April 03, 2019 09:42 AM
Adding Easter and spring themes to your restaurant decor would brighten up the atmosphere and delight customers. (Photo: gaikova/Shutterstock)
By Jaime Bender
Outside, the signs of spring abound: temperatures warming, flowers blooming, sun shining, children laughing. This can only mean one thing: Easter is just around the corner.
For your small business, this holiday can be one of the top 10 biggest sales days of your year – if you approach it correctly. Here’s how:
Neighborhood casual dining restaurants can take the most advantage of Easter egg hunts, namely because they’re family-friendly and child-proofed. This year, try pairing your egg hunt with a special brunch menu, suggests Jay Bandy, president of Goliath Consulting Group.
“A featured menu introducing spring items along with brunch items usually replaces the standard menu,” Bandy said. “When there is a secure area outside the restaurant, an Easter egg hunt is a great distraction for the kids. Easter eggs are randomly stuffed with prizes for the kids and restocked by the staff throughout the time frame brunch is served.”
You could also provide a decorating table where children can decorate paper eggs or color bunny printouts.
Pastels, spring flowers and greenery make for a beautiful centerpiece. (Photo: Africa Studio/Shutterstock)
Brighten the look and feel of your venue with pastel-colored eggs, tulips or candy baskets. Add some spring flowers to your landscape, like cherry blossoms, daisies, daffodils, gerber daisies or lilies. Some food suppliers can provide flowers, so check with yours to see if you can have them brought in with your next delivery.
For fine-dining restaurants, tactics that center around the culinary traditions of Easter work well. “The key here is the special menu crafted by the chef that features traditional items like lamb,” Bandy said. “Desserts and other menu items can be featured with some effectiveness.”
For this to be successful, he said, “The restaurant will need to be known to have holiday-themed menus throughout the year.”
If your restaurant is located in a high-traffic area – or near a church, as an added bonus – embrace the reality that many people will be out and about on a day like this – and have some fun. Consider hiring someone to dress as a bunny and hand out eggs and flyers on the street over the weekend. It’s a great way to add visibility to your shop.
Kids and Easter go hand in hand. (Photo: Sharomka/Shutterstock)
And while your bunny-for-hire is on the clock, invite him inside and set up a photo booth. If that's not an option, just gather props, like plastic eggs and bunny ears, and let the guests ham it up. “Guests can use silly hats, masks, glasses, and anything else that is colorful and will add to the photo,” said Niki Pacheco of Kulture Connect, a marketing and graphic design studio that serves hospitality brands. “Parents want their kids to have a fun experience, and what better way than meeting the Easter bunny during their dining experience.
She added: “Many families like to take yearly Easter photos, so if you also advertise free photos, this would be a really great bonus.”
If you have an active email list, plan out an email campaign to draw in guests on Easter. “Average open rates will be around 10-25% of your list, so be sure to add a clear call-to-action telling guests exactly what you want them to do,” Pacheco said. “Would you like them to make a reservation? Would you like them to call for more info? The simpler you make it, the better results you will get.”
And make it very clear that you’ll be open Easter Sunday, since some small businesses choose to close that day.
If you don’t have the time, bandwidth or money to promote Easter on-site, it’s also worthwhile to sponsor an event elsewhere.
“One of the best ways to market your restaurant is through sponsorships,” Pacheco said. “See if there are any Easter egg hunts in the city that you can help sponsor in exchange for advertising space at the event.”