Holidays are considered to be one of the most effective natural publicity tools available to self-employed persons. Many grocery stores begin selling Christmas items in August. Valentines hit the shelves in December 26 and Halloween creeps around in mid-July.
Use the holidays to promote your business in the media, not just in-house. All you have to do is send a media release to the local media so that the editors can use your story as a feature item.
For all examples in this article, the fictitious restaurant name Grandma’s Pot is used for illustration purposes. Here are a year’s worth of headlines and ideas (one for each month) you can use to promote your restaurant.
- January: “Grandma’s Pot Brings Good Luck to Patrons with Free Sweet Potato Pudding Party New Year’s Day from 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.” Slices of Sweet Potato Pudding are free with every meal. It’s a Jamaican tradition, but many countries or regions have their own New Year’s Day superstitions.
- February: “One lucky Couple Who Gets Engaged at Grandma’s Pot on Valentine’s Day Will Win A Complete Wedding & Honeymoon Package.” Sounds pricey, doesn’t it? Not if you let others pay for it all! You can easily find companies willing to donate their services (Example: a free wedding cake, wedding photo package, floral arrangements, etc.) in exchange for the coverage they’ll get in the promotion – it doesn’t hurt to ask.
- March: “The Easter Bunny Hops Over To Grandma’s Pot for Week of Free Pictures and Egg Colouring Contest.” Rent a bunny costume and hand out Polaroid pictures to patrons who want to meet The Bunny himself. Once at the table, they can colour in a pre-painted Easter picture for a chance to win $500 in Grandma’s Pot Bucks (play money that will bring the party back in for a second visit.) for those who don’t win, give a coupon as a “runners-up” prize.
- April: Over 1000 cities around the world celebrate Earth Day. Grandma’s Pot could join this international bandwagon with an activity that could be titled: “Grandma’s Pot Cook Out & Beach Clean Up With Diners on Earth Day.”
- May: “Grandma’s Pot is Donating 15% of Every Purchase in May to the Golden Age Home in Honour of Senior Citizen’s Month.”
- June: “On June 27, National Decide to Be Married Day, Grandma’s Pot Will Give One Lucky Couple a One-Carat Diamond Engagement Ring from Ashton’s Jewellers.” Two establishments split the cost on one ring, and both get free press and extra business.
- July: “Jamaica’s National Heroes & Heroine to Visit with Diners July 4 at Grandma’s Pot.”Rent costumes and hand it over to your wait-staff. You can get free press and give your patrons a night of excitement – when they enjoy meeting two famous historical figures in one night.
- August: “Mad At Your Spouse? On August 25, International Kiss & Make-Up Day, Grandma’s Pot Is Holding a Lip-Locking Contest Where One Lucky Couple Will Receive a Night of Romance at a Local All-Inclusive Hotel, Followed by a Carriage Ride along the hip-strip through downtown in Montego Bay.”
- September: “Bring Your Kids To Grandma’s Pot Back-to-School Special Where Kids Eat Free the First Week of Classes.” Here’s an added tidbit: September 26 is International Food Service Employees Day; while this may not be newsworthy information, do some in-house promotion to boost the staff’s tip income for the day.
- October: “Grandma’s Pot Hosts Halloween Costume Party – Best in Show Wins $5,000 Prize.” In the next several sentences, tell them that Polaroid photos of the costumes will be taken throughout the night. One winner will be selected to receive $5,000 cash. The entry form, complete with name, address, eMail, and phone number, is a great way to capture mailing information for future mailings.
- November: “Grandma’s Pot to Donate 10 Chickens to Homeless for Every 100 Customers Who Eat At Grandma’s Pot’s During the Month of November.”
- December: “Santa to Host Tree-Decorating Festivities at Grandma’s Pot – Bring a Wrapped Toy for Needy Children and Get Your Picture Taken Free.: A Digital Camera, a Santa costume and your standard Christmas tree each patron gets to decorate with an ornament gets you recognised as a fun establishment that cares about the needs of the community. Ask each person for their eMail address so you can send them their photos. Another great way to capture mailing information for future mailings.
Got any idea of your own you’d like to share with us? Please she it in the comments section below.