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5 Ways for Quick Service Restaurants to Thrive This Thanksgiving

5 Ways for Quick Service Restaurants to Thrive This Thanksgiving

TLDR

You want this Thanksgiving to be your restaurant’s best yet. The holiday season can be chaotic for QSR and casual dining spots, with extra customers and complex menus. But fear not, with some smart planning and a positive outlook, you can turn this Thanksgiving into a delightful experience for both your team and diners. Focus on simplifying operations,  streamlining takeaway and delivery, and harnessing technology to promote your holiday offerings. By preparing in advance, you'll be all set to enjoy the holidays right alongside your satisfied customers. This Thanksgiving, with the right strategies and Square POS within your app, success and memorable moments are within reach for your restaurant.

Plan an Irresistible Thanksgiving Menu

To make this Thanksgiving one for the books, start with an irresistible menu. Offer classics with a twist, like:

Turkey Day Sandwiches

For something casual yet memorable, feature Thanksgiving-inspired sandwiches, with options like roasted turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce on ciabatta or pumpkin bisque and Gruyere grilled cheese.

Fall Harvest Salads

Nutritious, delicious salads are perfect for your health-conscious customers. Incorporate seasonal produce like pears, persimmons, pomegranates and pumpkin seeds. A maple vinaigrette or pomegranate molasses dressing adds autumnal flair.

Decadent Desserts

Sweeten the deal on a sweet note with house-made desserts showcasing fall flavors. Think spiced apple crisp, bourbon pecan pie, cranberry orange bread pudding or pumpkin cheesecake.

Creating a warm and inviting atmosphere is a must for quick-service restaurants aiming to make this Thanksgiving special. Set the mood with soft, comforting holiday tunes, and decorate your space with autumn-inspired decor. Your staff's friendly and attentive approach at the counters will be the finishing touch that leaves a lasting impression. It's all about crafting a memorable experience that will have diners coming back for more.

Market Your Thanksgiving Specials

Promoting your Thanksgiving offerings is key to attracting customers during this busy season. Use social media and email marketing to spread the word about your specials and make it easy for people to order.

Promote Through Social Media 

Promote your Thanksgiving menu through social media and email marketing leading up to the big day. Post photos of your delicious dishes on Facebook and Instagram using hashtags like #HappyThanksgiving and #ThanksgivingDinner to increase visibility. Send an email newsletter highlighting your holiday specials and any seasonal drinks or baked goods. Offering special discounts or promotions, like 20% off all pies or turkey dinners, will entice new and returning customers to dine with you.

Streamline Orders Through Pre-Ordering

Allowing customers to pre-order and pre-pay for their Thanksgiving meals through your Per Diem app makes the process seamless for them and gives you more time to prepare. Promote pre-ordering on your website and social media. Create a buzz by offering incentives like a free appetizer or dessert for anyone who pre-orders from the app. Provide clear deadlines for pre-orders and payment to allow enough time for your staff to prepare the extra volume of food.

This technique will not only provide you an estimate of how much food you’ll need to prepare but also prevent overbuying or running out of popular items.

Boost Gift Cards Sale

Using Per Diem, you can create Thanksgiving-themed gift cards for customers to purchase as gifts for friends and family or as a way to prepay for their own meal. Per Diem allows you to easily sell digital and physical gift cards on your website, through the mobile app and in-store. On Thanksgiving Day, make the most of the traffic coming into your restaurant by having gift cards available for purchase. 

With some advance planning and strategic marketing, you'll make this Thanksgiving the most successful yet for your QSR. 

In-House Marketing

Don’t forget about marketing within your own space. Use your menu boards, digital displays, and table tents to highlight your Thanksgiving offerings. Offer small samples if possible so customers can taste for themselves how delicious everything is.

Offer Stress-Free Takeout and Delivery

Make this Thanksgiving a breeze for your customers and a boon for your quick-service restaurant by offering seamless takeout and delivery options.

Offer Hassle-Free Online Ordering

Through your Per Diem app, customers can place orders for pickup or delivery anytime from anywhere using their mobile device. Promote online ordering on your website, social media, and in-store to capture more Thanksgiving meal orders. With Per Diem's integration with Square POS, you'll receive the orders instantly so you can get a head start on preparation.

