After the austerity and hibernation of the first couple months of the year, the spring season brings ample opportunities to fill tables and reach new customers. Preparing for major events and holidays, like Easter weekend, can help save your restaurant from chaos and make the most out of a holiday synonymous with the brunch rush. Whether you're serving the post-church crowd, or serving as the backdrop for a family tradition, delight guests with these easter promotion ideas. Easter bunny costume totally optional.

1. Host an Easter egg hunt

There's no better way to celebrate Easter than by hosting an easter egg hunt for the kids. Easter is a big day for family gatherings, meaning more younger guests—who might need a little more entertainment than the typical restaurant-goer. Luckily, all it takes is a few strategically placed chocolate eggs or paper egg cut-outs.

Advertise your egg hunt ahead of time through social media and email marketing, as well as in your restaurant's entryway so diners know to look out for pastel-colored surprises. Hide your chocolate, plastic, or toy-filled easter eggs around the dining room. Think beneath tables, behind curtains, underneath chairs.

You don't want your smaller guests getting in the way of operations or taking their egg hunts into the knife-laden kitchen, so make sure to isolate the egg hunt to certain areas. You might need to re-up the supply in between seatings, so delegate easter egg hunt duties to your host or add it to your servers' sidework duties.

multicolored egg hunt decor on white wooden fence
Just don't forget where you hid the eggs. Photo by Frank Zhang / Unsplash

2. Offer a prix fixe brunch menu

Brunch is often the highlight of Easter weekend, giving people a chance to reconnect with the entire family and indulge in their favorite seasonal foods. For restaurant operators, it's the perfect opportunity for a prix fixe menu.

An easter menu can help your kitchen and servers manage the increased traffic and help you maximize profits during a busy shift. The set menu might be multiple courses with different options, family-style dishes to feed big groups or a designated Easter brunch menu where guests can choose their items and select add-ons a la carte.

However you develop your set menu, consider past sales and profits with a menu engineering worksheet. This can help ensure your Easter menu is profitable but still accessible for your guests. It depends on your concept, but a family crowd might be more price-sensitive than other potential customers. Don't forget to create an Easter kid's menu as well because they can't survive on easter candy alone.

Looking for some inspiration? Blue Canyon Restaurant in Twinsburg, Ohio offers an Easter set menu with items like carrot cake waffles, eggs benedict and avocado toast made to order, alongside a buffet with items like Moroccan lamb meatballs and creamy lemon orzo. 

3. Decorate your business for Easter

What makes a restaurant an Easter restaurant? It might feel like you just put the tinsel and candles from the winter holidays in storage, but putting up some Easter-themed decor can help make Easter brunch a memorable event for your guests. You can raid the party store, ask your servers to wear bunny ears, or add a more subtle Easter holiday touch with florals and pastel-colored linens.

Seasonal decorations show your guests that you're invested in their experience. But they can also generate excitement on social media and create buzz about your restaurant. Invite guests to post on their social media pages with a social media contest. You could add a photo booth or encourage guests to post their Easter-themed cocktails and bunny-shaped cookies.

Be sure to repost their photos on your restaurant's social media sites. User-generated content, as it is called, is a key part of restaurant marketing. Guest content can be a huge source of marketing ideas to help you stay top of mind beyond Easter Sunday.

white and red ceramic teacup on saucer
Easter decorations can make a regular teacup Instagram-worthy. Photo by Rosa Rafael / Unsplash

4. Easter activities for the kids (and adults)

The exciting easter menu and special promotions are enticing for many, but your youngest guests might need a little more convincing. To create an Easter event, not just another kid-sized portion of scrambled eggs, equip your restaurant with activities to keep the kids engaged. That means coloring pages, tableside games, and backup phone chargers (because a little Easter weekend screen time never hurt anybody).

You can take your easter activities a step further with something more hands-on. Stock up on pastel-colored icing for some Easter cookie decorating. Host an easter bunny, face painter, or animal balloon artist. And who said Easter promotion ideas were only for guests under 10? Live music, egg decorating, Easter bingo, and pin the tail on the bunny are a few ideas for the whole family. Plus, pinning the tail on the bunny gets more challenging after an Easter cocktail or two.

With younger children at the table, dining can sometimes be a race against the clock. Alongside plentiful activities, giving your guests the option to order before they're seated can be huge for profits and peace of mind. Particularly if you're expecting walk-ins, faster ordering will help you manage your waitlist and turn tables faster. Keeping your walk-in guests happy is a must, whether or not you accept reservations. A restaurant waitlist management tool can help you supply accurate wait times. Some complimentary tea and coffee never hurt, either. 

