Meals for feels…
Adjusting the menu to provide what customers are looking for in the winter months is vital. Winter means stick-to-your-ribs hearty fare like stews, wild game, root vegetables–think of what would be served at an inn in medieval times and you’re halfway there.
Marketing this menu shift means appealing to the comfort that these types of meals provide. Show how warm and inviting the location is, with images like a roaring fire and comfortable seating welcoming guests to take refuge from the cold. The objective of restaurant marketing is always to emphasize the advantages of eating out, so be sure to emphasize feelings of warmth, comfort, and safety in social media posts.
…And On Wheels
Make sure customers know they don’t have to leave the house to take advantage of the comfort foods being offered in the winter. Double down on marketing that emphasizes takeout and delivery. As the role of digital delivery services continue to grow, it behooves restaurants to take advantage of the convenience offered by these services. Is there anything better than a home style meal in a warm, inviting restaurant? Why, that same meal delivered right to your door, of course!
Even restaurants that don’t usually offer delivery can benefit from a temporary delivery service in the colder months. Including coupons or ads for walk-in-only specials with those deliveries can entice guests to step in the front door when the snow melts.
Happy New Year’s Resolutioners
In a 2017 survey on New Year’s Resolutions, 45% of respondents said they were making diet and exercise a priority for the new year. Keeping an eye on diet trends and marketing to them can be of tremendous benefit and may lure customers out of their homes and through your doors.
Popular 2018 trends include healthier beverage options, cauliflower, and the keto diet–these are expected to continue into 2019. As more and more consumers become focused on the environmental impact of meat, vegetarian and vegan options are becoming ever popular. It can still be extremely difficult for those on limited diets to find options, so marketing directly to those guests can be a massive benefit.
Respect the Regulars
Attracting new customers in the winter may be difficult, so focus instead on maintaining the most valuable relationships: the regulars.
Focusing marketing efforts on repeat customers benefits not just those who have already expressed their loyalty but encourages them to share that enthusiasm with their friends and loved ones. Include coupons on receipts so customers are encouraged to return. Encourage staff to comp the occasional entree for favourite customers or provide a free “bonus” appetizer to the most valued clients.
Experiment with your winter marketing!
These are just a handful of tips to draw crowds and keep tables full during the winter lull. Our interview with Marlene Haley of The Merry Dairy has plenty more ideas, so be sure to check that out if you’re looking for more inspiration.
The bottom line is: the only people who truly know what will work for a restaurant are the people who run that restaurant. No one is better suited to create a solid plan for the winter months than you are and to ensure your place doesn’t just survive–it thrives!
The other option is to take advantage of the slow season and give yourself a bit of time to get organized. This decluttering checklist will get you all cleaned up before it picks up.