The holiday rush has died down, but it’s no time to rest on your laurels. Proactively use this ‘quiet’ period to improve your offering.
The major holiday season has just passed, and for many businesses a collective sigh of relief now permeates the ether. Like a champion athlete, rest, but then get back on your feet and use this off-time wisely. It could be the key to making the coming year more successful.
But now we have time to rest … ?
You had no time when it was busy (and fortunately it was busy!), but now you finally have a moment to think deeply about the future. Is it time to go on holiday? Or is this your opportunity to establish the foundation for further success?
We know the holiday period pushed your team to the limit, but you thrived under pressure. Family brunches and company dinners tested your mettle, but the process strengthened your bonds with one another. Now is the time to incorporate new elements into your restaurant’s operating rhythm.
Ways to recover once surfing Santa has gone home for the summer
Freshen up, decorate, and improve customer touchpoints
After a hectic ‘silly season’, some of your restaurant’s spaces and materials may now be more than a little worn and torn. This is the time to review every aspect of your enterprise from the eyes of your customers. Clean or replace signs, menus, ‘Specials’ boards, and promotional materials. If you want to bring new patrons in, your fit-out better be spic and span when people’s fresh new eyes view it for the first time.
This is a good period for renovations. If you’re already going to close for a few days, why not use this time to repair and replace tables and reupholster seating? The place needs to look great, so repair cracked tiles, fix up doors, and ensure bathrooms look pristine again.
Renovations can also include the creation of new spaces to offer additional services. It’s still hot outside, so put in that gelato bar! There are less people around, so why not create a room dedicated to hosting groups, large parties, or private events? How about implementing a catering segment to the business? Each service or product you add into your arsenal becomes a new pipeline for sales in both quiet and busier periods.
Set-up a restaurant online ordering system
If you haven’t done so already, this downtime could be the key to expanding sales in an entirely new market segment. An online ordering system enables you to reach new takeaway and delivery audiences you may not have even known existed.
So many people now use third party apps like UberEATS, Deliveroo, and DoorDash – it’s become the norm. These apps have large user bases, and when used in conjunction with promotional campaigns, sales numbers in the off-season may feel like a dream come true.
Stay in touch with loyal customers and entice new visitors
You finally have a moment to get creative! Work on your unique brand story and marketing messages. Shake it up a little and attract new blood by running social media campaigns promoting seasonal menus, unique dining experiences, or the benefits of being a loyal customer.
Focus on some of the less famous holidays, decorating your space to create a fun and friendly atmosphere. There’s a wide range of sales contests you can employ to inspire people to come and check out your establishment, including cross-marketing with more established branded peers.
This could be a promotion based around a specific product you sell in your meals, i.e., a fancy ice cream (Magnum Red Velvet) or alcohol (Hennessy Cognac), or a product or service you feel meshes well with your own brand’s identity. This could be a Vespa giveaway for an Italian trattoria, or a year’s worth of cronuts from your favourite artisan baker.
We all love receiving points for our loyalty
Additionally, don’t forget your devoted customers during these quieter months. Take your Loyalty POS system and offer the dedicated client database you’ve accumulated over the years special deals and discounts via email newsletters. Fans of your restaurant can get 2-for-1 meals Monday to Thursday, or a free cocktail of your choosing on the weekend.
Stay in line with foodie trends (No hipster beard required)
Did we mention cronuts? By keeping up with contemporary trends in the foodie arena you can place yourself on the beaten path when self-proclaimed aficionados go hunting for trendy Birria tacos or Detroit-style pepperoni pizza. With foodies, it’s never, ‘If you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all’. These humans want to experience all known variations of the current delicacy in question.
Make sure your staff are happy and take care of yourself too!
After a tough season of crowded nights and customers queuing down the street, you need to ensure your restaurant’s biggest asset is taken care of. We’re talking about you and your staff!
If the situation allows for it, show your appreciation by giving the team a holiday bonus. Tend to your staff as you do your organic rooftop vegetable and herb garden. This doesn’t only make your team feel loved, it keeps them enthusiastic and joyful. Customers like to be welcomed by an energetic, happy face, and not by a tired, grumpy scowl. It’s good for business in more ways than one!
By asking staff their expectations regarding schedules after a busy holiday period, you show them their opinion counts. If they say a casual employee brought on to handle overflow work did a good job, treat their word as gold. Give them the scheduling timeslots they desire first, and then requisite rest and relaxation by bringing on that casual for more hours over the short-term.
Lastly, you need to make sure you take care of yourself if you want to boost your business’s sales revenue and identity in the new year. Clarity of mind equals better decisions. Delegate a few tasks to one of your loyal (and appreciative) staff members so you can knuckle down on your new strategy and its implementation.
If you feel this off-season is the optimal moment to get set-up with new iPad POS software, or an online ordering system in Australia, Abacus will help you formulate and action your new business strategy. It’s about time you see how much additional effort, creative thinking, and working smart equates to increased profits and a more attractive brand reputation.