Special Promotions & Events for Restaurants

Special Promotions & Events

For a restaurant owner or manager looking to create more business, it is difficult to top a well-planned special promotion or big event. Special promotions are offered only periodically, such as holiday parties or 2-for-1 entree enticements for a specified period of time.

Seasonal special promotions can help increase sales, bringing in customers during slower periods or capitalizing on busier times.

Restaurant promotions, on the other hand, can range from a tasting dinner to participating in your local restaurant week. Holidays such as New Year’s Eve and Valentines Day are big events that offer ample opportunity for special promotions.

Another growing trend among restaurants is fundraising promotions.

Host a Restaurant Tasting Dinner

A special tasting dinner offers customers a chance to try a unique dinner menu, with each entree paired with a series of wine or other spirits. The menu can be offered for a fixed price or on an a la carte basis. With the help of a skilled 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 and also stimulate wine sales. 

Participate in Restaurant Week

The general concept of a Restaurant Week 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.

During this time, restaurants offer reduced prices on entrees or provide a fixed-price menu. The idea is that whatever a restaurant loses on a per-check basis is recaptured in volume sales. Some restaurants report increased volume as high as 40% during Restaurant Week. The hope is that a significant number of those new diners morph into regular customers willing to pay regular prices when they visit your restaurant.

Restaurant Weeks take place throughout the year, at locations throughout the country.

Offer Holiday Specials

Restaurant promotions often capitalize on holidays and special events. Industry staples include special-menu offerings on Mother's Day, New Year’s Eve, and Valentine’s Day to account for the high volume of extra diners on those days.

With crowds wanting to dine at roughly the same time, restaurants need to be even more organized than normal on these special days. With a little planning, you can avoid problems like overbooking reservations and understaffed personnel. As part a holiday special promotion, your restaurant can entice customers by offering two-for-one deals on New Year's Eve or Valentine's Day. Another popular promotion is to offer all moms get a free dessert on Mother’s Day.

Participate in Community Fundraisers

Many restaurants hold fundraisers for various charitable organizations as special promotions aimed at increasing business. In these settings, 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 trying out your restaurant. The extra publicity (often FREE publicity) that comes with fundraising events is good for business. Ideas include charity auctions, dinner, dancing, live music, 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 catering opportunities. Restaurant catering is ideal for holidays, parties, receptions and meetings. Because your restaurant already has a commercial kitchen for cooking, as well as a professional, 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. Typical catered events include weddings, conventions, business meetings, reunions, and golf tournaments.