MRM's "Ask the Expert” features advice from Consolidated Concepts Inc. Please send questions to Modern Restaurant Management (MRM) magazine Executive Editor Barbara Castiglia at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q: How can I build sales post New Year’s Eve boost?
A: New Year’s Eve, 2018, saw restaurant sales increase by five percent when compared to average December sales minus holidays, according to Toast’s New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day Restaurant Trends.
While it’s easy to imagine all the ways restaurants can market their offerings for the holiday lift, the bigger challenge for 2020 centers around building up sales for the remainder of the year. So, how can restaurateurs get their share for more than the last night of the year?
How can restaurateurs get their share for more than the last night of the year?
- Entertainment. If there was time add some type of entertainment to your venue, this is it. As eatertainment venues gain ground in popularity, restaurant operators shouldn’t underestimate the power of performance. Consider live music, whether a band or solo artist, and immerse your guests in a unique experience. This can transform your establishment for one evening of pure joie de vivre. You also can consider hosting a costume/masquerade ball or other significant, costume-oriented event. You also can turn toward sports-themed times of year by hosting game days or team-specific events. Get creative and give your customers something to get excited about.
- Encourage Interaction. Community tables have been on-trend for encouraging neighbors meeting neighbors. Take it up a notch and use your time and space to make guests a part of your menu ideation process. Hold specials events to introduce new menu items, beverage concoctions or newly designed/revamped spaces. Whatever the reason, embrace it and encourage your guests to be part of your growth.
- Get the party started. January is a great time to introduce your brand to potential new customers. With some planning and social media strategizing, post New Year’s Eve events can create a night to remember, and a profitable start to 2020 as old and new guests look for something new and exciting, even in the familiar. So, use the post-holiday lull to create something interesting and fun, and get people thinking long-term about your restaurant and what it has to offer.
- Tap into your target. One of the first rules of marketing is to define your target and as the year begins, it’s safe to assume that many people will be thinking about new beginnings and making this year better than their last. Exercise and healthy eating will be first and foremost on many of your guest’s lists of resolutions. To help them achieve their goals, consider putting together Limited Time Offers (LTO) that focus on healthier options and meeting New Year’s resolutions that people can actually stick to. This includes offering food and drinks that are plant-forward, antioxidant-rich, immune boosting, high in protein, and gut-friendly.
- Use your social media platforms. After you’ve developed appealing special offers for the New Year and beyond, be sure to shout them out on your social media platforms. Take pictures of those new healthy entrees and beverages and post them on Facebook, Instagram, or Snapchat. And then, remember to engage. According to Forbes, 71 percent of customers are more likely to recommend a company that quickly replies to social media messages.