Streamline the Takeout Experience

Designate a separate pickup area, have orders packaged with zero errors with your digital tickets and ready to grab and go, and consider offering curbside pickup for added convenience. Make the pickup process quick and easy so customers can get in and out fast.

Provide Delivery for Extra Convenience

With Per Diem's seamless Square POS integration in your mobile app, you get to enjoy a commission-free delivery model, putting more money right into your pocket for every order you deliver. This makes delivery not only a more profitable choice for your business but also an affordable and convenient option for your customers to have a special meal delivered directly to their doorstep.

Multiple Payment Options 

To make things as convenient as possible for your customers, accept all major credit cards, along with handy options like Apple Pay and Google Pay through the app. Give your diners the freedom to settle their orders in a way that suits them best.  It's all about making it as convenient as possible for your customers to enjoy their holiday meals.

Simplifying Operations

Simplifying operations during the busy Thanksgiving season will help your QSR thrive. With advanced planning and the right tools, you can ensure a smooth experience for both staff and customers.

Trim Down Your Menu

When it comes to your menu, less can definitely be more. Focus on customer favorites and dishes that are easy to whip up in larger quantities. Think turkey, stuffing, and pumpkin pie – the classics that showcase Thanksgiving. This not only makes preparation a breeze but also gives your customers that taste of the holidays. Digital recordkeeping systems through Square POS can be your sidekick in keeping things organized, from inventory to schedules and beyond.

Prep Ingredients in Advance

Do as much prep work as possible ahead of time. Make pie crusts, dough, sauces, and stuffing in large batches. Wash and chop vegetables. Cook turkey, ham, and other proteins. Having components ready to assemble will save valuable time on the big day.

Cross-Train Staff

Make sure all staff are comfortable performing essential tasks, not just their typical roles. Have cashiers help pack take-out orders. The more flexibility and backup you have, the less likely you'll feel overwhelmed. 

Sell Gift Cards on Your Mobile App

One of the best ways to boost revenue this Thanksgiving is to sell gift cards through your mobile app. Per Diem’s mobile app allows you to easily offer customized eGift Cards that customers can buy and send directly through the app.

Promote your eGift Cards ahead of the holidays

In the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, promote your holiday themed eGift Cards on social media, in email newsletters, and with in-app messages. Let customers know they can purchase cards within the app to give as gifts or use themselves for dining over the holidays. Offer a bonus, like $5 off a $25 card, to incentivize people to buy.

Make eGift Cards easy to buy and send

Within your app, customers select the denomination they want, enter the recipient’s name and email, add a personal message, and complete their purchase. The recipient instantly receives the eGift Card details via email to use when they place an order or choose to take-out. Streamlining the buying and gifting process will lead to more sales.

Offer bonus cards or rewards with purchase

To sweeten the deal, consider providing a bonus eGift Card or loyalty points when customers buy a certain amount in eGift Cards, such as $10 extra with a $50 card purchase. Double the incentive for people to give the gift of your restaurant this season. With the right promotion, eGift Card sales through your mobile app can be a huge source of revenue during your busiest time of year.

Final Thoughts 

With these five sure-fire strategies, your Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) is on track to have its most spectacular Thanksgiving yet. By focusing on a well-planned menu, effective marketing, offering gift cards, enhancing take-out convenience, and using the power of your mobile app to simplify operations, you're all set for a successful holiday season. Your customers will savor the extra care you put into making them feel like VIPs. As the busiest time of the year approaches, finding ways to streamline your processes and strengthen connections with your customers has never been more crucial. This Thanksgiving, create memorable moments that will linger long after the leftovers are gone. Your dedication will come full circle when you sit down to enjoy your own holiday meal, surrounded by the people who contribute to your business's success.

TLDR

You want this Thanksgiving to be your restaurant’s best yet. The holiday season can be chaotic for QSR and casual dining spots, with extra customers and complex menus. But fear not, with some smart planning and a positive outlook, you can turn this Thanksgiving into a delightful experience for both your team and diners. Focus on simplifying operations,  streamlining takeaway and delivery, and harnessing technology to promote your holiday offerings. By preparing in advance, you'll be all set to enjoy the holidays right alongside your satisfied customers. This Thanksgiving, with the right strategies and Square POS within your app, success and memorable moments are within reach for your restaurant.

