The holidays are typically merry and bright for restaurants: Customers are often splurging on prepared food whether they are enjoying a festive evening with friends or family; grabbing a latte to fuel them for their shopping spree; or snagging takeout before they go home to deck their halls. Then, January hits, and the post-holiday slump begins as customers hunker down at home to avoid the cold and watch their wallets and waistlines.
But, don’t despair. We’ve got seven ideas to help keep traffic steady as 2018 kicks off.
Appeal to their thrifty side.
As the credit card bills start piling up faster than the snow outside, help your customers pinch pennies by pushing value items. Send out a blizzard of coupons to local businesses or offer a BOGO promotion to entice them to visit your store.
And their healthy side.
Come January it’s all about eating healthy—at least until the Valentine candy hits the shelves! Help your customers keep their diet resolutions by promoting your healthier offerings, such as salads, soups, or smoothies. Or, if you’re known for more decadent fare, suggest you’re the perfect spot for a treat—everyone deserves a cheat day to keep the momentum humming.
Have fun on social media.
Many retailers will be hitting the brakes as they recover from their month-long volley of shopping specials. Take advantage of the lull in email or social media traffic to make a splash with your own creative posting. Offer bonus items to customers who tweet you a picture of their sad desk lunch or new workout gear, or the worst gift they received. Have a “password” of the day that gives customers a discount when they share it while ordering.
Create a “super” promotion.
What special eating event is just around the corner? It’s Super Bowl 52, taking place the first Sunday in February. Score a touchdown with customers by offering party platters they can grab and go, or if you’re a bar or restaurant with TVs, promote your restaurant as Super Bowl 52 Headquarters and plan a party. Offer specials for designated drivers or partner with a cab company to ensure your guests get home safely.
Even if your menu doesn’t naturally lend itself to Super Bowl parties, you can still jump on the Super Bowl bandwagon by hosting a related contest: Have customers guess the winning team and/or score; or have customers choose a side and offer a discount to the winning fans in the week following the game.
Institute a new loyalty program.
January is often when people say “enough” and remove the clutter from their lives. Sadly, that could be your paper coupon or loyalty card that’s been taking up space in their wallet or drawer. Replace paper clutter with a new, seamless program that can be integrated with your mPOS system that customers can access via app—if you haven’t yet considered a unified customer experience, now might be the time. And, up the ante by offering double points during the typical holiday slump.
Happy hour doesn’t have to just be for bars. Offer a BOGO or other promotion for coffee drinks and baked goods—anything that typically doesn’t move as fast during the afternoon hours to entice customers in.
Find a warming trend.
If you’re in a part of the country that gets chilly this time of year, have fun with the weather and create a promotion that will encourage customers to leave their cozy homes and/or come in out of the cold while they’re out and about. Whether you specialize in coffee drinks, soups or comfort food, let them know the heat is on with a special price.
To warm up your social media, saturate it with fun tropical images to let people know how toasty they’ll feel when they enjoy your winter specials. And, if you think the plunging temperatures are keeping customers inside, consider offering free delivery, especially for nearby office buildings.
Whatever promotions you decide to run with to beat the post-holiday slump, make sure to stay in touch with your customers via your email list and social media. With a little creativity and some purposeful marketing, backed by your POS platform, you can start 2018 off strong.
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