It is not an easy task to run a restaurant but it becomes twice as difficult during the ‘off-season’ when the customer base trickles down considerably.
Seasonal changes can have a significant impact on the business which compels the restaurant owners to boost their sales through different strategies to attract the customers and keep the business running even on slow days. In order to put these plans into action, you may have to consider funding options such as a personal loan for businesses.
Seasonal Factors Affecting the Restaurant Industry
- The holiday season brings in a decline in customers as the families choose to have a home-cooked meal together rather than going out
- Summers see a surge as tourism increases during the warmer season and most local customers choose to spend time outdoors than indoors, which means an increase in business.
- Winters also see fewer customers as people don’t really feel like stepping out in the cold just to eat.
You can take out a small business loan, if required, to keep your business running by implementing effective strategies during the off-season. Here are some other tips.
Push for Co-Branding Relationships
It isn’t unusual for restaurants to observe a dip in customers during certain seasons. However, other establishments like the movie theaters observe a spike in business in the same season. Take advantage of this by developing co-branding relationships with nearby movie theaters. For instance, you can offer the moviegoers discount on their restaurant bill.
Introduce Seasonal Options and Deals
Certain ‘tastes’ are tied with certain seasons — like pumpkin flavored treats in the fall. Though these items can be equally popular around the year, there is a certain sentiment attached to them in one particular season. Introduce seasonal options to attract people during seasons that usually bring in fewer customers. Moreover, you can offer attractive deals on such seasonal options.
For example, you can serve pumpkin flavored treats throughout the year but offer a great deal just in the fall to bring in more customers. This strategy will help you avoid business cash flow issuesthat are common during off-seasons.
Invest in Online Marketing
A great thing about online marketing is that it doesn’t cost much. You can capture the attention of your customers through social media accounts and an online newsletter. Increasing the online presence and smart online marketing can bring in a tide of customers while your competitors crib about slow days.
Increase online engagement through Instagram, Facebook and other digital platforms. You can crowdsource menu ideas, give out promotions and announce specials online. If you have a newsletter, use it to promote events or specials.
Hosting events helps you increase the customer traffic and attract a new customer base that may have been previously been unaware of your establishment.
You can offer your space to host various kinds of events such as:
- Networking events
- Birthday parties
- Wine and food tasting events
- Cooking classes
- Private business parties
- Charity events
- Live music events
- Speed dating events
- Live sports or movie screenings
Take a proactive approach and host regularly to support your business in the off-season and give your customers a good reason to visit you again. You can take a personal line of credit for business to finance these events.
Pop-up During Off Season
Pop-up restaurants are becoming quite a hit with numerous customers and it would be wise to tap into this trend. Pop-ups allow you to explore newer territories and ideas without having to restrict yourself to your restaurant. Another advantage of pop-ups is that there is no long-term commitment — you can either run for one week, a month or just the weekends. The customers will have a fun reason to visit the pop-up and you can keep your cash registers ringing.
You may probably have to put in more capital to run the business in the off-season to implement strategies to attract customers who aren’t really motivated to eat out in certain seasons. Some funding options that you can consider are a personal line of credit, small restaurant loans and short-term loans.