5. Offer an Easter buffet

Buffets are some of the most popular Easter restaurant specials. It's great for large-group dining and helps get hangry children fed as soon as possible. Buffet dining can help you save on labor costs but requires planning to keep food costs in check. They're not the right fit for every concept. A fine dining restaurant, for example, isn't likely to offer a self-serve buffet. But for many full-service restaurants, they're a tried and true idea.

Along with crowd favorites from your regular menu, include classic Easter dishes like glazed ham, french toast, quiche, and carrot cake. Incorporating traditional Easter foods from across the world, like Polish lamb cake, Italian pizzelle, English hot cross buns, and Greek Tsoureki paschalino can inspire creativity in the kitchen. Whatever you go for, make sure you've ordered enough eggs.

6. Give away Easter baskets

Holidays are an opportunity to make the dining experience extra special for your guests. Hospitality takes no days off, but small holiday-themed gestures can go a long way toward guest retention and swaying potential customers on social media.

Putting together small easter baskets, giving away bunny stuffed animals to the kids, even encouraging guests to take home floral centerpieces at the end of the brunch shift—these are all gestures that will make your restaurant stickier than the maple syrup, whipped cream, and powdered sugar topped french toast.

assorted color plastic toys in brown woven basket
Easter baskets can keep kids busy and parents happy. Photo by Alan Rodriguez / Unsplash

7. Host a three-course Easter dinner

Among Easter restaurant promotions, brunch gets all the air time. But late lunch and early dinner is also a popular dining time for church-going and secular customers alike. Offer a celebratory Easter dinner with a special menu featuring roast beef or roasted turkey, a few salads, potato wedges, and homemade condiments.

Easter also means the beginning of Spring and magnificent seasonal produce. Incorporating early Spring produce items, like asparagus and peas, can give your menu a refresh after a long winter. Use your digital marketing channels, like social media and email, to spread the word and encourage guests to make reservations on your online reservation system.

A three-course dinner, if you have already extended your Sunday brunch shift, can be a big ask from your team. Make sure you can staff appropriately and don't bite off too much more than you can chew. It's great to take advantage of holiday traffic and Easter promotions, but not when it comes to the detriment of your hard-working staff.

8. Hide eggs with special deals

Beyond the easter specials on your menu, offering discounts or perks like "kids get a free meal" can entice diners on the fence. Incorporate discounts into your Easter marketing ideas by sharing them with your most loyal guests ahead of time. But you can also use discounts to delight walk-in diners and make the experience special.

Hide eggs with discounts hidden inside for a variation on the easter egg hunt, one in which adults are the big winners. These can be perks for their current meal or promotions they can use in the future. Offering prizes like 10% off, free dessert, or even a bottle of the custom house blend olive oil can make guests feel like big winners.

9. Get your restaurant's easter celebration hopping with marketing

You've developed the Easter restaurant promotions that are going to make the holiday special. The next task is sharing them with potential guests to increase bookings and foot traffic on Easter Sunday. Share your Easter menu ahead of time, post a link to your online reservation system, and encourage guests to book sooner rather than later. Urgency moves people—let that inform your marketing ideas.

If your business is active on social media, it's great to acknowledge the holiday and wish your followers a happy (or hoppy) easter. Bonus points if you post your restaurant's Easter-themed sugar cookies or another menu item that will win over guests.

You can get inspiration for your Easter marketing ideas from the many Easter-themed puns: wish your guests a hoppy easter alongside a picture of your new craft beer selection or an egg-select one with a photo of your breakfast quiche.

assorted cookies
Easter-themed sugar cookies are a treat for the eyes and the stomach. Photo by Jennifer Burk / Unsplash

10. Create a family meal kit

Many guests prefer to celebrate Easter at home. Families with small kids and older family members, as well as those who would rather decompress at home after a busy week, are good candidates for meal kits. After all, nobody wants to be scrubbing pots and pans, Easter or not.

Let your guests take the Easter restaurant experience home with family-style meal kits. These can either come fully prepared and ready to eat or require some light assembly and heating in the oven. Include these options on your online ordering page if you accept orders online.

It's not a regular brunch. It's an Easter brunch.

While Easter is a holiday with particular religious significance, you can always pick and choose the symbols and traditions that make sense for your restaurant. Celebrate the imminence of Spring, time spent with family, and traditional Easter foods that evoke fond memories for many guests.

Easter is a great time to bring in foot traffic and create a buzz around your restaurant. Just don't forget where you hid those chocolate eggs.

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