Don’t Get Caught in a January Sales Slump

Traditionally, January is a slow month for our industry. Restaurant sales are down across the board. Whether it be diners tightening their belt after the holidays, the cold, wintery doldrums keeping consumers at bay across the U.S., or revelers looking to stay home after too much celebrating, a recent NPD Group consumer trends study shows that between 2013 and 2019, traffic during the month of January was 6% lower than the average month and 11% lower than the peak month of June.

To combat January sales woes, restaurant and hospitality owners and operators are developing programs offering incentives, special menus, loyalty program promotions, the convenience of delivery & catering, and more to entice their local consumer. Here are some winning ideas to help your bottom line this winter:

We love a great loyalty program. Start the new year by building brand loyalty. Dig into your database and reach out to repeat guests with a show of appreciation with gift cards, buy-one-get-one promotions, or installing a loyalty (or bonus) program today that builds as they return throughout 2020, by way of points towards a free cocktail, dessert, or glass of wine with their meal. A little goes a long way here to establishing a connection and relationship with repeat customers.

Speak to the millions of people that start every year off on a mission to get healthier, eat better, and transform their lifestyle. Have your culinary team feature brand new, deliciously healthy dishes (from starters to entrées to dessert) and craft a fun, engaging marketing program to get new diners into your space to try your new menu. Partner with reputable, local health clubs, fitness facilities, or wellness centers to introduce guests to your healthy offerings. From plant-based burgers to interesting, healthful salads to grilled seafood to fresh desserts like homemade sorbet, diners will appreciate your speaking to them and offering them delicious, healthy food options.

If your customers aren’t coming to you this winter, then go to them. Guests want convenience and ease, especially this time of year. Cater to your post-holidays, cash-strapped, cold customers by hyping your delivery and catering services on your website, social media platforms, and a good ‘ole email blast to your database to spread the word. Getting your information out there will get your audience excited. *If you don’t offer delivery (third-party or otherwise) or a catering menu, you should. Delivery and catering are great opportunities to improve and grow your business – and your demographics.

*photo: Delivery & Catering from Founding Farmers Reston Station.