Your customers are insanely busy during the holiday season. We all are. We meet ourselves coming and going, even as we long for a nostalgic taste of what we imagine the perfect holiday to be.
This creates an opportunity for you as a restaurateur. Customers will appreciate anything you can do to simplify the process of holiday shopping, ease their stress, allow them a few moments to relax, and trigger warm memories of hearth and home.
We created this simple list (and yes, we checked it twice!) of steps you can take this holiday season to increase your sales. Simple steps, really. Nothing too out of the ordinary. But, of course, they will require some time and energy on your part. Take a look:
Download it as a pdf file: 6 Steps to Boost Holiday Sales
To review, there’s already a lot going on. It’s worth your while to make a specific plan—have a clear vision of what you’d like to see happen with your business this holiday season, where you are now, and what it will take to get you to the place you’d like to be. Pull out a calendar and translate your goals into action steps; write down what will have to happen when to achieve success.
The second commandment of menu marketing is “Promote thyself.” Your “Chianti Braised Short Ribs with parmesan-sage whipped potatoes and Chianti sauce” may be the best around, but if your customers don’t know your famous ribs will be one of your featured Christmas Eve dinner specialty items, they may choose to dine elsewhere. It’s up to you to give your customers something to salivate over, reasons to look forward to joining you on New Year’s Eve and other times throughout the season. Get the word out! Promote your holiday menu items using as many means as possible.
As the song reminds us, “There’s no place like home for the holidays”—unless it’s your restaurant, decorated as a home away from home, full of the sights, sounds and scents of the season. The more you can do to give your customers a reason to stop in, sit down, relax and enjoy great food and drink, the more you can do to trigger fond memories of the holidays your customers wish to recapture, the more your sales will trend upwards.
People are busy and this is where your catering services come on strong during the holidays. Whether it’s the convenience of family-sized meals-to-go, prepared entrées, side dishes or a full-blown catered holiday feast, be sure to let your customers know they can rely on you to make this one part of their celebration convenient and oh, so tasty.
Gift certificates or gift cards to your restaurant are the perfect gift for those who want to give the gift of an experience, rather than simply another gadget or trinket. Gift certificates are convenient, welcome and appreciated. Make sure your customers know you have them available. This is a good time of year to pull out all the stops in advertising their availability.
The road to success is a long one, and it takes consistent, committed effort. Review what you’ve done, what you’re doing, and how well it works for you. Always, there is something to learn. Analyze what worked well for you and why. Learn from what you see that needs to be improved. More holidays are coming throughout the year ahead. Take the best strategies from this season and apply them to Valentine’s day . . . Mother’s Day . . . and more.
We’re all in this together. At GMI, we’re here to help make sure your holidays are bright. We’re on Facebook and Twitter, we have a blog, and as a team we’re committed to helping you harness the power of your menu for the benefit of your business all year long. Contact us. We’re only a phone call or an email away.