In this article, we’ll talk about some of the ways you can adapt to the season and serve the needs of your guests during the slowdown that many restaurants feel during the fall and winter months.
Attract Holiday Shoppers to Improve Sales
If your restaurant is near retail stores or in a mall, you can help hungry shoppers by offering quick bites and seasonal snacks. Consider cross-promoting with local shops by offering their customers a discount or free a holiday-themed treat.
Consider opening your dining area during different hours to match nearby stores and modify your menu to serve the mass of shoppers during the black Friday rush. Make it a special event and be sure to promote it ahead of time!
Even if you’re not located in a retail location, after a day of intense shopping, people are very conscious about their light pocketbooks. Consider offering special items that you can price very affordable or provide a “shoppers’ discount” to lure folks in.
Host Holiday Groups to Increase Sales
The holidays are time for friends and family to gather. Consider promoting your restaurant as a gathering place. Sell your guests on the advantages, remind them that instead of cooking a big holiday meal themselves, they can relax in your restaurant and you’ll take care of all the work for them. Switch to a “family style” dinner service that you can prepare ahead of the party. This will help take pressure off the kitchen when serving a large group. Holiday events are an opportunity for catering as well, even if you don’t cater year-round, you might want to start promoting holiday catering from October to December!
Friends and family are only half the equation, most offices will have some sort of holiday celebration dinner planned, if not more than one. If you can court the loyalty of an office by providing good food at a reasonable price, you may be their host of choice for many years to come! Distribute menus and promotional offers to local businesses, then follow up with some cold calls using leads generated from your monthly business-card drawing. Offer group-buy discounts to offices, not just for food, but gift cards as well. Many businesses these days use gift cards as a form of holiday bonus. $15-$20 gift cards purchased in bulk for a large office could warm up your winter nicely by helping you raise holiday sales.
Provide Comfort to the Cold and Hungry and Improve Winter Sales
Provide comfort to the cold and hungry and improve winter sales. When people brave the elements they become cold and hungry. They want something seasonal and satisfying to pick them up. Adapt your menu to the weather and offer hearty soups and stews, hot cider, Irish coffee, eggnog and pumpkin spice lattes. Brew hot apple cider in a crock pot and let the scent of the spices waft through the restaurant, exciting the senses of your guests.
The days are short during the fall and winter months and after dealing with work and weather, many people will be in the mood to simplify their meal plans by ordering takeout. Accommodate this need for people to avoid making food at home by adapting your takeout service accordingly. Provide quickly prepared value-priced items to your hungry take-out guests and consider the challenges presented by the weather. If people don’t want to get out of their cars, you can offer curbside delivery and have them pay online, or using your restaurant’s mobile iPad POS, you can process payments right at the car!
Holiday Promotions Can Help Raise Sales
Seasonal menu items and special holiday treats have already been mentioned, but embracing the spirit of the season should not be understated. Add touches of holiday flare to your decor, but do it in a way that stays true to your brand.
Using Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools, you can see what your customers order the most. Text them a code for a surprise holiday gift or something free from your menu, to entice them to come in! You could also create an extended holiday promotion that tracks your guest’s visits and rewards them for coming in at least once a week from October to December. Watch the weather and promote a buy-one-get-one hot cocoa or hot cider if they come in with a friend on the coldest days of the year.
The season of giving is an opportunity to place your restaurant as a gift worth giving. Gift cards are a wonderful promotional tool for bringing in new customers. Also it’s virtually guaranteed that any guest redeeming a gift card will spend more than the value of the card. With this in mind, don’t be afraid to offer package discounts to entice your customers to simplify their holiday giving by buying packs of gift cards for friends, family and coworkers.
The season of giving is an opportunity to place your restaurant as a gift worth giving. Gift cards are a wonderful promotional tool for bringing in new restaurant customers. Also, it’s virtually guaranteed that any guest redeeming a gift card will spend more than the value of the card. With this in mind, don’t be afraid to offer package discounts to entice your customers. Remind them that they can simplify their holiday giving by buying packs of gift cards for friends, family, and coworkers!