Most of the restaurant owners know what it means to operate during low seasons and times after the holidays. These are times when the lack of visitors tends to harm your business.
Still not all restaurants get hurt as they have contributed with marketing and sales activities to be prepared and motivate clients to come namely in these times.
The following three recommendations have been gathered based on the conversations with restaurant owners about how to manage in low season times.
1. Start your preparation for low season 6 months ahead.
When your business is blossoming during summer no one has got time to think about the lack of clients in January. Still when you know that some months per year you are on the edge of survival take time to find ways how to diminish your costs during these low season times.
Here you find two most common ways to cut your costs:
Menu – does your menu have products ordered really but include expensive ingredients and/or spoils quickly? Analyze your menu and plan how you can shorten your list of dishes temporarily. Here the detailed reports of your point of sale system help you with relevant statistics and financial information.
Opening hours – ask your book-keeper to calculate how much money would you save in case you would open your restaurant one hour later or close one hour earlier. Take into account the cost of maintenance of your space, personnel costs but also the money earned during these hours.
Check this 8 minute video about the opening hours of restaurants:
2. Take maximum from the social media and internet opportunities
During the low season the number of clients and booking decreases and therefore it is extra important that your restaurant is easy to find in the internet.
When did you last check is your restaurant visible on the first page of Google search engine?
To check it type the keyword ‘resturant’ and the name of the city your restaurant is located in into Google (e.g. vegan restaurant in Tartu) and see what comes out. Before checking have your bowser in incognito regime.
People will find you in case your restaurant is among 10 first ones in the list in Google. In case your restaurant is not among these consult your marketing specialist and find out more about Search Engine Optimization.
Wanting to increase visibility, use the opportunities of social media:
- set up and buy Facebook and /or Instagram ads,
- arrange at least one sharing campaign,
- share regularly pictures about your restaurant and your dishes and drinks,
- make fun video stories with your customers and why not also with your chefs,
- ask your clients about their preferences of taste and feedback about the service and atmosphere.
To arrange your online-campaigns use the functionalities offered by your point of sale system. For example in CompuCash point of sale system you can create different discounts for all your products or selected product groups. You are also able to make personal offers for your loyal customers based on their purchase behavior.
3. Win customers with smart marketing.
Low season is a good opportunity to warm up old contacts. Send out your newsletter or take personal contact with your clients who have arranged a birthday party or a company event in your place.
Try out arranging different type of events or offer that option to a suitable partner. Nowadays so called networking-events are quite popular, but continuously birthday parties, business lunches and seminars are arranged.
Here are some examples of events to help get your creativity working:
- Wine degustation for a group of 10 on each Friday and Saturday.
- A dinner with the executive chef with nice surprises.
- A dinner with an artist/musician/entrepreneur for a group of 10 each Tuesday and Wednesday.
Take a look of the following video about marketing in restaurant business.