Do you find business at your restaurant slows down during the slower winter months? It’s not just you! After the holiday season, people dine out less. The days are shorter, the weather is colder, and most fruits and vegetables are not in season. There are a few strategic moves you can make to entice guests into your restaurant during this slow season.
The December holiday season may be over, but there are still plenty of special occasions to celebrate in February and March. After Valentine’s Day comes National “Drink Wine” Day on February 18. Offer a wine special or promote a wine tasting event, which makes for a great date night or group educational experience. March features St. Patrick’s Day as well as the first day of spring on March 20. If you want to get even more creative, March is National Nutrition Month. Add some details about the ingredients and sourcing of your meals this month to show your customers you care about their health and nutrition. Spring promotions can include an outside event on the first day of spring such as live music to encourage customers that winter is almost over!
Attract Guests Out of the Cold
While many customers may be tempted to stay home out of the cold and order food in, there are still plenty of ways to convince them to venture into your restaurant. Make sure to plow your parking lot if you have snow or ice. You can even offer a valet service if parking is difficult so customers don’t have to walk in the cold to your door. Also, make your spot cozy, seating guests away from cold drafts. You can even host watch parties where guests get out of the house but stay warm in your restaurant while they watch the season finale of a popular show or a sporting event.
Be Creative With Freshness.
Most fruits and vegetables are not in season during the winter, so get creative! More and more restaurants are growing their own fresh produce. Some have a rooftop greenhouse that they heat during the winter to ensure their ingredients are freshly grown and picked rather than trucked in and often already half wilted, turning customers off. If you must have produce delivered, stock up on fruits and vegetables that are in season. Asparagus, avocado, broccoli, and citrus fruits, among others, are in season in March.
Wintertime can be tough for restaurants, but you can keep your guests warm and happy until spring, which is is right around the corner. Start your spring promotions as early as warm weather permits. In the meantime, be a haven for cold diners looking to spice up the colder months and break up their cabin fever.
Challenge: This week, add cushions to the seats in your restaurants for chilly customers who might want the extra warmth as they enjoy their meal. Your guests will appreciate the extra insulation from the elements!