Plan an Irresistible Thanksgiving Menu

To make this Thanksgiving one for the books, start with an irresistible menu. Offer classics with a twist, like:

Turkey Day Sandwiches

For something casual yet memorable, feature Thanksgiving-inspired sandwiches, with options like roasted turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce on ciabatta or pumpkin bisque and Gruyere grilled cheese.

Fall Harvest Salads

Nutritious, delicious salads are perfect for your health-conscious customers. Incorporate seasonal produce like pears, persimmons, pomegranates and pumpkin seeds. A maple vinaigrette or pomegranate molasses dressing adds autumnal flair.

Decadent Desserts

Sweeten the deal on a sweet note with house-made desserts showcasing fall flavors. Think spiced apple crisp, bourbon pecan pie, cranberry orange bread pudding or pumpkin cheesecake.

Creating a warm and inviting atmosphere is a must for quick-service restaurants aiming to make this Thanksgiving special. Set the mood with soft, comforting holiday tunes, and decorate your space with autumn-inspired decor. Your staff's friendly and attentive approach at the counters will be the finishing touch that leaves a lasting impression. It's all about crafting a memorable experience that will have diners coming back for more.

Market Your Thanksgiving Specials

Promoting your Thanksgiving offerings is key to attracting customers during this busy season. Use social media and email marketing to spread the word about your specials and make it easy for people to order.

Promote Through Social Media 

Promote your Thanksgiving menu through social media and email marketing leading up to the big day. Post photos of your delicious dishes on Facebook and Instagram using hashtags like #HappyThanksgiving and #ThanksgivingDinner to increase visibility. Send an email newsletter highlighting your holiday specials and any seasonal drinks or baked goods. Offering special discounts or promotions, like 20% off all pies or turkey dinners, will entice new and returning customers to dine with you.

Streamline Orders Through Pre-Ordering

Allowing customers to pre-order and pre-pay for their Thanksgiving meals through your Per Diem app makes the process seamless for them and gives you more time to prepare. Promote pre-ordering on your website and social media. Create a buzz by offering incentives like a free appetizer or dessert for anyone who pre-orders from the app. Provide clear deadlines for pre-orders and payment to allow enough time for your staff to prepare the extra volume of food.

This technique will not only provide you an estimate of how much food you’ll need to prepare but also prevent overbuying or running out of popular items.

Boost Gift Cards Sale

Using Per Diem, you can create Thanksgiving-themed gift cards for customers to purchase as gifts for friends and family or as a way to prepay for their own meal. Per Diem allows you to easily sell digital and physical gift cards on your website, through the mobile app and in-store. On Thanksgiving Day, make the most of the traffic coming into your restaurant by having gift cards available for purchase. 

With some advance planning and strategic marketing, you'll make this Thanksgiving the most successful yet for your QSR. 

In-House Marketing

Don’t forget about marketing within your own space. Use your menu boards, digital displays, and table tents to highlight your Thanksgiving offerings. Offer small samples if possible so customers can taste for themselves how delicious everything is.

Offer Stress-Free Takeout and Delivery

Make this Thanksgiving a breeze for your customers and a boon for your quick-service restaurant by offering seamless takeout and delivery options.

Offer Hassle-Free Online Ordering

Through your Per Diem app, customers can place orders for pickup or delivery anytime from anywhere using their mobile device. Promote online ordering on your website, social media, and in-store to capture more Thanksgiving meal orders. With Per Diem's integration with Square POS, you'll receive the orders instantly so you can get a head start on preparation.

Streamline the Takeout Experience

Designate a separate pickup area, have orders packaged with zero errors with your digital tickets and ready to grab and go, and consider offering curbside pickup for added convenience. Make the pickup process quick and easy so customers can get in and out fast.

Provide Delivery for Extra Convenience

With Per Diem's seamless Square POS integration in your mobile app, you get to enjoy a commission-free delivery model, putting more money right into your pocket for every order you deliver. This makes delivery not only a more profitable choice for your business but also an affordable and convenient option for your customers to have a special meal delivered directly to their doorstep.

