How Restaurants Can Boost Online Orders and Catering This Thanksgiving
November 10, 2020
Marketing tips and best practices for the upcoming holiday.
It’s that time of year again. In any normal set of circumstances, people would be finalizing travel arrangements to be with family and friends for the Thanksgiving holiday. Dinner plans would be set. Many would choose to cook at home, electing visitors to bring a dish, side or dessert. Others would make a reservation at their favorite restaurants to have a special festive, on-premise dining experience.
With COVID-19, ordinary plans have changed. Gatherings will be smaller and more intimate. Guests will largely decide to stay at home, forgoing travel. Many will take this opportunity to support their favorite restaurants by pre-ordering Thanksgiving catering packages or order a few dishes for delivery. Restaurants now have a great opportunity to capture this demand, grow revenue and forge special connections with their guests this Thanksgiving. Here are a few ways that restaurants can make it happen through promoting their offerings through the website, social media and email.
10 Tips for Your Perfect Holiday Menu
Seasonal offerings can lead to a 26% increase in sales. Need holiday menu inspiration? See real examples from a variety of restaurants.
Offer Catering Packages, Meal-Kits or Merch
Many restaurants have exercised their creative muscle this year in response to the shift to takeout and delivery operations. How can restaurants give their guests something unique that brings the restaurant to them this holiday season? Virtual classes, catering packages and at-home meal-kits are a great place to start.
Seamore’s in New York City is a great example of this ingenuity. The restaurant offers a curated selection of “Holiday Meal Kits” from their at-home dining operation: Finish @ Home. Each kit comes pre-prepped and oven ready with clear instructions. Diners can have a restaurant-worthy dining experience in their home in less than two hours. Guests can pre-order the kits like the “Holiday Salmon Roast” or share the experience of shucking oysters with their “Oyster Shucking Kit.”
But here’s the most important part. Restaurant’s need to get this information out. Seamore’s promotes their new at-home meal kit operation, “Finish @ Home” on their brand channels, taking visitors to their website where they can purchase the kit online. This is a perfect example of how marketing efforts drive more orders.
Feature Thanksgiving Offers on the Website
A website is a restaurant’s digital storefront. While it’s a place for potential diners to learn more about the restaurant, look up hours and directions or peruse the latest menus, it’s also a key resource for driving revenue. With eCommerce tools, restaurants can sell merchandise, gift cards, tickets and more. And as more restaurants find ways to bring the dining experience into the homes of guests, having a dedicated page for those offerings is key.
Reign, a French-influenced brasserie in Toronto prominently showcases their at-home meal program in the main navigation of their website. Their dedicated “Festive To-Go” page details the inner workings of the program and links guests to the store to make a purchase for prepared turkey dinner for four or eight.
Another great example of how restaurants can promote their Thanksgiving offerings and drive more orders through the website is through pop-up alerts. These alerts are simple to build out on the backend of any BentoBox website and serve as the first interaction with online visitors. Morgan’s Brooklyn Barbecue promotes their “Talk Smoked Turkey” for preorder through their website via a pop-up alert.
Now that we’ve stressed the importance of the website as a restaurant’s digital storefront, now it’s time to show how social media drives traffic back to the website and increases orders. Grain & Cane, in New Jersey, uses Instagram to show off their “Thanksgiving Dinner” available for preorder. In the caption of the post, the restaurant directs followers to visit the website to make a purchase for pickup, even detailing the day and time window to do so.
Another example is of Tuscan-American restaurant, Hearth, in NYC’s East Village. They present their “Thanksgiving Feast” on Instagram using characteristically Hearth-like illustrations that catch the user’s attention. While this imagery is used across their website in their offerings, using a similar image creates a 360-degree approach to their marketing efforts. Guests who know the brand will immediately make the connection to what is being referenced. This attention to detail furthers brand recognition and fosters a greater connection between the restaurant and its guests.
Send Thanksgiving Email Campaigns
Email is an invaluable marketing tool for driving traffic back to the website or online ordering platform to convert into paying customers. Restaurants can tap into their existing customer base to send marketing campaigns highlighting and promoting Thanksgiving specials. An advantage for restaurants that use Bento Ordering, our online ordering solution, is that the contact information for guests who’ve previously ordered online is stored in the BentoBox backend. This makes it easier for restaurants to download a list of their email contacts to market Thanksgiving-focused emails at.
A few important factors can ensure that email marketing campaigns are more effective.
Write clear, straightforward subject lines and headlines that mention Thanksgiving specials
Lead each email with a fun, branded graphic or a high-quality food image of festive offerings
Include any additional upsell opportunities like a wine-pairing or desserts
Include a prominent call-to-action in the email that says, “Pre-Order Here” or “Begin Your Order”
Support Others and Make Space for Giving
As Thanksgiving is more than sharing a meal with friends and family, it’s a time to reflect and be thankful for the important things we cherish in our lives. Many diners may want to give thanks by supporting or donating to charitable causes. Restaurants should consider adding a section to their website directing guests where they can show their appreciation. Whether it’s a COVID-19 donation source or a local organization that feeds those in need, this is a way to not only spread good, it furthers the special connection between a restaurant and its guests.
With the Thanksgiving holiday only a couple of weeks away, the time to get started is now. Set up online ordering in less than 7 days with BentoBox, or begin capturing catering orders through our online catering platform — all on the restaurant’s website. These tools are essential for driving holidays orders while boosting revenue and are the source that all marketing efforts should lead back to. To learn more about these tools and how BentoBox can help, get in touch with a specialist today or reach out to your account manager.
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