Chilly air, sparkling lights and tree lots: signs the holiday season is fast approaching. As winter rolls around, boosting restaurant sales and retaining customers is no easy task. However, the solution to offsetting seasonal sales losses and driving loyalty often lies in subtle, targeted marketing. To make things a little easier on you this year, we’ve dug into historical data from December 1 through January 10 and extracted some exciting findings about customer trends. Here are three solutions for impacting your restaurant’s business this holiday season.
For restaurants offering catering, planning for events like company holiday parties can offset potential lulls. To do so, take stock of your data for insights about which customers purchase large quantities of food before the holidays. Reach these potential customers by offering catering discounts and creating email messaging during Week One and Week Two of December, reminding them that you can take care of the office Christmas party. When planned effectively, catering represents a lucrative revenue opportunity to make up for the historical dip in sales around December 25 and after New Year’s Eve.
Your lapsing customers are actually a huge, underutilized market segment that you should be targeting. We know that leveraging both new customer acquisition and reactivation is the balancing act of all restaurant-marketing teams, but ignoring reactivation strategies during the holidays to only target new customers with seasonal specials overlooks potential revenue gains. After shopping subsides, your lapsing customers’ finances may be spent, so discounts and coupons may motivate behavior. Take a look at the graph below: with a few exceptions, average checks follow a downward trend into the new year. Use your customers’ previous transaction history and purchasing behavior to create marketing campaigns targeted on specific days such as December 25, December 30 and January 1.
Simply developing online ordering is the beginning of the journey, not the end. This is never more true than during the holidays, when your customers may not want to dine outside the comforts of home. According to the data, the period after Christmas Eve and through Week One of January is the best time to create campaigns for driving online ordering. Individuals and families may be burnt out on preparing food, cooking meals, and cleaning up. While dining out during the holiday provides an easy and quick respite from any stress, some customers may simply want to order online, pick up food, and eat at home. Eliminate inefficient media spends and ineffective impressions by creating targeted messaging that reminds your customers of the value of having someone else cook the food after the holidays.
When it comes to restaurant marketing, there’s no quick fix for affecting seasonal sales. There are, however, strategies for taking advantage of seasonal trends. It takes a bit of creative thinking, insightful analytics, and marketing footwork, sure, but the rewards of capitalizing on these three, data-driven ways for impacting business during the holiday season will keep you jolly all year long.