Thanksgiving Day service ideas for restaurants

Autumn is quite eventful. As with any special holiday, Thanksgiving must be thoughtfully planned. Unlike All Saints Day, Thanksgiving is a traditional holiday, and many people prefer to celebrate the holiday at home with family and close friends. Cooking a turkey is an important ritual for many Americans. However, the current generation very rarely finds the time for honoring those traditions and preparing a festive dinner. Today, families either go to a restaurant or have a ready-made meal delivered to their home. 

According to the National Restaurant Association, 15 million Americans prefer to have their holiday dinner at a restaurant, 4 million order a full, traditional home meal, and another 14 million Americans order a partial meal. Staying open on Thanksgiving usually results in a full house because many restaurants are closed on that day. Still, it is important to keep your head above water during the holidays. Offer group and family traditional dining, in-house catering, promote holiday parties, and support local food festivals. Here are more Thanksgiving Day marketing ideas that will help you to increase sales and attract customers during the holidays.

Thanksgiving service ideas

Thanksgiving Menu and Decoration

At this time of year, people who can't spend Thanksgiving with their family or who don’t want to spend the whole day preparing a meal still need a festive dinner. If your restaurant is going to remain open on November 23, then you definitely need to plan a special menu. There is no way to do that without traditional turkey and dressing, cranberry sauce, pumpkin-flavored desserts, and casserole dishes. People love to experiment with traditional recipes, and it is not easy to surprise restaurant guests with unusual dishes so you need to try harder when coming up with Thanksgiving service ideas.

Of course, the menu should include the main dishes, but, in addition to the classics, offer customers something new and inspired by classic ingredients. For example, people might enjoy something like vegan sweet potato casserole with maple pecan topping, apple pie salsa with cinnamon sugar, or pumpkin pie popsicles. To increase sales, add special cocktails to the menu that are available just for the holidays. Make your place one of the best Thanksgiving day dinner restaurants in the city!

Create a menu template for your special holiday menu. There are a lot of examples on the Internet but the best way to do this is to stick to your own concept and follow the unique style of a restaurant.

Thanksgiving service menu ideas

Thanksgiving Day-themed restaurants can draw even more attention. Make the atmosphere more festive by decorating the hall with pieces that evoke nature. Use warm, golden colors, floral napkins, and create a fall tablescape with autumn-scented candles, small pumpkins, oranges, chestnuts, flowers, or leaves: everything that is holiday inspiring.

So let’s sum things up:

  • Add dishes and drinks to your menu that will bring a festive atmosphere to your location.
  • Print a special menu as additional pieces to your main one.
  • Use all your creativity while decorating the hall but stick to your concept. Don’t over do this. 

Offer Thanksgiving to-Go

You can attract more customers by offering Thanksgiving meals to-go. This is a lifesaver for those who don’t want to cook anything this Thanksgiving but still want to have a delicious holiday dinner at home. In addition to the competition from other local restaurants, many supermarkets also offer Thanksgiving meals. This means your restaurant should strive to offer great quality and make better offers for customers so they make a choice in your favor.

Poster POS is a cloud Point of Sale and Management Console

Make the order process easier and post your menu online. Place your special offers on the restaurant website, and don’t forget about popular food delivery services like UberEats, GrubHub, and Seamless. To avoid overloading your customers right before the holiday, make sure that people know about your offers in advance, for example, starting on November 1st. And, of course, choose the deadline for meal orders early on. Decide how you will set prices; for example, charge per pound or number of people (dinner for 4, 8, 10). Think about a la carte options for smaller groups, too. Consider including some complimentary extras such as cookies or cranberry sauce. You can also offer Thanksgiving boxed lunches that businesses can pick up at the restaurant. Many office workers will appreciate it.

Restaurant marketing ideas for Thanksgiving day

Themed Parties and Special Deals

November brings colder weather, so people prefer to spend more time indoors. Therefore, people need a place where they can have a fun while enjoying a delicious holiday meal. Take an advantage of one of the biggest bar days of the year, Thanksgiving Eve, by targeting large local groups. There are a lot of Thanksgiving Day ideas for restaurants and bars! For example, hosting afternoon football viewing parties with half-priced snacks on the menu will be really popular with sports fans. Or broadcast the large, traditional Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, and try to recreate the atmosphere of home for guests of your restaurant.

By adding special restaurant Thanksgiving Day deals you can attract more guests to your business. Here are some great examples: 

  • When ordering the full Thanksgiving Day meal, offer your customers a complimentary item like sparkling cinnamon cider or extra gravy. Get great marketing results by offering rebates, or promote gift card sales by offering a free item with each sale that encourages people to bring family and friends to the restaurant. You will benefit from interesting Thanksgiving Day ideas. 
  • Start a “Thanksgiving Countdown” promotion the week before the holiday by offering a different deal each day, like “free biscuit with purchase of a cup of pumpkin spice latte” or “30% off on a second hot chocolate”. For your convenience, you can set up all the special deals in your restaurant, cafe and pizza POS software. Many of them allow you to set the time and days when deals are available, their terms, and results.

Thanksgiving Day ideas for restaurants

Social Media and Promotion

If people don’t know about your Thanksgiving special offers, they won’t show up. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to keep your guests informed. You can send emails with a special menu and restaurant offers to all your loyal customers to keep them up-to-date. Social media is definitely on the list of the best ways to promote your restaurant. We mentioned social media promotions in more detail when we talked about Halloween marketing ideas for restaurants and pubs, so check out the link to find out how to promote your business during Thanksgiving time. This way, you will increase restaurant profits and expand your online audience.

Attracting an audience is definitely not simple for restaurant owners. But one thing we know for sure: smart Thanksgiving Day restaurant promotion ideas are definitely better than cutting prices. People are ready to overspend during the holidays, so restaurateurs that don’t have special holiday promotions are losing opportunities, customers, and profit. What will you do this year?

Kate Palanchuk
Content Marketer at Poster POS. Kate digs deep into the layers of new technologies and trends in the restaurant business to provide the best content for the blog readers.

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