When the holidays roll around many restaurant owners feel the pinch of declining sales. The cold weather keeps people indoors and traditional family gatherings imply home cooked meals.
In this article, we’ll talk about some of the ways you can adapt your restaurant business to thrive despite the holiday season. You’ll find examples of how to serve the changes in diners' needs and preferences during the fall and winter months.
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Attract Holiday Shoppers To Improve Sales
As the countdown to Christmas drives people out of the comfort of their homes you can capitalize on the increased foot traffic near your restaurant.
If you’re located beside retail stores or in the mall you can help hungry shoppers by offering quick bites and seasonal snacks. Remind them to take a break from the rushing and don’t forget to eat!
Cross-promote with local retail shops by offering their customers a discount or a free holiday-themed treat for dropping in.
To capture the most foot traffic from shoppers at retail locations it may require opening the doors at different hours, to match nearby stores.
Modify your menu and hours to feed the masses of shoppers during the black Friday rush. You can make it a special event, building buzz on your social media feed 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 seasonal specials that you can price affordably to lure folks in.
Read More: 7 Proven Restaurant Sales Strategies
Host Holiday Gatherings to Increase Sales
The holidays are a time for friends, family and coworkers to come together. Consider promoting your restaurant as a holiday gathering place.
Sell guests on the advantage of holding their holiday get-togethers in your restaurant. Not everyone is a great home chef. And the burden of prepping and preparing a big meal can detract from the festivities. Instead, they can relax in the restaurant and you’ll take care of all the work for them. They can focus on spending quality time together.
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 large groups.
Holiday events are an opportunity for catering business 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 holiday food-fests. Most offices and businesses will have some sort of holiday celebration, including dinner.
If you can court the loyalty of the offices around you by providing good food at a reasonable price, you may be their host of choice for many years to come. Distribute menus with group pricing and promotional offers to local businesses. Then follow up with some cold calls to make sure they’re aware.
Offer group-buy discounts to local business—not just for food, but for gift cards as well. Many businesses use gift cards as a holiday bonus or to boost employee morale. A 100-pack of $20 gift cards purchased even at a discount could warm up your winter sales nicely.
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Provide Comfort to the Cold and Hungry to Improve Winter Sales
When people brave the elements to leave home during the holiday months it’s easy to become cold and hungry. That’s where you come in. Provide something seasonal and satisfying to pick them up.
Adapt your menu to reflect the change in weather. Offer hearty soups and stews, hot cider, Irish coffee, eggnog and pumpkin spice lattes. Tantalize the senses of your guests while providing a cozy atmosphere. Brew hot apple cider and let the scent of the warm spices waft through the restaurant.
The days are short and dark in the fall and winter months. After dealing with work and the weather, many people will not be in the mood for a complicated dinner plan at home.
Simplify their meal plans by providing home-style takeout. Provide prepared value-priced hearty meals to your hungry take-out diners. Also consider the challenges presented by the cold, the rain and the snow.
Your customers probably don’t want to get out of their cars. So, offer curbside pickup and payment using a mobile POS system. They won’t have to leave the comfort and warmth of their vehicle. Now that’s convenient!
Seasonal Specials Can Bring In Customers
Special holiday treats and seasonal menu items are a theme in this guide but you can take it to the next level by embracing the spirit of the holidays. Add touches of decorative flare to your decor. However, it’s important that decorations are tasteful touches that stay true to your brand.
Use Customer Relationship Management (CRM) to research the preferences of individual customers. Use the stored contact information to offer a surprise holiday gift from your menu.
Create an extended holiday promotion that tracks your guests’ visits and rewards them. For example, if they come in at least once a week from October to December they can earn additional membership loyalty points or be entered into a contest.
Watch the weather forecasts for especially inclement days to offer a buy-one-share-one hot cocoa or hot cider. The idea is if they come in with a friend they can share a hot cup together and relax.
This season of giving is an opportunity to position your restaurant’s food as a gift worth giving. Gift cards are a wonderful tool for bringing in new customers. It’s virtually a guarantee that guests 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. A discounted pack of $10 gift cards will simplify their holiday gift-giving for friends, family and coworkers.
Read More: Choosing a Restaurant Business Structure
Get yourself into the spirit of the holidays and think about how to serve the changing needs of your guests. The possibilities for holiday promotions are endless! Don’t be afraid to make changes to your regular way of running the restaurant for the duration of these cold winter months. With a bit of creativity and cheer you can improve restaurant sales during the holidays.