Restaurant Holiday Decor: 9 Festive Ideas To Try This Season
October 19, 2022
Create a cozy atmosphere for your diners this holiday season using these decoration tips from successful restaurants.
Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, there’s a lot happening for restaurants. It’s prime time holiday season with a big spike in holiday pre-orders, gift card and merchandise sales, special menus, pop-ups and private parties. One way to make the busy period more enjoyable — for both yourself and your guests — is to decorate.
Holiday decorations in your restaurant have their perks. First, it creates a homey atmosphere that helps diners feel more relaxed and cozy. Second, dressing up your space makes you more likely to earn press coverage, thanks to round-up style articles that are super popular during the holidays. And lastly, many guests will share photos of your festive decor on their social media accounts, leading to increased visibility and online conversation about your restaurant.
Whether you opened a new restaurant earlier in the year and are decorating for the first time or you have many years of trimming experience under your belt, here are nine decoration ideas to implement this holiday season.
1. Christmas Tree
CRAFT | New York, New York
Many diners will have a Christmas tree up at home, but there’s something extra special about admiring an evergreen that you didn’t have to decorate yourself. Give your guests this experience by making the classic holiday staple the centerpiece of your dining room. There are many ways to trim the tree and seemingly endless options for ornaments. Opt for a classic look like CRAFT, or consider a themed tree that’s authentic to your brand. While a large tree certainly is a showstopper, shorter ones like the trio at Meat Market Tampa are just as festive and do the trick if you’re tight on space.
2. Winter Glassware
Trummer’s | Clifton, Virginia
Bring out speciality glassware for the season to serve up your holiday cocktails. Whether you offer snowman-decaled stemmed wine glasses or holiday character mugs — Rudolph, Santa, The Grinch, etc. — fun drinkware is always a hit. It’s also likely to make it onto your guests’ Instagram posts and can earn you valuable publicity.
Read more here: How to Use Instagram for Restaurant Marketing
3. Unique Wreaths
Nomad Taqueria + Beer Garden | Golden, CO
Wreaths come in all shapes and sizes, making them highly versatile and customizable to your concept. For those who don’t want the upkeep of a real wreath (no one wants to be sitting under a wreath sipping a hot toddy with unexpected pine needles) or don’t have access to one, design one using non traditional materials. Nomad Taqueria + Beer Garden hangs one made of earth-toned ornaments above their fireplace. It’s a subtle nod to their surrounding southwestern landscape and feels very on brand.
Boucherie | New York, New York
No chimney? No problem. Even without a fireplace, stockings are a small and easy addition to different parts of a restaurant. Boucherie tacks theirs up next to the mirror, but you could hang yours along the bar, in front of the host stand or off of wall light fixtures. You can even create branded stockings to hang around the space and sell as part of your restaurant merchandise.
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Frasca Food and Wine | Boulder, CO
Securing garland to your ceiling light fixtures is a simple way to cozy up the room. It’s cost-effective and relatively quick to implement. Frasca adorns the bottom of theirs with garland and hanging glass ornaments. Quick service spots including coffee shops and bakeries can also use garland to line their pastry display cases like this example from Little Tart Bakeshop in Atlanta, Georgia.
Hugo’s | Houston, TX
“Christmas trees” don’t need to be exclusively Evergreens. Hugo’s puts together an annual tree made up entirely of poinsettias. Using different varieties, the team layers the plants in traditional red with pink and white colors. It’s a customer favorite at the restaurant and always gets a lot of love on social media.
Read more here: Social Media Marketing for Restaurants: 10 Keys to Success
7. Red Berries
Grill 23 Bar & Grill | Boston, MA
Grill 23 Bar & Grill is known in Boston for having amazing holiday decorations each year, and the restaurant uses red berries to add pops of color throughout the space. Here, the berries dress up the lamp posts in between tables, which also are wrapped in lit garland and pinecones.
8. Gingerbread Houses
Nostrana | Portland, OR
The highly talented pastry chef at Nostrana, Maddie Stratton, took gingerbread houses to a new level last year with her recreation of the Duomo di Milano. The well-known Italian cathedral is quite the architectural treasure, and Stratton nailed the details of it through her pastry work. See a full video of the display here — take note of the gelatin windows!
Ellie’s Restaurant & Lounge | Dallas, TX
Looking to add some holiday decor on a small budget? Pinecones are a great option. Ellie’s uses a handful of them to spruce up a table centerpiece. Whether they’re sprayed white for a “snow dusted” look or in their natural state for more of a woodsy look, pinecones create a rustic feel. Add them into wreaths, use in table settings, place along the mantle (if your restaurant has a fireplace) or house them in a basket at your host stand.
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See 29 examples of real holiday decor for Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Eve from successful concepts.
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