How to Maintain (and Grow) Customers Despite the January Blues

When the last Christmas card has been taken down from the mantlepiece, and the final pieces of party popper residue have been swept away after New Year’s Eve, people often feel deflated. The January blues can be difficult to beat, and with Blue Monday (the third Monday of the year) being the indisputable ‘saddest day’, it is clear that everyone feels a little low after the festivities. 

Despite many people identifying January as a low-spend month, this trend is beginning to change. Sales and deals characterize January shopping and they are enticing customers to get back out there and enjoy themselves, despite their tightened purse strings. This might mean buying something new or enjoying a meal out with friends.  

Many potential customers can feel financially strained after Christmas, and it can become more difficult to attract people to your restaurant. However, there are plenty of incentives you can give to customers over this bleak month that will encourage them to fight the January blues by eating out and enjoying fantastic food. Read on to discover some tips and tricks about keeping footfall high and encouraging those with a low budget into your restaurant. 

January doesn’t have to be a low-income month. You can maintain footfall at your restaurant even when customers are feeling frugal.

Introduce Discount Cards

Restaurant discounts and memberships are a fantastic incentive for people to dine out cheaply in January (and the rest of the year). What’s more, once you’ve given customers a discounted taster of your cuisine they will no-doubt be back for more. You should go the extra mile to increase footfall over this low-spend month and offer January-specific that discounts for loyal foodies. As well as discount cards, you could offer savings via your restaurant’s app, or work with a third-party app that offers various restaurant discounts to people on a budget. Working with a third-party app is mutually beneficial and will advertise your restaurant to brand-new customers. For example, you could offer half-price meals, two-for-one deals, or perhaps a free bottle of wine to entice customers in. 

Set Up a Loyalty Scheme

Offering a loyalty scheme is a sure-fire way of making sure customers visit your establishment time and time again. A stamp card for example, that offers your customers a freebie as a reward for their loyalty is a wonderful way to incite custom and help diminish the January blues. Every little helps over this cold and dreary month, so a free coffee goes a long way. 

Advertise Your Happy Hour

From two-for-one cocktails to reduced three-course meals, happy hours are a saving grace. Every customer feels rewarded by a god happy hour, so make sure yours is well advertised and everyone knows about it.

Offer Student Discounts

Offering student discount is a great way to get new customers over this low-spend period. Not only will students flock to your establishment, but they will also feel valued and therefore revisit time and time again! Like the happy hour, make sure you openly advertise this discount in your restaurant as well as on your social media channels. If you already offer student discount, you could offer a higher percentage off during January — these ‘limited time only’ offers are a great way to boost your customer base. 

Offer Meals to Mystery Diners

The mystery diner system is a clear win-win. Mystery diners are able to eat out at certain restaurants completely free of charge, as long as they provide an honest review at the end. This scheme encourages people to your restaurant and is also a fantastic (and free!) form of advertising. Through the diner’s blog or social media, you will reach a whole new audience of potential customers.

Use Newsletters and Social Media

Make sure that your customers never miss out on a discount again by sending out a newsletter or posting regularly on social media. You could even start running regular competitions, in which you can offer delicious freebies. During the post-Christmas slump, you should make sure these competitions are frequent in order to increase traffic in your restaurant. 

January doesn’t have to be a low-income month. You can maintain footfall at your restaurant even when customers are feeling frugal. So, what are you waiting for? Get these plans in action and start fighting the January slump.