January and February are notoriously slow for restaurants. The cold weather is just one factor that keeps customers in their homes instead of dining out. In addition to the cold keeping customers away, things like major sporting events, concerts, and other activities are taking the cake and bringing people together in different ways. People are spending more time with their families and friends, entertaining guests, and preparing their own meals. It’s the season for communion, but restaurants have to compete for a smaller pool of diners during these months.
One solution to get more orders this month is to offer carry-out and delivery options. Many of the people who are staying home due to the cold don’t want to get dressed and sit down to eat at a restaurant. Instead, they want to be home in front of their fireplace, with their family in pajamas enjoying a cozy meal. Make that possible by including take-out and delivery options, and be sure to advertise that you have them on your website and social media accounts.
In the spirit of communion, get creative if you’re really slow this month by offering cooking classes. People love events and ways to spend time with family and friends, and this is the perfect way to do it. Pick your slowest time and day to host one or two-hour cooking classes and watch the opportunity pour in! Again, make sure to advertise these classes and have a sign-up list, so you know who and how many people are attending. Word of mouth is a great way to promote this type of event, so get your servers to mention it to diners over the days leading up to the event. Of course, always advertise on your website and social media accounts. Signage will also go far toward getting your message out there! Who knows, maybe the classes could become a regular thing for your business during its slower times.
Use the holidays to your advantage by creating food and drink specials around them. We’re coming up on holidays, including Valentine’s Day, which is an excellent opportunity to sell creative food and drinks. Draw traffic to your restaurant by offering Valentine’s plate specials for two, BOGO drink options, and exclusive promotions to those subscribed to your emails. Create a custom pink drink or offer red wines on your menu to enhance the romance. You can even make an event out of it on Valentine’s Day and offer a special prix fixe menu with three courses for couples wanting to celebrate. An all-day affair complete with candles and flowers on the table will attract couples who may not have visited your restaurant before. It’s also an excellent opportunity to experiment with some new recipes! Advertise what you’re offering with signage, social media posts, table tents, and word of mouth as usual. Make sure that there is signage visible from the outside of your restaurant for passers-by to see!
Remember the vast number of patrons whose New Year's resolutions include eating healthier. With that in mind, if you don’t already have a few healthy options on your menu, now is the time to add them! You may be a burger joint that mainly serves pub-type foods, which are often not the healthiest choices. Offer some on-theme but healthier options like hot wings, which are high-protein, low-carb options. A nice chopped salad can go a long way with ingredients like tomato, boiled egg, and grilled protein. Including these options helps make your restaurant more inclusive to all diners and their goals. Make sure to update your menus so that patrons know what you offer and advertise new items by highlighting them on your menu. Simply bolding and strategically placing these items on your menu can draw diners’ attention to them. As always, putting signage and table tents out to advertise your new items is a great way to communicate what you have to offer. The best way to quickly get the message out is by posting to social media and letting everyone know you’ve updated your menu.
Make sure to have take-out menus readily available in addition to your regular food and drink menus. Many people will grab one to bring home and stick it on their refrigerator for when they’re ready to order from your restaurant again. Having it right there with them increases the chance you’ll get a repeat customer next time they’re hungry.
The best place to order menus for your restaurant is our TerraSlate website. In addition to being waterproof, antimicrobial, and antiviral, your menus can be customized to be folded or coiled for a specialized look. While take-out menus aren’t waterproof, they are practical for disposable use, unlike our regular TerraSlate Waterproof menus. TerraSlate Waterproof menus are highly durable and will last beyond many years of use, which in turn results in less waste for your restaurant and our planet. Don’t forget table tents, too! Made from TerraSlate, our table tents are waterproof and can be easily wiped clean time and time again. Check out our website today and explore the features and benefits of using TerraSlate menus!