Marketing

12 New Year’s Eve Restaurant Marketing Ideas to Ring in 2024

By Katherine Pendrill

Woman wearing a sparkly dress and holding an alcoholic beverage and sparkler in her hands.

There’s an electric energy in the air on New Year’s Eve. It’s a time of change and exciting possibilities – and it’s the perfect occasion to celebrate with your guests! But when it comes to drumming up New Year’s Eve restaurant promotions and marketing ideas, you might not always feel inspired. That’s where we come in.

In this article, we’ll explore why running New Year’s restaurant specials is a smart strategy for your business. We’ll also serve up 12 New Year’s promotion ideas so all you have to do is put them into action. Get the champagne glasses ready!

Why Should Restaurants Stay Open on New Year’s Eve?

We get it – competition is fierce on New Year’s Eve. People have a wide range of options, from black tie events to outdoor concerts with fireworks to house parties, or even staying in and getting cozy on the couch. However, it’s still well worth your time to open up your restaurant or bar, or extend your hours for this one night. Here’s why.

Boost Your Sales

On New Year’s Eve, bars and restaurants have a chance to earn extra cash. Guests are in a celebratory mood and they’re likely to spend more than they would on a typical night out, so it’s a wise move to give them the chance. 

Not to mention, New Year’s marks the end of the busy holiday season, with January right on its heels. This is usually a slow month for restaurants, as people are trying to stick to their New Year’s resolution ideas and splurging less. Don’t opt out of boosting your sales while you have the opportunity!

Impress New Customers and Regulars

According to 2023 insights from food and beverage AI platform Tastewise, “social conversations about New Year’s Eve have increased by 48.2% over the past year.” This is even more reason for your restaurant to give people a roaring NYE restaurant party to attend. You just might win over some regulars from neighboring venues that have shut down for the day.

Staying open is also an excellent way to show some love to your most loyal regulars, ensuring your restaurant will remain their go-to spot next year. 

Beyond these reasons, New Year’s Eve restaurant festivities are also a ton of fun for your staff to partake in. They’ll likely appreciate a chance to celebrate after all the hard work they’ve put in this year.

Group of friends drinking at a table at a restaurant together.

12 New Year’s Eve Restaurant and Bar Promotion Ideas

If staying open on NYE is sounding like a lucrative opportunity, have some fun with it by trying out these restaurant New Year’s Eve ideas. You can even get your team involved and see which ones they think will draw the biggest crowd to your venue.

1. Serve Up a Tasting Menu

Exploring New Year’s promotion ideas gives you the flexibility to depart from your traditional menu. Since most diners plan to stay up late anyway on NYE, you could try extending your service hours and offering an extra-long tasting menu. This is the perfect time to dish out a five, eight, or even 10-course meal and let guests celebrate all night long at your restaurant.

Looking for some inspiration? Italian-Asian fusion restaurant Lana Dining in Sydney, Australia offered a ’gram-worthy New Year’s Eve restaurant tasting menu that made an appearance on this food blogger’s Instagram feed. Pacific oysters and coral trout were among the highlights.

She wrote, “If they can deliver to this standard on a busy NYE seating, I’m sure their normal day to day offering is just as, if not more, fantastic.” Wouldn’t you love this kind of praise from your diners? Here’s your chance to wow them with your own NYE restaurant menu.

2. Offer Catering

If you don’t want to keep your venue open on New Year’s Eve, you could offer catering for other events to capitalize on the holiday revenue-boosting opportunity. Corporate NYE bashes, private house parties, and celebrations at event venues without food service are all prime candidates for catering, whether you’re serving finger food or a multi-course dinner.

Of course, restaurant New Year’s Eve ideas require advance planning, so be sure to get the word out about your availability for catering well ahead of time to ensure you land a great gig.

3. Throw a Fancy Party

On New Year’s Eve, bars and restaurants have ample freedom to get fancy. But you don’t need to be a fine dining venue to throw a slick black tie event! If you have ample space, you could even try hosting a casino night, masquerade ball, murder mystery dinner, or prohibition gala (like the The Malcolm Hotel in Canmore, Canada).

Choosing a theme like this also gives you the opportunity to ramp up engagement on your social media channels. You could run an Instagram contest that involves each guest posting a photo of their attire for the evening, following and tagging your restaurant, then sharing the post to their stories. You’ll get exposure to a bigger audience, and the winner could be rewarded with a gift card for dinner at your restaurant.

4. Keep it Casually Creative

Just because you can get fancy on New Year’s Eve doesn’t mean you have to. If your restaurant or bar has a casual vibe regulars love and that you want to stay true to, go for it! You can still have an incredible party. 

Your bar might opt for a retro disco party and run a contest for the best ’70s hairstyle or costume. Those in warmer climates could also consider a patio party (bonus points if you have a view of your city’s fireworks!).

