Canadian Pizza Magazine

Making Dough with Diane: Six quick and easy promotion ideas for the holidays

Diane Chiasson   

Features Business and Operations Marketing

Trying out new and original promotion ideas is always a good idea to help grow your pizzeria business

December is a month packed with celebrations. It’s a busy time for big businesses and one that could benefit your pizzeria as long as you make the proper preparations. Trying out new and original promotion ideas is always a good idea to help grow your pizzeria business. 

1. Grow digital marketing
It is very important for independent pizza operators to increase your digital marketing. Being found online is the most important thing when trying to attract new customers to your pizzeria. Spend time attracting new customers through your online presence so that customers can easily find your pizzeria to place their online orders.

You also need to continue engaging with your existing customers through your social media platforms as well as via emails and mobile devices so that your pizzeria is always on their mind. It is important that you convert your online visitors to guests and drive repeat business through loyalty rewards. Social media platforms provide a great way to engage and stay on top of mind.

2. Create unique specials
This time of year, even your Christmas pizzeria menu should look unique. Most restaurants offer traditional Christmas food items, and while this is good, it’s not enough. To draw customers in, you have to create a to-die-for holiday-themed menu that includes both traditional dishes and other options for your customers for whom Christmas is just another day of the year. To draw old and new customers to your restaurant, create a unique Christmas-themed pizza, Christmas puddings, sausage, cranberry and chestnut rolls, egg and ham breakfast sandwiches, cranberry-apple gravy, and sour cream and cheddar baked mashed potatoes. Cater to everyone’s needs by including vegetarian and gluten-free dishes. Consider preparing virgin Christmas-themed drinks as well as unique coffee and hot chocolate drinks.

3. Make festive Christmas pizza specials
Try to attract the most non-traditional of customers by preparing unique and creative Christmas specials. The festive season is traditionally a time of higher spending. So, consider emphasizing that your pizzas are prepared with a personal touch and a bit of history, which may strike a chord with customers seeking traditional items. How about a pizza wreath? Prepare some colourful pizzas dressed with red and green trimmings and shaped as a wreath. Use a 4 ½-inch circle cookie cutter to make a circle out of the middle of the dough. Then add some arugula or spinach and diced red and green peppers or sun-dried tomatoes, sprinkle with a little mozzarella cheese and then add pepperoni slices. While the pizza is baking, cut slices of red pepper in strips and arrange them in the shape of a bow. 

What about a special seasoned roasted turkey dinner pizza with stuffing, pork sausage, homemade gravy and cranberry sauce? Have you ever thought of baking a honey-glazed ham with pineapple pizza? If younger customers come into your pizzeria and see something unusual, they will post anything special on social media. 

4. Consider promoting and selling unbaked items
Many families look for meaningful activities to enjoy at home during the holidays. Bring out innovative unbaked pizza items, and it will be a sure thing to attract customers. For instance, you could prepare some pizza pie dough that customers could bring home to make. Children love to do the mixing, rolling and cutting of dough. It will also allow your customers to put the finishing touches of their choice, so it becomes their own creation. Put a big sign in your window saying, “We make, you bake.” 

5. Offer deals and gift cards
Take advantage of the 12 Days of Christmas ideas to offer customers who come into your pizzeria deals and gift cards. You could offer discounts on specific items or free drinks or desserts. Gift cards will be all the rage this holiday season, both online and offline. Because almost 90 per cent of cards are redeemed in the first 60 days after they are received, selling them at your pizzeria during the holidays will give your business a nice boost in sales in January and February. Place your gift card display and signage next to the register to maximize sales. And train your employees to upsell these cards. Make sure your gift cards are in a prominent place on your website and add these gift cards as an item in your e-commerce inventory.

6. Decorate!
There are several things you can do to make your pizzeria feel cozy, special and decorative. How about tying large red or green ribbons (or both) to chair backs, plants, wreaths, basket handles, gift boxes and doorknobs? You can easily get inexpensive ribbons at dollar stores and discount shops. You could also consider metallic silver or gold. You could also make your own bows using wire, and once done, attach them to many objects, furniture, display cases or wall units. Bring out any presentation plates, dishes, bowls and mugs that fit the holiday theme. Many discount and dollar stores carry fun winter designs that are not so common.

Diane Chiasson, FCSI, president of Chiasson Consultants Inc., has been helping foodservice, hospitality and retail operators increase sales for over 35 years by providing innovative and revenue-increasing food service and retail merchandising programs, interior design, branding, menu engineering, marketing and promotional campaigns. Contact her at 416-926-1338, or, or visit

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