Multiple Payment Options 

To make things as convenient as possible for your customers, accept all major credit cards, along with handy options like Apple Pay and Google Pay through the app. Give your diners the freedom to settle their orders in a way that suits them best.  It's all about making it as convenient as possible for your customers to enjoy their holiday meals.

Simplifying Operations

Simplifying operations during the busy Thanksgiving season will help your QSR thrive. With advanced planning and the right tools, you can ensure a smooth experience for both staff and customers.

Trim Down Your Menu

When it comes to your menu, less can definitely be more. Focus on customer favorites and dishes that are easy to whip up in larger quantities. Think turkey, stuffing, and pumpkin pie – the classics that showcase Thanksgiving. This not only makes preparation a breeze but also gives your customers that taste of the holidays. Digital recordkeeping systems through Square POS can be your sidekick in keeping things organized, from inventory to schedules and beyond.

Prep Ingredients in Advance

Do as much prep work as possible ahead of time. Make pie crusts, dough, sauces, and stuffing in large batches. Wash and chop vegetables. Cook turkey, ham, and other proteins. Having components ready to assemble will save valuable time on the big day.

Cross-Train Staff

Make sure all staff are comfortable performing essential tasks, not just their typical roles. Have cashiers help pack take-out orders. The more flexibility and backup you have, the less likely you'll feel overwhelmed. 

Sell Gift Cards on Your Mobile App

One of the best ways to boost revenue this Thanksgiving is to sell gift cards through your mobile app. Per Diem’s mobile app allows you to easily offer customized eGift Cards that customers can buy and send directly through the app.

Promote your eGift Cards ahead of the holidays

In the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, promote your holiday themed eGift Cards on social media, in email newsletters, and with in-app messages. Let customers know they can purchase cards within the app to give as gifts or use themselves for dining over the holidays. Offer a bonus, like $5 off a $25 card, to incentivize people to buy.

Make eGift Cards easy to buy and send

Within your app, customers select the denomination they want, enter the recipient’s name and email, add a personal message, and complete their purchase. The recipient instantly receives the eGift Card details via email to use when they place an order or choose to take-out. Streamlining the buying and gifting process will lead to more sales.

Offer bonus cards or rewards with purchase

To sweeten the deal, consider providing a bonus eGift Card or loyalty points when customers buy a certain amount in eGift Cards, such as $10 extra with a $50 card purchase. Double the incentive for people to give the gift of your restaurant this season. With the right promotion, eGift Card sales through your mobile app can be a huge source of revenue during your busiest time of year.

Final Thoughts 

With these five sure-fire strategies, your Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) is on track to have its most spectacular Thanksgiving yet. By focusing on a well-planned menu, effective marketing, offering gift cards, enhancing take-out convenience, and using the power of your mobile app to simplify operations, you're all set for a successful holiday season. Your customers will savor the extra care you put into making them feel like VIPs. As the busiest time of the year approaches, finding ways to streamline your processes and strengthen connections with your customers has never been more crucial. This Thanksgiving, create memorable moments that will linger long after the leftovers are gone. Your dedication will come full circle when you sit down to enjoy your own holiday meal, surrounded by the people who contribute to your business's success.

Doron Segal
Doron Segal

Hey I'm Doron, the co-founder & CTO of Per Diem — a mobile app platform for restaurants. I'm also a dad and a husband. I love to travel and meet new people.I love creating things, and see people using the stuff I built.Prior to Per Diem I worked at Saildrone, OpenTable, Apple, Beats Music, Siemens.

Tomer Molovinsky
Tomer Molovinsky

A second time founder with a passion for building products at the intersection of hospitality and technology. I've had the pleasure of launching reservation systems, mobile payment solutions, and loyalty programs at OpenTable and Resy, and witnessed how operators were losing a direct connection with their customers online. We built Per Diem to strengthen the relationships that businesses have with those customers, and to ensure that local businesses can thrive in today's economy.

Ashley Rodriguez
Ashley Rodriguez

Ashley is a freelance writer and podcast producer based in Madison, Wisconsin. She hosts a podcast called Boss Barista and writes an accompanying newsletter with full transcripts of each episode and articles about coffee and restaurant work. You can check out her work here (ashleyrodriguez.work/).

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