5. Host a Trivia Night

New Year’s Eve food deals and special menus aren’t the only ways to draw a crowd to your restaurant or bar on December 31st. Instead, encourage your guests’ competitive streak with a trivia night. Make the questions about the year that’s wrapping up – think major events or pop culture references from the past 12 months. Then, offer a sweet prize for the winning team, like a free bottle of bubbly to open at midnight!

The Brass Kraken Pub in Poulsbo, Washington even created special maritime-themed cocktails to celebrate its final trivia night of the year. This is also an opportunity to hype up your NYE event ahead of time by showcasing behind-the-scenes content on social media. Try giving your audience a peek at your bartenders’ cocktail brainstorming and taste testing process.

6. Prepare a Fondue Feast

What’s old is new again! This is true when it comes to both fashion and food, and it’s a creative way to look at your New Year’s restaurant specials. Fondue is a perfect example. Originating in Switzerland in the 18th Century, eating fondue was how families made the most of their food supply in the winter. In more recent years, fondue has been hailed as a timeless dish and a go-to for parties, especially during the holiday season.

Breweries can put their spin on classic cheese fondue by offering beer cheese fondue made with their best lager. Or, pubs and bars can serve up blue cheese fondue paired with Buffalo chicken wings. Don’t forget about chocolate fondue, either!

7. Rent Out Your Space

Remember those corporate New Year’s bashes we mentioned? These folks need somewhere to party! Instead of offering New Year’s Eve restaurant deals to the general public, you could allow customers to reserve your space for a private event.

Vancouver, British Columbia’s IRL Group did exactly that by offering up six of its restaurants, including Irish pubs and sports bars, for NYE bookings. IRL Group also created a video showcasing each venue and posted it on Instagram.

8. Host a Champagne Tasting

Champagne is synonymous with New Year’s Eve, so instead of hosting a wine tasting, your bar or restaurant could invite guests to a champagne tasting on the big night. You could make it an exclusive event for your loyalty program members (with the option to bring their own guests), or open it up to the public and get the bubbly flowing!

You’ll likely want at least four kinds of champagne for guests to sample, ranging from sweet to dry. For additional variety, try to source champagne from different regions. Champagne flutes are a must-have as well.

Be sure to get the ambiance right for the event – elegant black and gold decorations are an ideal choice for NYE – and make the evening interactive by including activities for your guests. The Sip Society suggests playing games like “guess the vintage” or “name that champagne.”

9. Extend Your Happy Hour

The night is long on New Year’s Eve, and with guests staying out later than usual, this is a great opportunity to offer New Year’s Eve restaurant deals like an extended happy hour. While you’re at it, your bartender could mix up a brand new cocktail in honor of the special occasion.

Take a page from San Francisco restaurant and cocktail bar Horsefeather and put your own spin on its NYE Magnolia Celebration cocktail, featuring vodka, aperol, Napa amaro, ginger honey, egg white, and butterfly pea flower powder.

10. Celebrate Your Community

Show some love for all things local. One way you can do this is by offering New Year’s Eve food deals like a special farm-to-table dinner with 100% locally sourced ingredients. This will also give you a chance to team up with other businesses to spread the word about the event.

Hiring a local band to play live music is another way to celebrate your community and keep the party bumpin’ on NYE. Your guests will appreciate the community-oriented vibe. You could even team up with a local non-profit to turn the evening into a way to give back.

11. Throw a Food Truck Party

We know that “on four wheels” is the way some restaurants roll (pun intended), so we wanted to include an idea for food trucks. If weather permits and you’re able to secure the appropriate permits, team up with a few other food truck operators and throw a New Year’s Eve outdoor party, complete with street food, firepits, and fireworks. Bonus points if it’s near an ice skating surface where people can work up an appetite!

Working together to give your customers a taste of diverse dishes is exactly the kind of spirit worth bringing into the New Year.

12. Offer a Hangover Brunch

No list of New Year’s promotion ideas would be complete without acknowledging that some folks won’t be in tip-top shape on New Year’s Day, if you catch our drift. With that in mind, you could offer some relief to NYE party-goers by serving up a hangover brunch.

Instagram foodie @mariaishungryagain stopped by San Diego’s Snooze Eatery for eggs Benedict, a bacon flight (yes, you read that right!), and more on New Year’s Day. When it comes to this idea, comfort food is the key to happy diners.

You now have 12 creative New Year’s Eve restaurant marketing ideas to make your venue the place to be when the clock strikes midnight. Which ones will you test this year? We’d love to hear about it on social media @touch_bistro!

Photo of Katherine Pendrill
by Katherine Pendrill

Katherine is the Content Marketing Manager at TouchBistro, where she writes about trending topics in food and restaurants. The opposite of a picky eater, she’ll try (almost) anything at least once. Whether it’s chowing down on camel burgers in Morocco or snacking on octopus dumplings in Japan, she’s always up for new food experiences.

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