How to leverage marketing best practices and technology to propel your seasonal sales
For many people worldwide, the holidays are just around the corner. People are gearing up for a busy holiday season, complete with frequent shopping and dining trips. Today we're going to examine the contentious relationship between major holiday seasons and the food service industry, followed by a discussion of industry best practices for creatively marketing your venue towards the holiday at hand.
Ultimately, we'll teach you how to efficiently purpose restaurant marketing software and other tech tools to help promote your establishment and drive business through your door during holiday uncertainty.
The food service industry at holiday time
At first glance, you might think that the holidays are a booming time for restaurants, cafes, and other eateries. After all, most major global holidays involve a celebratory element. Extended family and old friends get together for one of the few meetings all year. Going out to eat and letting someone else do the cooking seems like a natural fit. That's not always the case, however.
The holidays are also a busy time for families. A very busy time. Family and friends often come to town for the holidays. In the colder northern hemisphere, many people instead choose to dedicate their time to home-cooked meals and other family-centric activities. In fact, many restaurants see upwards of a 60% decrease in revenue during key holiday periods. It's called the "holiday Slump," it's real, and it is highly dependent on the individual values of your customer base.
Don't throw in the towel yet, though. In more southerly locations such as Australia, it's the summertime, which is peak hospitality season. Below, we'll take a look at more global strategies and technology that you can employ to combat flagging holiday sales regardless of your area's holiday atmosphere.
An entrepreneur's guide to holiday best practices
Fighting the holiday slump is a matter of driving business through your doorway. To that effect, there are a lot of things you can do to entice potential customers. Below, we've compiled some of our favourite techniques.
Foster the right ambience
Want to get customers eating at your venue? Start with the right setting. For many people, the holidays encompass an entire season, not just the actual day of celebration. Take Christmas for example. People decorate the interior and exterior of their homes. When they go shopping, stores have decorations and Christmas music playing from late November all the way up until the 25th. Want customers to frequent your establishment as well? Make sure the festivities carry over into your venue.
Design holiday-themed tasting events
In keeping with the point above, you've got to employ some external marketing techniques if you want to initially attract diners to your cafe or eatery. Develop specially themed holiday menus, then invite customers in for a special tasting event or launch party.
These can be open to the general public or invite-only based on your establishment's existing customer loyalty program. Not only does this generate excitement for your restaurant, but it also gets your kitchen staff actively involved in the holiday process, which brings us to our next point.
Get the staff involved
For any venture to be successful, you've got to have employee buy-in. That means everyone from the host/ hostess, to the waitstaff, to the line cook. Fortunately, holiday joy is often contagious.
Get your staff involved by holding holiday festivities geared towards them. Whether you have a holiday staff party or incentivise your workers through some form of sales-related contest, take a minute to prioritise their joy this holiday season.
Lean into a rounded-out menu
Your kitchen staff is important too. We already alluded to it above, but staff buy-in is crucial in building a profitable season. When designing special seasonal menu items to support your marketing, don't invest all your time in entrees alone. Give some love to the drinks, desserts, and appetisers as well.
Promoting add-on sales and gift cards
Retail figured this trick out a long time ago. Part of capitalising on your holiday business is ensuring that you maximise each and every customer interaction. Using your bespoke holiday drink and dessert menu, encourage your waitstaff to actively offer additional items to your customers.
Another good add-on strategy is highlighting gift cards. Remember, many of your customers may be looking to do some last-minute shopping. Inspire add-on purchases through gift card sales.
Celebrate numerous holidays
Keep in mind that "the holidays" means different things to different people. One of our favourite strategies is taking an inclusive approach by celebrating major world holidays outside of your typical Christmas season. You'd be surprised at the amount of excitement you can generate year-round.
Leveraging your digital assets for holiday magic
While there are certainly lots of organic ways to position your eatery for the holiday season, you can't discount the power of technological solutions to help you stay afloat during this year's potential holiday slump.
QR code menus
Digital menus play a pivotal role when it comes to holiday marketing. As discussed above, holiday-themed seasonal menus are a great way to drive business into your venue. If you remain reliant on traditional paper menus, seasonal offerings can get expensive.
Repeated printing costs will cause your overhead to skyrocket without a digital solution in place. Scannable QR code menus offer an adaptable and easy-to-use solution. Digital menus allow you to update your offerings, including seasonal items, at the click of a button and without the hassle of annoying lead time and increased operational costs.
Multi-location ordering and split payments
QR code menus also help to boost the customer experience, something that is essential during the busy holiday season. A high-quality digital menu can fully integrate with your point of sale (POS) system. This enables customers to perform a number of helpful functions, including:
- Split payments
- Pend multi-vendor orders
- Schedule delivery and pickup options
With digital solutions in place, your customers can split the bill however they see fit, all at the touch of a button. For arenas and other large-scale venues, scannable menus allow patrons to order from multiple vendor booths in one single order. Coupled with delivery options, quality-of-life features such as these are guaranteed to encourage celebration and mirth amongst your guests.
Scannable QR code menus also help spread cheer and beat the holiday slump on the back end as well. Digital menus can sync with your customer relationship management (CRM) system, culling invaluable data from each and every customer interaction. Your CRM can catalogue everything from customer purchase history to typical buying habits. In turn, that information can be used to craft loyalty programs and other targeted incentives, which is prime territory for holiday promotions.
Making the Most of the Holiday Season
The holidays are always a mixed bag in the restaurant world. Whether your profits experience a windfall or take a dive depends on your ability to properly leverage both your marketing assets and your tech stack. Unsure where to begin this holiday season? Let the experts at Mr Yum guide you with a free demo.