Christmas is an incredibly busy time for restaurants. So busy, in fact, that it’s easy to forget the planning that’s required to ensure January isn’t the most desolate month of the year.
If you’ve neglected to give January the attention it deserves in your marketing plans, fear not, for we’ve got six brilliantly simple ideas to get 2019 off to the best possible start.
1. Review your website – add online booking
When was the last time you reviewed your restaurant’s website? Does it provide the best journey possible for someone who’s completely unaware of your establishment? How quickly can they go from curious to table fully booked?
Put your customer hat on and have a play with the website. How quickly can you book? Can you book? If the answer to the last question is “no”, make January the month you finally get that online table reservation system implemented!
2. Embrace the cold weather
Whatever you do, don’t try and distract potential diners from how cold it is; use the cold weather to fuel your restaurant’s approach to January.
Introduce a new hot drinks menu, fill your specials board with classic winter warmer dishes and, if you’ve got the space, turn your garden into a winter wonderland.
Despite Christmas and New Year’s Eve getting all the billing at this time of the year, January is actually a beautiful month, and you can usually rely on Mother Nature to set the perfect scene for your restaurant’s guests.
3. Run birthday promotions
What do you celebrate after all the Christmas and New Year cheer? Well, if you were lucky enough to be born in January, you can start the year with a bang, too!
With that in mind, why not run some birthday promotions at your restaurant? Although it might seem like a step too far, by offering people who have their birthday in the month of January a free meal, you’ll still earn revenue from the rest of the table and create a buzz that will probably result in plenty of recommendations and repeat visits.
4. Advertise availability for late Christmas parties
Businesses often fail to find the time during December to stage their Christmas parties, deciding instead to delay them until January.
If you can make it blatantly obvious that your restaurant is the late Christmas party venue of choice, you might just open up the business to a market that you’d otherwise have missed and which will be very grateful for your hospitality.
5. Use email marketing to wish a Happy New Year
If you’ve been smart enough to collect customer email addresses (ethically, of course), January offers the perfect excuse to wish them all a Happy New Year.
However, that isn’t the only reason you’re getting in touch, of course. As much as you do genuinely wish them a happy start to the year, you’d also like to see those people enter through your doors, so bundle the well wishes with a small discount to return and spend a special January night at your establishment.
6. Bank on new year’s resolutions
Think about it – there’ll be a shed load of people in January who will have vowed to eat more healthily, drink less or see the people they should be seeing more often.
You can use all three of these common resolutions (and many more besides) to your advantage as a restaurateur. Create a super-healthy menu, ask your bar team to work on their mocktail skills and implement some form of ‘bring a friend and save on your meal’ promotion.
While some of those resolutions may not last, you can at least grab the attention of these people when they have the best intentions to make a go of them!
January shouldn’t be a quiet month for your restaurant, so take our suggestions above and make it the bumper month it should be!