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How Restaurants Can Profit from Black Friday and Cyber Weekend

Known for the colossal discounts and monumental deals, the days between Black Friday and Cyber Monday have become a weekend of opportunity for customers and businesses alike. The official start of the holiday shopping season for consumers, the success or failure of this weekend’s sales can determine whether a business has a profitable year.

53% of consumers in the U.S. are expected to shop for holiday presents on Black Friday, November 25, 2023, with Cyber Monday coming in at a close second (45%) and Super Saturday coming in 3rd (25%.)

By following these creative marketing strategies, restaurants can join in on the holiday spending frenzy, capitalize on loosened-wallets, and end 2023 in the black.

Create an Enticing Email Campaign

With the right strategy and follow-through, email marketing can be a restaurant's most powerful secret weapon for increased revenue during the holiday season. But it’s going to take more than one email to generate excitement about your Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales, so don’t wait until the Turkey's eaten to start promoting your offers. With just a little over a week to go, start teasing your restaurant’s special Black Friday offers now.

Start by sending a few pre-Black Friday/Cyber Monday emails to your subscribers to generate hype about the event. Make sure your headlines are catchy and your images are eye-catching. to increase open rates. Include discount codes, digital gift cards, and other incentives to boost customer excitement.

Make sure to contact current and past customers to let them know about your Cyber Weekend offers. To help you during this busy time, consider using an email marketing automation tool that allows you to tailor your messaging to specific segments of your target audience's purchase history.

Team Up With Other Local Businesses

Partnering with other local businesses is a great way to drive sales and expand your customer base by reaching previously untapped audiences. Offer joint coupons and create mutually beneficial cross-promotions by partnering with businesses that share your ethos. If you are a restaurant specializing in vegan cuisine, for example, consider teaming up with stores selling sustainable gifts.

Discount on the Rewards Program

Promoting your restaurant’s rewards program during the holiday season can not only boost sales but can generate repeat business for the future. Consider offering deeper discounts for diners who purchase loyalty programs during Cyber Weekend.

Encourage existing customers to refer family and friends to join your loyalty program by offering bonus points or a small holiday gifts like free desserts or hot drinks on all orders over the weekend.

Special Discounts for Busy Shoppers

As shoppers rush to grab all the best Black Friday deals, they’ll likely work up big appetites. Even those shopping online can tire themselves out by sitting in front of their screens all day. To appeal to those who don’t want to take the time to sit down for a long meal break, offer discounts on quick pick-me-ups such as coffee or energy drinks.

Create deals on your holidays beverage menu or offer free drinks with all food orders. Something as simple as offering a free hot chocolate on check sizes of $25 or more or a discount on holiday-themed energy smoothies can be great attention grabbers. Be sure to promote these deals on social media before the event and during lunch and dinner hours.

Cross-promote Black Friday and Cyber Monday Specials

If your restaurant offers both in-house dining and delivery, you can promote sales on both channels with cross-promotional deals. When a customer dines in your restaurant on Black Friday, for example, offer a discount for delivery or take-out orders on Cyber Monday.

Be prepared by posting the offer on tabletop signs, on printed flyers, and on social media. Provide customers with a discount code that can be used while they shop online. Then, drive customers back to your dining room by offering Cyber Monday a discount on their next visit to your restaurant.

Go Old School With Direct Mail

Even in today’s digital world, direct mail is still one of the most highly under-leveraged forms of marketing today. It is a great way to get a message in front of current and prospective customers to drum up repeat business.

Leverage the Power of Google

Use Google Ads to Reach New Audiences

If you have the budget for Pay-per-Click (PPC) advertising, consider leveraging the power of Google Ads.

When people search for restaurants like yours, your ad will appear at the top of the Google search. The user can travel directly to your website. Your business can also appear on Google "Near Me" Searches, Maps, and across the entire network of Google’s partner sites.

  • Google Ads has a clickthrough rate of nearly 2%.

  • Display ads yield 180 million impressions each month.

  • For users ready to buy, paid ads on Google get 65% of clicks.

Take Advantage of "Near Me" Searches

Experiencing exponential growth in the last few years, "Near Me" google searches are critical for restaurants because they allow you to reach your intended audience during micro-moments when they’re hangry for a bite during their busy shopping day.

Create an Irresistible Offer

The driving force behind the spending frenzy on Black Friday and the entire Cyber Weekend is the outrageous deals, and shoppers have grown to expect them. For restaurants, heavily discounting your menu items isn't the only way to create an irresistible offer. People are looking to get the most value for their money.

Entrée specials can be as simple as offering a regular menu item at an attractive price or creating holiday-centric selections. Placing signs outside of your establishment about the specials can be quite appealing to hungry discount savvy shoppers walking by.

Offer Thanksgiving weekend-themed dishes like a Thanksgiving leftover-inspired soup or pumpkin ice cream to catch the eyes of shoppers starving for ways to get into the holiday spirit.

The weekend of Thanksgiving is generally the time when consumers begin to ramp up their holiday spirit. For many people, exhausted by the shopping rush, that includes getting into holiday spirits. If you have holiday-themed drinks in mind, consider introducing them on Black Friday. Hot Toddies, Hot Buttered Rum, or eggnog can be fitting additions to your beverage selection on Black Friday and Cyber Weekend. For coffee shops, family-friendly cafes, or lunch-focused restaurants, non-alcoholic peppermint smoothies or coffee drinks can add a little spice to the daily grind.

A Well-Prepared Staff

Once your deals are in place and your marketing is in gear, it's very important to have enough staff on hand. If you also plan to be open on Thanksgiving, that might mean splitting your staff between Thursday and Friday so that employees not only have time to spend with family but also have the opportunity to cash in on the shopping-splurge.

To be fair, ask your staff for their input as to whether they'd prefer to work or have some time off by implementing a survey or schedule request system. Consider using a lottery or seniority to determine which staff members have their requests met first. Set up a meeting with your entire staff before Thanksgiving to go over the schedule, discuss any special holiday menu items, and explain any changes to procedures compared to a normal shift.

Once your team is in place, train your staff to focus on turning over the tables faster than normal so shoppers can get in and out quickly.

Consider rewarding employees that work on holidays with a free meal, a day off with pay, or another reward after the first of the year.

Gear up on Gift Cards

Because customers will already be in shopping mode, trying to check off a good portion of their holiday errands in one fell swoop, offering special deals on gift cards at your restaurant while customers are in a spending mood is a great way to tempt Black Friday shoppers. An extra $5 for every $25 card or a free $10 gift card for every $50 gift card purchased are just two examples.

Get Started Now!

The holiday season is important for both end-of-year numbers and customer engagement, and there’s no better time than now to get started with your marketing plans. As the shopping world quickly begins to look a lot like the holidays, implementing a few of these strategies on Black Friday and Cyber Weekend can help your restaurant be off to an "in-the-black" season.

By Eileen Strauss

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