Driving New Year Business
After the excesses of Christmas and New Year’s Eve, January can seem a little flat. It’s therefore vital to pique customers’ interest by offering them something different, thereby making sure your tills keeps ringing.
Here are Take Stock’s top ideas for keeping your footfall levels up.
Happy hour and early bird specials
People like to eat and drink at venues that are alive and buzzing. So, for drinkers, offer discounted prices on beers, 2-4-1 cocktail deals or complimentary snacks and nibbles from 5 till 6.30pm. Then, to encourage food sales, have a specially priced menu for customers who arrive and order before 7:30pm.
Sampling and tasting evenings
Give people a reason to come in by running sampling evenings where they can try a range of your dishes in mini format at a special price. You’ll show them how great your food is, and they’ll leave wanting more. And to tap into the burgeoning interest in craft ales or wine, get your supplier to help you run a tasting evening.
People love to support a good cause, especially if they can have fun too! Contact local charities and offer them your venue for free, plus a share of the profits. They’ll get the punters in, and by inviting your local newspaper you’ll get some great publicity that, in turn, will attract new customers.
Online menu offers
More and more people use the internet to see what you’re offering. Make sure your whole menu can be easily found online and offer online bookings a free dessert or glass of wine.
Take out service
Cater for those who don’t want to eat out, but don’t want the hassle of cooking at home by offering a ‘take out’ service. Just select the dishes on your menu that are most suitable, get in some quality packaging, and away you go. If they like your food at home, they’ll be sure to come back to try dishes from the main menu.
Free drinks, meals or ice creams for children is a tried and tested way of attracting families. Crayons and colour-in placemats are big favourites – and if you put the finished ‘artwork’ on display, you’ll have proud parents and kids who’ll want to come back again.
Get cards printed up with your business details on one side, plus space for the customer’s name, contact details and date of issue. On the reverse have 5×5 boxes. On the top row have five different drinks, then five starters, five main meals, five desserts and five hot beverages. Stamp a square every time that person orders one of the items detailed. Five starter stamps in a row earns the card carrier a free one. Ditto the drinks, mains etc. Give the customer six weeks to complete the card – and don’t forget to make a note of their contact details for your database!
Flip for the whole meal
At the end of the meal flip a coin for who pays – you or them. Yes, the odds are 50/50, but you’ll find bookings up as people come in to try and win a free meal and spend per head will be up, as diners will opt for more expensive items as they hope not to pay – especially if you make a show of it!
Roll a die
Better odds that the coin toss, but still plenty of theatre. If the table rolls a six – they pay nothing. Anything else, they pay as normal.
Bounce back vouchers
Give customers a voucher when they leave that entitles them to a 20% discount on their next meal, valid for two weeks and available on certain nights only. Make sure your business details are clearly marked on one side so that when the voucher is stuck to the fridge as a reminder, it continues to serve as an advertisement even after the offer has expired.
Join in the #TryJanuary fun to challenge people to try something new when they come in. Mark certain drinks and/or dishes with the hashtag and encourage customers to tweet out that they’ve left their comfort zone to try something different. Great publicity and taps straight into the social media movement that’s becoming so important nowadays.
Let your imagination run free and have a great start to the new year!