The holidays are a time when businesses experience a surge in sales and overall revenue due to consumers buying gifts and holiday goods. This surge doesn’t boost every business, however. While consumers are out shopping for gift items during the holiday season, they aren’t visiting restaurants as frequently. This can lead to a decline in restaurant reservations.
If you are a restaurant owner, the holidays do not have to be a slow season. Keep business booming by executing some strategic promotions to get more foot traffic. Here are some strategies to try:
1. Last year’s guest list
Pull out your customer list from last holiday season and offer past guests incentives or discounts for booking a reservation. Since they are loyal customers, give them an exclusive incentive that is unavailable to other patrons. If possible, create a special link where they can make reservations, so they notice how you are acknowledging their loyalty. Want to get more reservations? Add a time limit to the promotion to create urgency.
2. Special menu
Your patrons and the foodies in your neighborhood will appreciate a themed menu, created especially for the holidays. Offer these seasonal dishes as early as November, before the gift-buying frenzy begins, to get your regulars in the doors to taste the dishes. This way, they will return during the busiest time of the season to experience the food again and also recommend your restaurant to others.
Promote your new dishes via email, text, social media or however you communicate with your customers. Consider doing some light advertising, if it is within your budget, to call attention to your new menu. Stress that the menu is only around for a limited time to create urgency.
3. Partner with local businesses
With the rise of Small Business Saturday (the day after Black Friday), consumers are more aware of shopping local small businesses during gift-buying season. To get a piece of this pie, partner with local small businesses to offer discounts to both customers. For example, if there is a local theater in your area, work with the owner to offer patrons a discount on tickets if they show their dining receipt. In turn, theater-goers can show you their ticket stubs to get a discount on a meal at your restaurant.
4. Improve the reservation process
To make the reservation process as seamless as possible for your guests and also free up your resources, use interactive voice response to field inbound calls. Interactive voice response (IVR) is a low-cost technology that allows you to create custom phone menus for your guests and enable them to make reservations with a simple key press on their phones. Use the auto attendant to answer the phone and also answer frequently asked questions without the assistance of a live agent. The attendant can also route calls to the right extension with a simple key press or voice command from the caller, saving you time manning phones. If the caller needs to speak to a live person, the call can be routed easily.
5. Start early
If you want to amp up your reservations this season, start planning now. Think about your strategies for boosting reservations and get them in motion as early as November.
The holiday season doesn’t have to be a slow time for your restaurant as long as you get the right promotions in place and execute them early. And, if you would like to get interactive voice response set up in time for your holiday reservations, sign up for a free account here to get started. Once set up, we can help you get going quickly and easily so you can simplify your reservations and put time and money back in your pocket this holiday season.