How Your Restaurant Can Make the Most Out of Small Business Saturday

Posted by Stephanie Hilliard on Sep 01, 2023

How Your Restaurant Can Make the Most Out of Small Business Saturday

With the holidays swiftly approaching, it’s the perfect time to start strategizing how your restaurant can make the most out of Small Business Saturday. 

Small Business Saturday is traditionally the Saturday after Thanksgiving and is meant to encourage customers to patronize local operations in their community. If your restaurant is a small business, it can be a great way to market your business as a key player and also be more visible to new customers.  

This Saturday has the potential to be a very busy day as most people are still sick of cooking from their Thanksgiving or their leftovers just aren’t doing it for them anymore. Make it easy for your community to come and support you this year in the holiday season by being ready with these strategies! 

Promote It on Social 

Looking to have an event? Creating special hours for this day? Offering unique menu items? All of the above should be promoted on your social media channels so customers know you’re planning something different than any other Saturday. Depending on what you plan on doing, it may even be worth it to run a few ads and get your page or event in front of more eyeballs.  

While you’re promoting your plans, it’s also a good time to more heavily showcase your staff since they are also members of the neighborhood. Showing your audience how much your business is intertwined with the community can drive more support, with this Small Business Saturday just being the start of new relationships! 

Streamline Your Offerings 

Are supply-chain issues running amuck on your menu? Commit to a menu with items that you know you will be able to offer or that have versatile ingredients. Not only will this be helpful for you as you are planning your food order, it will also give you time to communicate your plan of action to your back-of-house staff and wait staff so they can prepare as needed. Paring down your menu for this busy day can help get your team ready as well as give customers a good experience. 

Customers on this particular day most likely won’t be there for hours on end. But they can come in, enjoy, and leave in a timely manner. It’s likely you aren’t the only small business they plan on patronizing! 

Schedule Staff by Forecasting Traffic Patterns 

Not only is your menu important for giving customers a good experience, having enough staff too! With staffing challenges running rampant in the restaurant industry, it’s essential to make sure that you have these ideally busier days staffed appropriately.  

If you’re surrounded by shops opening earlier for Small Business Saturday, make sure you have staff available for these breakfast and brunch customers that want to take a beat from their early morning shopping. Likewise, if your block is more evening-focused in their plans for that day, having your dinner staff ready to go will be key. Focus on when you can predict the most traffic for your establishment and go from there; don’t be afraid to get into the mix yourself! 

Thank You is the Theme  

You don’t need to give away the farm with discounts on Small Business Saturday, but you should offer some sort of incentive for customers as a thank you for coming in! Offer a cocktail with dinner purchase, craft a little stocking stuffer with a bakery treat, or even host a merch giveaway. The goal of this day is to have customers come and support you but it never hurts to give them a little something as a token of appreciation since it is a mutually beneficial relationship.   

Make It Easy for Customers to Support You  

On the week of Small Business Saturday, your floor plan should be ready to go for new and loyal customers! Here’s a few ideas to make sure your restaurant is ready to go for the big day: 

  • Have clear signage posted with hours and any extra happenings that may be occurring! 
  • Update your paper menu, QR code/online menu, and takeout/delivery menu! 
  • Merchandize gift cards and any associated promotions at entry and exit points! 
  • Make sure your staff is ready to put their best foot forward! 

Having these touchpoints ready for incoming customers can help better prepare your restaurant for a busy day. You never know who will come in and become a regular, so it’s important to give each and every customer the best experience possible! 

Small Business Saturday is a great day of potential for restaurants to experience a surge in traffic, sales, and new clientele. Making the most out of this day can help your restaurant in the short and long run if you spend the time to plan for an extra successful Saturday! 

What else do you do to bring customers into your restaurant on Small Business Saturday? Let us know in the comments below! 

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