Festive Chinese New Year Marketing Tips to Attract Customers!

How to market and get more customers for Chinese New Year


Chinese New Year – When is It?

Chinese New Year (also called Lunar New Year and Spring Festival) is prevalent in many Asian countries, though it is also becoming a popular holiday to celebrate in other global locations with large Asian communities. Taking place between January 21st and February 20th, the exact date is different each year since the festival is based on the Chinese Lunar Calendar. The dates of this calendar follow the cycles of the sun and moon, which means that it is usually around 21-51 days behind the internationally-used Gregorian Calendar. 


How Do People Celebrate? – 5 Chinese New Year Traditions

1. Red Décor, Fireworks and Dragon Dances

If you’ve ever experienced a Chinese New Year celebration before, you’ll be familiar with the color red. This color is considered auspicious (along with gold) as a harbinger of good fortune and prosperity. Red is believed to ward off evil spirits and even features heavily in an ancient folktale where an evil dragon, named Nian, was thwarted by the color red and his fear of fire! This is why you’ll see re-enactments of this folktale in the form of lion (or dragon) dances with plenty of fireworks thrown in for good measure!


2. Paying Respect to Ancestors 

Honoring previous generations of family members is a common practice during Chinese New Year. Many people visit graves and make food offerings to past loves ones. Grave cleaning is also regularly performed during Chinese New Year as a form of respect.


3. Laisee, Hongbao and Red Packets

Laisee, Hongbao and red packets have different names, but are one and the same. They are essentially red envelopes that contain money inside. It is common practice for married people to hand out these envelopes to younger family members and friends as a sort of auspicious gift to usher in the new year! 


4. Family Gatherings

Chinese New Year is the most important time of the year for families to come together and spend time with one another. In places like China, where many young people head into the cities to find work, Chinese New Year is the one time of year they can travel home to visit their loved ones. This is why during Chinese New Year, the largest human migration in the world takes place every year, as people travel from all over the country to head home. 


5. Feasts and Food

This is likely the most important tradition as far as restaurants are concerned. Given this emphasis on gathering with families and enjoying good food, this is also one of the best times for restaurants to be as welcoming and hospitable as possible. You should also offer delivery and pickup options if you think it'll be tough for people to visit your restaurant physically.

Let’s go over some of the key food items people enjoy on Chinese New Year:

1. Whole steamed fish – which is thought to be lucky and brings in prosperity.

2. Spring rolls – these represent wealth because of their golden color

3. Dumplings – these also represent wealth because of the 'treasures' inside

4. Niangao – A new year cake with a name that features a pun meaning 'higher income' or 'higher job position'

5. Longevity Noodles – long noodles represent a long life!

Make sure that your POS and menu are updated with any new items you add for Chinese New Year!


5 Best Ways to Market Your Restaurant During Chinese New Year

Now that we’ve finished exploring some of the common traditions surrounding Chinese New Year, let’s take a look at how you can make your restaurant stand out from the competition and bring in families to enjoy an awesome new year feast! These are a few Chinese New Year marketing tactics that are sure to help your restaurant seem like the best option.


1. Family-Based Ads and Social Media Posts

While it’s great to create ads that wish everyone a happy Chinese New Year, you can really tug at the heartstrings by evoking feelings of togetherness and familial bonds. If you’re able to put out ads or social media posts showing how eating at your restaurant can bring families together, or how Chinese New Year is a time where people reconnect over great food, you’re definitely onto a winning recipe!


2. Discounts and Special Promotions

What better way to usher in the new year than with a great meal at a great price? If you can highlight that your restaurant serves amazing food, but is also willing to provide it at an awesome price, you’ll be certain to attract families looking to spend the new year together. 


3. Feast Menu

We went over some of the typical favorite foods that people consume during Chinese New Year. Even if you aren’t able to serve those specific food items, making your menu festive and in spirit with Lunar New Year will endear people to your restaurant. It’s all about effort, and if you show that you’re trying to make your menu as authentic as possible, people will appreciate that and reward you with their patronage.


4. Décor

If you really want to get serious about attracting customers during Chinese New Year, you should be ready and willing to decorate your restaurant appropriately. Reds and golds are a must in terms of colors, while having red packets, lanterns, door couplets, kumquat plants, paper cuttings and more can really help your restaurant look the part.


5. User Content

One of the biggest benefits for restaurants when it comes to Chinese New Year, is that it lasts for multiple days. During this period of time, incentivise customers to publish positive reviews, share photos and post on your socials to drum up enthusiasm and paint a positive online image of your restaurant. Building an online presence will help attract even more customers to come and spend Chinese New Year with you. You can even offer customers freebies to incentivise them to post something positive.


New Year, New Opportunities!

With Chinese New Year right around the corner, you should already start making preparations to get your restaurant ready to welcome families looking for an amazing feast! Make sure to get your restaurant looking festive and begin prepping for seasonal menu items. Finally, start marketing now so that you’ll be ready to capitalize on the positive momentum you’ve generated by the time Chinese New year rolls around. 


Kung Hei Fat Choi!

Gong Xi Fa Cai