taking a quick break before they head off to another place, or they could be waiting for a time-sensitive promotion. Make sure your menu has plenty of food that can give them energy for the rest of the day. If you're in a region that gets chilly this time of year, load up the beverages section with warm drinks. Tea, coffee, hot cider and mulled wine are all excellent options. 
Offer both a la carte and fixed menus. Some people want to go to the next shopping adventure quickly, while others are worn out and don't want to make any more decisions. This flexible selection caters to both crowds and allows you to streamline some of the kitchen workflows to better handle the rush. 
Be prepared for your restaurant to be busy all day long, with a crowd that may not eat out all that often. While many people focus on the early bird deals that the stores offer, you have higher-than-normal numbers out and about on this day. 

Research the Most In-Demand Deals Near Your Restaurant

If you're right next to a department store that's been advertising the best deal of the season, then you're going to have a ton of foot traffic on Black Friday. Set up a stand outside of your restaurant and offer samples to the hungry, often tired shoppers who are waiting. You want to convey a welcoming atmosphere so they'll flock right over to your restaurant once they've finished their shopping mission. 

Go Mobile-First

A mobile-first restaurant marketing strategy is a must-have for your restaurant on Black Friday. You have a massive amount of people on the go, especially the ones who travel from store to store. They're not heading back to the house to research where they want to eat; they're going to consult their smartphones. 
Give yourself enough time before Black Friday to optimize your restaurant's mobile experience. If you have an app, make sure that it offers value to the people who download it. Test your website on multiple devices and confirm that your restaurant's menu, contact information, reservation form and address are front and center. 
Put together a mobile advertising campaign that's geotargeted to the Black Friday shopping hotspots. If you know that the mall has multiple stores opening up early for festivities, cover these areas. You can even mention the hottest products of the shopping season as a way to make your marketing more relatable to these shoppers. 
Don't let retail stores have all the fun on Black Friday, especially if you're right next to a store with in-demand sales. Use these marketing ideas to capture the attention of avid shoppers, increase your restaurant's revenue and build your brand awareness. As you enter the hectic holiday season, you can get things off on the right foot when you maximize your Black Friday opportunities. 

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