Black Friday isn’t just for shopping. With friends and family out and about, it’s the perfect day to see a steady flow of people coming into your restaurant. According to a 2017 study by the National Restaurant Association, 72 percent of Black Friday shoppers were expected to dine at a restaurant or fast food place in the midst of their day-long shopping spree.
So how will you prepare for the potential spike in traffic? Better yet, how can you attract those hungry shoppers to your place?
If you still haven’t hammered down a solid game plan, here are some Black Friday restaurant ideas and prep tips to use this year.
1. Get Your Staff Ready
Wednesday through Sunday could get hectic, especially if your establishment is near any stores, theaters or entertainment districts. If you haven’t already done so, meet with your cooks, servers and other staff members earlier in the week to discuss a plan and schedules.
Make sure to accentuate top-notch care despite how busy things might get. Stress that friendly and quick service is important on Friday and throughout the rest of the weekend. A good experience not only will make patrons feel welcome enough to come back, but it also might result in good tips.
2. Create an Incentive to Come
Retailers are offering plenty of deals and discounts so folks shop at their locations on Black Friday. Since there are a lot of other restaurants competing for service on that day, get in on the giving spirit too.
Offering gift cards or free entrée vouchers for your restaurant is always an easy incentive. You can either give them away leading up to Black Friday or on the actual day. No matter which route you choose, remember to create some parameters. For instance, limit any gift cards or vouchers to orders of $40 or more and only one per table.
If you opt for a giveaway on Black Friday, consider doing a fun doorbuster event. Maybe the first 10 customers get a $20 gift card, and the next 20 get coupons for 20% off. Just remember to include clear disclaimers in your messaging. If you want those gift cards or coupons to be redeemable on the NEXT visit, be sure it’s clearly stated.
3. Partner with a Local Business
A lot of small shops can get lost in the shuffle among major retailers on Black Friday. See if there is a nearby store you can partner with to attract people to both locations. For example, you could take 15-20 percentage off a customer’s bill when they show you a receipt or voucher from the partnering store.
With Small Business Saturday the next day, you could offer a voucher or coupon that is redeemable at the store you’re partnering with. That not only helps save your patrons some money while shopping, but it also encourages them to support a small local business.
4. Spread the Word on Social Media
So you have an awesome menu and a cool promotion. But how do you publicize it?
Your restaurant’s social media channels are the perfect places promote your restaurant this Black Friday. Posting sharable content like pictures and videos is a great way to attract people via word of mouth. Just make sure to include the appropriate hashtags related to Black Friday. Also, don’t just post content on the actual day. Start getting the message out there at the beginning of the week.
Aside from standard posts, consider using Facebook’s sponsored ads. These allow you to target potential customers within a specific radius of your establishment. Set up geo-target paid ads so nearby shoppers can get a glimpse on what you’re offering.
Whether it’s in ads or organic posts, think about tying one of the incentives above to your social media channels. For instance, your post could include a promo code that takes 10 or 20 percent off a Black Friday meal.
5. Promote Upcoming Holiday Events & Deals
Since the number of patrons might increase on Black Friday and over the rest of Thanksgiving weekend, it’s the perfect time to promote different events and deals that can bring customers back in. Use posters, flyers and table tent inserts to advertise everything from an ugly sweater night to a holiday trivia contest.
Offices and organizations are always looking for a venue to hold Holiday parties. Put up signage letting everyone know that your place is able to host any gatherings throughout the season. Are you planning to hold a New Year’s Eve bash at your restaurant this year? Start planting the seed in customers’ heads on Black Friday by posting all the details.