The holiday season brings great opportunities for restaurants to extend their reach beyond the dining room and become more integrated into the local community. Since it’s a time when the spirit of giving and togetherness is abundant, it’s the perfect timing for restaurant owners to forge meaningful connections. In this season of goodwill, embracing community involvement becomes a powerful way for restaurants to give back, foster a sense of belonging, and create lasting memories for patrons that extend well beyond the dining experience.
Restaurant owners can actively engage with the local community during the holiday season in several ways:
Community Events and Sponsorships: Sponsor or participate in local holiday events, parades, or festivals. This can involve providing food, sponsoring a float, or having a booth to showcase your restaurant.
Charitable Initiatives: Collaborate with local charities or non-profit organizations for holiday-related initiatives. This could include organizing food drives, offering discounted meals for charity events, or donating a percentage of sales to a chosen cause. Chick-fil-A Operators combat food insecurity through the Chick-fil-A Shared Table® program, donating surplus food to local soup kitchens, shelters, and non-profits.
Collaborations with Other Businesses: Partner with local businesses for joint promotions or events. For example, collaborate with a nearby bakery for a holiday dessert special or team up with a local store for cross-promotional activities. Bark, the company behind BarkBox, a dog toy subscription service, has once again collaborated with Dunkin’ this year for a charitable cause after the success of last year’s Dunkin’-themed toys.
Holiday-Themed Specials: Create special holiday menus or promotions, and promote them through local media, community bulletin boards, and social media platforms. Consider combining these specials with charitable campaigns. Tim Hortons announced their first-ever national Holiday Smile Cookie campaign earlier this month, with 100% of proceeds donated to local charities and community groups, including Tim Hortons Foundation Camps.
Community Dinners or Events: Host community dinners where locals can come together to celebrate the holiday season. Consider offering a discounted or free meal for those in need.
Employee Volunteerism: Encourage your staff to volunteer for local charities or community events during the holiday season. This can foster a sense of community within your restaurant team.
Decorate Your Restaurant: Embrace the holiday spirit by decorating your restaurant with festive lights, ornaments, and decorations. This can create a warm and inviting atmosphere that attracts locals.
Holiday Loyalty Programs: Introduce holiday-themed loyalty programs or discounts to reward regular customers and encourage repeat business during the festive season.
Local School Partnerships: Collaborate with local schools for fundraising events or support school programs by sponsoring holiday-related activities. These 57 chain restaurants participate in school fundraising.
Customer Appreciation Events: Host events to show appreciation for your regular customers. This could include special tastings, holiday parties, or exclusive discounts for loyal patrons.
By actively participating in and contributing to the local community during the holiday season, restaurant owners can not only boost their business, build strong relationships with customers, and create a positive reputation within the community.