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How to Prepare Your Restaurant for the Post-Christmas Lull

how to deal with the post christmas lull for restaurants

It’s pretty clear that Americans love Christmas.

A holiday where anyone is willing to wear an ugly sweater
must be good.

Not only are we
enthusiastically styling tassels, sparkles, fur, sequins and LED lights all in
one ubiquitous and abominable turtle neck, but there’s something about the
Christmas season that makes us drop some serious spending.

Malls are extremely crowded as people try to find the
perfect gift, but by now you have probably realized that consumers can’t seem
to avoid migrating to restaurants either.

From hiring more staff, updating your website, stocking your
inventory, advertising online ordering, and promoting holiday specials –  you’ve been preparing for this holiday rush
for months.

But what happens when the holiday are over? Those ugly
Christmas sweaters have been hung back in the closets where they belong, the
countdown to the new year has come and gone. So now what? How in the world do
you prepare for the slow season? Take a deep breath, and relax. It will all be ok.

When January 1 hits, your customers will be recovering from
their overindulging and overspending, and eating out may be the last thing on
their plate.

But, believe it or
not, the New Year is actually a great time to ramp up some sales, and offer
exclusive promotions to your customers. Here’s some ways how:

Engage with your
customers

During the holidays, you of course want your customers to
have a great meal and a memorable time, but if we’re being honest, sometimes it’s
so crazy you and your staff probably don’t have the time to really invest like
you normally would like. But the New Year is here, and now you’ve got a lot
more time to invest in your customer base. We’re not suggesting you hold hands
and sing Auld Land Syne together or
anything like that, but encourage your staff to be intentional with your customers.
Use this time to build your loyal base for the future.

Offer incentives to get
them back in the doors

Come January, your customers are facing a serious financial hangover. Not only are customers back in their normal
routines, they are also burdened with the fact they more than likely spent more than intended during the Holidays. Eating out might very well be the last thing on their minds.
Start offering coupons and promotions now that aren’t good until January and
will drive return sales, as well as makes the customer feel appreciated! Maybe
a bonus $5 off coupon with the purchase of a gift card, or a free appetizer, or
even a BOGO coupon. Whatever it is, use this busy time as an opportunity to get
coupons in the hands of your customers that will be worthy of another visit.

 Get Social

Chances are your customers are spending a lot more time on
their phones during the cold months. Which logically makes winter the perfect
time to engage with them. Increase your Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter output
by announcing specials, showing pictures of warm and enticing menu items, and
even offer some giveaways to really help your presence thrive. Keep your
restaurant in front of your customer’s eyes.

Create New Healthy Menu Options

Ahh, New Year’s Resolutions. The gyms are packed and
everyone begins the dreaded task of burning off the 6 million sugar cookies
they devoured over the holidays. This is the perfect opportunity to start
marketing your healthy options, and if you don’t have some maybe include a few
on your specials list for a limited time. We are a society of convenience, and
being healthy isn’t always that. So use this chance to offer quick, convenient,
and delicious options for the calorie conscious.

Consider Offering Delivery

If you’re not doing it already, now may be the perfect time.
This could be a major source of revenue for your restaurant! Short cold days
and long working hours make people basically hibernate in the winter months.
And who wants to waste what little daylight there is in the kitchen? Now is the
time people want to stay in their warm homes, so it’s the perfect opportunity
to begin promoting your delivery service.

This certainly isn’t an exhaustive list, but its definitely a start. Feel free to let us know of any other ideas you may have along the way! However you decide to help fill your seats this winter, be
sure to plan ahead and start preparing now!

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