The holiday season is well behind us now. Approximately two weeks into January, most people have taken down their Christmas trees and other holiday decorations in preparation for what is still likely to be a long Canadian winter.
As a restaurant owner, this part of the year can be a bit of a downer. The excitement of the holidays can’t be depended upon to encourage people to visit your restaurant. Instead, you must rely on other marketing strategies to keep things lively in your eatery. So what are the best ways to keep your restaurant busy after the holidays?
Start a loyalty program.
If you haven’t done so yet, it’s time to come up with a plan to reward your most faithful customers. Create a loyalty program that offers such perks as free appetizers, free desserts or discounted meals. Provide your visitors with cards so that their patronage can be tracked. According to Gordon Food Service, restaurateurs should offer customer loyalty programs to boost sales in the post-holiday months.
“Try sending out an email to your database of leads offering them a reward for signing up for your loyalty program,” they suggest on their website, “As social media marketing for restaurants becomes more popular, you can use this approach on your social media pages, as well as your websites to lure in people who might have liked you on Facebook or regularly check your website for menu specials.”
Advertise your “quick” delivery service.
The winter months cause many Canadians to stay indoors. Because of the cold temperatures, you may find that the seats in your restaurant aren’t filling up as quickly as they used to. To circumvent the loss in sales, market your restaurant as one that offers quick delivery. If your customers would prefer to eat at home, that’s no reason they can’t order their food from you!
As Valencia Higuera points out on Chron.com, the winter months can have a negative impact on restaurants. “During the cold winter months, customers might feel less compelled to travel to restaurants for a meal — especially if they are dealing with snow, ice or freezing temperatures,” she writes, “By contrast, a restaurant that offers quick delivery may experience a constant flow of business because customers are able to order by phone or online and have meals delivered to their homes.”
Keep your employees excited.
There’s no real way to excite your customers about visiting your restaurant if your employees aren’t excited to serve them. Remember that it always starts with your staff. Gordon Food Service recommends you host a staff meeting for both your front-of-house and back-of-house employees to keep them engaged.
“You want your customers to be excited about visiting your operation, and your staff should be excited about coming to work too,” their site notes, “By running a contest during the busy holiday months, and the slower post-holiday season, you can boost staff morale and gain support around the promotion.”
Don’t forget to make paying for meals easy and convenient.
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