Restaurateurs know firsthand how weather can affect sales. Rather than spend the day lounging al fresco with apps and cocktails, many guests opt to curl up with a blanket at home when the temperature starts to dip. That means slow days, low numbers, and creeping anxiety about getting through the winter months.
However, all is not lost. There are plenty of ways restaurants can keep guests coming in, regardless of season. From tailoring menu offerings to the season to participating in winter events in the community, here are some fun and effective ways to increase your restaurant's sales during the winter.
Customize Your Menu to the Season
When winter rolls around, people skip the salads in favor of heartier comfort food. This isn’t to say that you have to revamp your whole menu to highlight only meat and potatoes, but adjusting to satisfy the cravings your customers will pay off. Not only will they appreciate the use of seasonal (and hopefully local) ingredients, they may also opt for a warming spiced cocktail to wash it down. It’s a small price to pay for satisfied customers.
Make the Most of Community Events
People might not venture out just to have lunch, but if they’re already out for a community event like caroling or concerts, there’s a good chance that they’ll look for a place to eat afterward. Whether your local community has an annual ice skating contest, snowshoeing event, or even a polar bear plunge, there are a variety of ways to get involved—from sponsoring an event to offering discounts to participants—that will not only get your name out there, but draw a crowd during the sometimes slower winter months.
Implement Online Ordering
When winter hits and bitterly cold days roll in, the chances of someone leaving their house to go out to eat are slim, as are the chances of someone heading out to shop for groceries. This makes online ordering a sweet winter spot for restaurants. As Buzztime Business explains, “With shorter days, long work weeks and the challenges that cold weather brings, many hungry consumers opt for the comfort and convenience of takeout.”
With the right restaurant POS system, integrating with pre-existing online ordering options (think DoorDash or Seamless) is simple.
Tailor Your Marketing Efforts
If you’ve whipped up a special warm cocktail, tweet about it. If you’ve concocted some special Thanksgiving menu items, make the most of Thanksgiving marketing on Facebook so everyone knows. Awesome holiday decor? Post some killer shots on Instagram. There’s no sense in making all of these smart changes if you won’t be telling people about them, especially if they’re offerings only available for a limited time. Play your cards right, and you’ll be the hot spot all winter long.