Make 2023 Holiday Beverage Sales a December to Remember

Photo of different bottles and glasses and cans of beer and spirits hanging from branches

By: Neeraj (Raj) Tulshan – Founder of Loan Mantra

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. The Holiday season is in full swing so it’s time for one and all to get out of the house. Celebrating the holidays looks different for many people whether that be shopping for friends and family, attending parties or making a toast with a good cocktail or beer. And it’s a peak time for restaurants and bars.

  Festivities can bring more customers into your restaurant as they spend more time eating out with friends and family. Plus, there’s always a lineup of Christmas parties, concerts and winter festivals, so many people don’t have time to cook at home.

  It’s the perfect time for a promotional strategy to kick into high gear. Holiday marketing campaigns capture the joy of the season and encourage valued customers to indulge in a special meal, dessert and/or drinks. There are a variety of options to help your establishment standout. Here are some thought starters:

●   Sponsor a Charity Nigh: Choose a charity of your choice (Toys for Tots, Make a Wish, or a local charity) and select a night or two during the month to donate a portion of your sales to that program. If you can, a local charity is much more likely to draw in more customers, as people flock to support their community. Make sure you market which date you are choosing to do this, and when it’s over, update your customers on the total amount raised. Fun fact: According to National Giving Month, 31% of annual giving happens in the month of December.

●   Offer Gift Cards: The National Retail Federation (NRF), surveys consumers on their spending on holidays and seasonal events throughout the year. Over the last decade, consumers have been kicking off their holiday shopping early in order to spread out their budgets and avoid the stress of holiday shopping. Continuing the trend this year, 60% of holiday shoppers started browsing and buying by early November. Having gift cards available makes it easy for consumers to grab a gift card, apply money to the card for their loved one/friend and stuff it away until their holiday for a present or a stocking stuffer. So, what gift made it to the top of the wish list? It’s gift cards!

●   Add Holiday Spirit to Your Online Presence: Use holiday-themed stock images, Create holiday-themed social media posts using free online templates as a guide on sites like Canva, Ripl and PosterMyWall. Use festive images to engage your audience and update your social media graphics to quickly freshen up your accounts and help boost engagement.

●   Host A Fun Event: Draw people in by hosting fun, quirky events such as an Ugly Sweater Party. This is sure to get everyone in the holiday spirit. Anyone who’s wearing an ugly sweater, enters the contest. From there, an ugly sweater fashion parade is a must. A few possible categories: most festive, most original, just plain ugliest etc. Winner of each category gets a free shot/drink of choice.

●   Holiday-Inspired Drink Menu: Spiked eggnog, peppermint cocktails, holiday-inspired shots, all these drinks help capture the essence of this loved season. With minimal risk and utilization of current inventory, launching a new drink menu is a no-brainer! Seasonal drink menus appeal to new customers and build intangible relationships with your restaurant’s loyal guest base by reinforcing brand concepts and generating spontaneity within the restaurant. This operation, if done efficiently, provides a foundation for increased profit margins.

●   Host a Tasting or Pairing Event: The National Restaurant Association research indicates that the sale of alcoholic beverages can be a key driver to restaurants. Eighty-four percent of adults who drink wine, beer, or cocktails say that restaurants are a good place to learn about new alcoholic beverages while 82% of these consumers say they trust the staff at their local restaurants to make good recommendations when it comes to alcohol beverages. These facts present a great opportunity. Why not host exclusive tasting events for VIP customers? Or hold tasting events which pair the perfect cocktail or beer with the perfect starter, meal or desert? In addition, 70% of beer drinkers, 69% of wine drinkers, and 67% of cocktail drinkers are more likely to say the availability of alcoholic beverages makes them more likely to choose one restaurant over another.

●   Neighborhood Bar Crawl: Feeling collaborative? Team up with nearby bars and restaurants to host a bar crawl. A successful bar crawl is often organized with a predetermined route, listing a selection of bars to visit within a specific timeframe. Oftentimes, bar crawls follow a theme, like a polar bear crawl. So have your bar themed out and guests dressed accordingly! A bar crawl can do wonders for your business. Bar crawls not only bring a flood of new customers to your bar but also creates an atmosphere sure to attract more customers. It’s a great mix of entertainment and growth for your business. Organizing a bar crawl, or getting your bar included in one, requires strategic planning. Partnering with other local businesses, advertising the event, and creating a fun and welcoming atmosphere are all key to a successful bar crawl.

●   Make a Seasonal Favorite: Create a themed drink or special brew that is only offered once per year – think McDonalds Shamrock Shake and Starbucks Pumpkin Latte to get customers talking. Keep the customers’ senses in mind – what visuals, sound and texture can be incorporated to highlight the experience? How will the customer interact with the brand (via server, bartender, store pick up)? How can the presentation be kicked up to give it a little more sizzle as it’s being served? What elements could be included to help recreate the ultimate customer experience each time? 

  Holiday marketing can help you boost revenue, solidify relationships with current customers and gain new ones this holiday season to help make this sales season a December to remember.

About the Author

  Neeraj (Raj) Tulshan is founder and managing member of Loan Mantra. Connect with Raj:, or 855.700.BLUE (2583), Ext. 101.

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