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Marketing Your Holiday Promotions

Holidays are a time of merriment, giving and usually going out to eat more so than normal. According to data from the MasterCard Spending Pulse in 2015, restaurant sales in November and December have been trending up between 4.2% and 6.4% since 2010. (1) Knowing this information, this is the time restaurants need to amplify their marketing efforts to drive customers to their restaurant with incentives to dine. Not only should restaurants be marketing to their customers to get them to come into their restaurants, but the marketing should continue when guests are in the restaurant. When it comes to marketing inside the restaurant, I believe the best tool is tabletop marketing. Tabletop marketing comes in many designs but all product designs have the same goal, to market your specials and event messages to your consumers. Tabletop marketing is great because even after the regular menus are gone, this marketing piece remains. So even if someone doesn’t notice the message right away, there are ample opportunities throughout their visit that they will get to see your marketing messages.

“40% of all specialty cocktail sales comes from our tables and our T-Stand holders we purchased from Menu Designs.” -Shane S. from Chianti Room

For the holidays, there are many types of promotions that restaurants can promote with tabletop marketing. Buy-one-get-one free specials, gift cards and to-go family meals are all promotions that are popular around the holidays. While different promotions will work for different restaurants, making sure your customers have a great experience while dining and then want to come back again is a good goal to keep in mind when planning your restaurant promotions. With tabletop marketing being so important during the holiday season we wanted to re-release our post from July 2015 titled “Tabletop Marketing Done Right”, with some holiday specific additions, to help you plan your holiday promotions.

Tabletop Marketing Done Right - Original post date: July 24, 2015. Revised: July 26, 2016

The great thing about tabletop marketing is your target audience is already right in front of you. When this type of marketing is done well, it can be an inexpensive way to generate additional revenue. However, when done poorly, you can easily put a customer off. So what's the best way to approach tabletop marketing?

Consider Your Customers - When deciding on what type of tabletop holders to use, think about who your customers are, what they want and what you have to offer them. For instance, if you restaurant has certain dishes and drinks only available during the holidays, you want to make sure your customers know this! Crafting a message that's relevant to your customers' needs and wants is much more effective than a generic list of menu or drink items.

Consider Your Restaurant - A brightly colored, illustrated tabletop stand might be great in a kid or family friendly restaurant but would be completely out of place at a fancy bistro. Make sure the design and tone of your tabletop marketing items match that of your eatery. Having your marketing pieces blend in with your décor can show that what you are presenting to your customers is a genuine offering from the restaurant instead of an out of place marketing message that comes across as a salesy push.

Consider What Tabletop Marketing Can Do - You already have a menu. Your tabletop marketing should go beyond that. Offering limited time holiday specials is a good start, but you can also use tabletop marketing to promote loyalty programs, special holiday events, and even your social media channels. A tabletop stand can encourage social media "check-ins" that you can link to special coupons or discounts.

For the holidays, make your promotions extra fun! Remember after the menus are gone, your tabletop marketing remains. What information do you want your customers to continue to see?

Keep It Short and Sweet - The same ideas that apply to conventional marketing wisdom apply to tabletop marketing: The smaller the space, the shorter the message. Make sure your message is clear and easy to read, with plenty of white space. Absolutely avoid paragraphs – remember your tabletop marketing doesn’t need to be your entire menu. Keep your verbiage short and sweet.

Keep It Fresh – Do not always have the same tabletop displays out year round. Have some fun with your marketing and change things up to go along with the season. For most table menu holders, the inserts are able to easily be switched out. Make sure you are changing your inserts for time sensitive material. A holiday drink special advertised six months later is something you want to avoid.

Have you tried tabletop marketing in your restaurant or bar? If so, what worked for your company?


1. “Restaurant spending on the rise during holiday season” December 17, 2015. Accessed November 7, 2016.

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