In many cities, cold weather results in reduced business because diners are more hesitant to leave the comfort of their homes. However, there are certain steps restaurants can take to limit the negative effects of winter.
The following is a list of six winter restaurant promotions that can help drive business to your restaurant:
With Christmas, Hanukkah, New Year’s Eve, and Valentine’s Day all taking place during the winter months, restaurants have several holidays they can leverage to increase business during the slowest stretch of the year. Valentine’s Day and the weekends surrounding it are especially popular times for couples to dine out. According to the National Restaurant Association, Feb. 14 is the second busiest day of the year for restaurants. The holiday season, along with New Year's Eve, is festive and a good time to capitalize on the popularity by offering a special experience. Whether it’s by changing décor or providing a unique menu, going the extra mile will help your restaurant draw more customers.
Another way to generate more business during the winter is by offering restaurant gift cards. Once Thanksgiving rolls around, everyone is on the lookout for the perfect holiday gift. A gift card to a great restaurant is a great option. Offering gift cards is an excellent way to drive business while also bringing in new customers. If all goes well, you’ll have every opportunity to turn them into regulars.
When it’s freezing outside, customers often need a little extra motivation to venture out of their warm homes. A winter restaurant promotion like a cold weather discount can be the perfect solution. If the outside temperature dips below a certain threshold (maybe the freezing mark), reward customers who make the trip to your restaurant by giving them a free appetizer or dessert. The freezing weather discount temperature should depend on where you’re located. For instance, 25°F is a lot colder relative to New York norms than North Dakota averages. You’ll want to use the promotion not just for a regular winter day, but for one that is notably frigid.
Altering your menu to include special winter meals can attract customers who otherwise eat at home. Classic winter dishes like soup and stew should ideally be on every restaurant’s menu when temperatures approach the freezing mark. Hot chocolate and tea also make great additions. If you offer a wide range of beers, be sure to update your selection so it features season-appropriate dark ales, spiced beers, stouts, and porters. These little menu tweaks might not seem like much, but they can give diners enough reason to brave the cold and enjoy a night out at your restaurant.
Sometimes there’s simply no way to convince someone to leave home and make a trip to your restaurant. During times like these, an online ordering and delivery service can help increase revenue. Even if your restaurant doesn’t ordinarily offer delivery, the harsh winter weather might make doing so worthwhile.
When hiring delivery drivers, try to find someone who has a truck with all-wheel or four-wheel drive. Because these vehicles thrive in snowy conditions, they help ensure the driver and food remain safe throughout the delivery.
Local businesses often seek out restaurants that can host or provide catering for large holiday parties. Whether these businesses rent out a whole restaurant or book a big table, their holiday parties can be significant revenue sources. Because these businesses likely will be spending plenty of money on food and drinks, restaurants might want to entice them by offering special discounts. If the holiday parties run smoothly, businesses will likely want to return to your restaurant in the future for other office celebrations, and individual employees will come back with friends and family.
While winter restaurant promotions can help your restaurant boost income during slow business months, there are certainly other approaches you can take. If none of the ideas listed above appeal to you, try rounding up your restaurant’s staff and having a brainstorming session. Multiple minds are always better than one, and you just might discover a promotion idea that you think is perfect for your particular restaurant.