Winter has arrived. With temperature dropping and snow falling, these chilly months can be a challenge for restaurants. Between family gatherings, holiday parties, and bone-chilling conditions, there are many reasons that keep customers away from your tables.
So, how can a restaurant combat these winter blues? Consider these ideas:
1. Clear the snow
Let’s face it, no one wants to slog through the snow for a bite to eat. Make sure the parking lot is plowed regularly. In addition, salt the sidewalks, knock down icicles, and make sure you have rugs inside the entryway.
2. Host a party
Give people a reason to come out. Consider hosting a holiday party, a Christmas-themed trivia night, even something as simple as Soup Buffet or drinks specials that coincide with a televised football game can work.
Consider a competition of sorts, like best gingerbread decorating or a craft night to create the ugliest holiday ornament.
3. Celebrate obscure food-related holidays
Did you know there’s a national calzone day? There is.
There are actually a bunch of quirky holidays your restaurant can leverage in the winter months. Here are a few examples:
- Calzone Day: November 1
- Fried Chicken Sandwich: November 9
- Split Pea Soup: November 13
- Pastry Day: December 9
- Cupcake Day: December 15
- Bacon Day: December 30
You can find more holidays here.
4. Offer "take home" dinners
Your customers might not want to brave the cold for a family dinner, but mom might stop in after work for a pre-cooked meal to take home. Think of a handful of menu items that reheat well and consider marketing those as “take home dinners” to ease the cooking workload of working parents.
5. Make it easy to order online
Takeout orders increase when the mercury decreases. Food delivery companies say they see a 60% increase in orders when snow is falling. What can you do to prepare? Test your online ordering process. Is it easy to use? If not, make adjustments or consider using tech like Orderspoon to streamline your orders.
6. Add winter items to the menu
When cold weather hits, taste buds shift. Customers want comfort foods like hearty soups and seasonal drinks like hot chocolate, eggnog, and apple cider margaritas.
Of course, you don’t need to do a full menu change, just make simple adjustments. You might add a few seasonal dishes, but tweak the flavors to a few other dishes to give them a winter flair.
It’s a good time to evaluate costs too. If there’s a dish that’s too expensive to make or difficult to secure ingredients for, it’s a good time to replace it with a cold-weather favorite.
7. Show appreciation to loyal customers
If you have a loyalty program, add some winter rewards for those who come in regularly. We also have loyalty program integrations for our merchants. Want to try one? Email us here.
If you don’t have a trackable loyalty program, give a handful of $10 gift cards to your waitstaff and bartenders to give to familiar faces. Customer retention is important during the winter months.
Winter can be hard on restaurants, but these tips should help you drive more traffic to your booths and bar. You may need to make a few changes, which includes a review of your online ordering system. Online orders are quickly becoming a staple, especially when it’s cold outside. Orderspoon can help. Check out our demo video and reach out with any questions.
With temperature dropping and snow falling, these chilly months can be a challenge for restaurants. Use these tips to drive traffic to your restaurant this winter.