Sign up for restaurant insights


After the turkey leftovers are packed away and the last slice of pie is served, many Americans flood shopping centers to begin checking items off their holiday lists. As a restaurant, you can get in on the Black Friday weekend shopping rush, too. Restaurants can get a piece of the gift giving season by offering specials, selling gift cards and serving as the go-to spot to relax this Black Friday.

Preparation is key when it comes to conquering Black Friday weekend. Whether you are looking to offer irresistible deals or strategizing how to crush the holiday rush, it’s important to come up with a Black Friday plan. Here are some tips on how to get started:

How to prepare your restaurant for Black Friday

1. Prep your staff

We get it, it’s hard to tackle the holiday rush, especially when you want to make sure your employees can enjoy the season too. That’s why preparing for staffing during the holidays is crucial for keeping holiday cheer. If your restaurant is located in a shopping area, expect a customer rush on Black Friday all the way through New Years.

Clearly communicate your staffing needs for Black Friday weekend so that your staff is aware of expectations. To keep your staff happy, give them the option to request which holidays they want to work during the season. Be sure to send out schedules early so that your staff can make holiday arrangements. It’s also good to review best practices for managing high demand ordering times to make sure your staff is ready for the rush

2. Create a holiday menu

Black Friday weekend officially marks the start of the winter holiday season that ushers in a new flavor palette featuring peppermint, cinnamon, gingerbread and eggnog. This is a perfect time to launch your winter holiday menu highlighting winter flavors.

Creating seasonal dishes doesn’t require you to upend your entire menu. You can try winter twists on some of your menu classics. You can source local seasonal ingredients to incorporate a winter flavor profile into your menu. Check out more tips on how to make your seasonal menu pop.

It can also pay off to double down on happy hour on Black Friday. Consider starting your happy hour earlier than usual for customers who are desperate to relax after a long day of shopping. Show off your seasonal drinks and cocktails to get customers excited about the holidays. Adding your holiday cocktails to your Grubhub delivery menu can increase the average revenue per order by $14. That way customers can enjoy a celebratory cocktail at home after a day of shopping.  

3. Offer gift cards

Black Friday is all about shopping, and many shoppers are looking to check off their gift lists in one day. This is the perfect opportunity to encourage diners to give the gift of a delicious meal this season. Offering holiday themed gift cards for your restaurant can help boost your bottom line during the holidays.

Make sure you advertise that your restaurant offers gift cards so that diners know where to shop. Update your restaurant website with a clear gift card button and use signage in your restaurant to show that you have gift cards in stock. Posting about your gift card offerings on social media can rally diners to snatch one up.

Gift cards are also a great way to generate loyalty amongst your customers. You can create a Black Friday deal around your gift cards like offering $5 off a customer’s next order when they purchase a card. This gives diners the perfect excuse to come back to your restaurant to use their perk. 

4. Partner with local business

Odds are customers are visiting a lot of stores on Black Friday. While your restaurant can serve as a great break from the shopping chaos, it’s probably not a diner’s only stop. Partnering with other local businesses in your area can help put your restaurant on customers’ radar and make sure visiting your restaurant is on their to-do list.

Consider running a mutually beneficial partnership with a local business where customers can get special deals by visiting both businesses. When a customer keeps their receipt from your partner business and shows it at your restaurant, you can offer an exclusive deal. For example, diners can get a free drink from your restaurant when they bring a receipt from the boutique you are partnering with.

Local partnerships will get your restaurant’s name out there and encourage customers to stop for a bite to eat during their shopping. It can also help build community and create relationships with other business owners which can pay off in the long run.

5. Step up your loyalty promotions

The holiday season is a perfect time to remind your customers how much you appreciate their loyalty. Creating a unique loyalty promotion on Black Friday can inspire your loyal customers to place an order. Consider introducing a limited time offer exclusive for loyal customers. Or check out more unique rewards strategies you can implement at your restaurant in time for the holidays.

You can also roll out trendy merchandise geared towards your loyal customers. Merch can serve as a great gift and free advertising by getting people to casually sport your brand. Offer a discount on your merch on Black Friday to give customers an extra incentive to add it to their cart.

6. Promote on social media

The last step you need to check off your list before Black Friday is designing social media posts. Promoting your holiday specials and deals on social media can let diners know what you’re offering. Make sure you add when your holidays hours are and highlight your seasonal specials.

Get creative with your holiday posts. 45% of US customers say they’ve tried out a new restaurant after seeing its posts on social media, and that means designing an eye-catching post can draw hungry diners right to your restaurant. You can take your social media plan to the next level by incorporating fall social media holidays to get your restaurant in front of the right customers.

Don’t forget about Small Business Saturday

Did you know the day after Black Friday is dedicated to getting customers to shop small? As a local restaurant, this can be a great opportunity to encourage diners to support your small business.

Offer exclusive incentives for customers who dine with you on Saturday like coupon vouchers for their next visit, merchandise, or a free drink or side. Small Business Saturday is also a great opportunity to partner with another local small business to get the whole community behind shopping small.

Remind customers that your restaurant is a small business, too. Post about your restaurant’s Saturday deals and celebrations so that diners are prepared to join in on the fun. This can also be a great opportunity to share your restaurant’s story so that your diners can get to know the faces behind their food.

Let the deals roll into Cyber Monday

For some shoppers the entire gift buying experience happens from the comfort of their couch on Cyber Monday. As a restaurant that offers to-go dining, you have a chance to be part of their virtual shopping experience. Cyber Monday is a great chance to up your online marketing reach and double down on delivery.

Cyber Monday is all about the digital deals. E-gift cards, merchandise, and reservations are a great thing to offer at a discount. Limited time delivery deals can inspire a diner to press ‘order now.’ Restaurants listed on Grubhub Marketplace can take advantage of personalized Smart Promotions and offer delivery and take-out deals. Try giving incentives that encourage diners to keep ordering from your restaurant after the shopping weekend. For example, you can give $5 off a customer’s next delivery order when they purchase an e-gift card.

It’s essential that your digital presence is in tip-top shape for this online holiday. Your restaurant should have an easy-to-use website that has online ordering abilities so diners can browse your site and place an order all in one place. Restaurants who partner with Direct get access to a commission-free online ordering site that can be customized to fit with their brand. That way customers can easily navigate everything from learning about your restaurant to placing a delivery order.

Show your values with Giving Tuesday

Giving Tuesday rounds out the Thanksgiving holiday rush by encouraging everyone across the globe to give back. As a local restaurant, we’ve seen how you’ve gone out of your way to share your generosity with your community. Yet your diners may not realize what you do beyond preparing their delicious meals.

You can post about the ways your restaurant gives back on social media with #GivingTuesday to join in on the world-wide day of generosity. Organizing a food drive, donating meals to those in need, or giving your staff paid time off to engage in community service are all great ways to share your generosity this holiday season.

Step up your restaurant deals this holiday season with Grubhub

Whether you are unveiling your holiday menu, offering special discounts, selling merchandise, or featuring gift cards to your restaurant, there are many ways you can make your restaurant stand out over Black Friday weekend. With proper preparation your restaurant can become a go-to break for busy shoppers.
As the holiday rush rapidly approaches, many restaurants are turning to Grubhub to help alleviate the heavy lifting this holiday season. When you partner with Grubhub your restaurant can get instant access to over 33 million diners hungry to place their next order. Ready to get started? Click here to join Grubhub today.