How to Bring in More Customers for the New Year and Beyond
New Year’s Eve, 2018, saw restaurant sales increase by 5 percent when compared to average December sales minus holidays, according to Toast’s New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day Restaurant Trends. Not an astronomical jump, but worthy of some additional restaurant marketing strategies on one of the most celebrated holidays of the year.
Here’s another interesting statistic that will help your promoting strategy, peak hours for restaurant sales were 1pm, 7pm, and 8pm, and continued on a steady course until the ball dropped. Some more good news? The average check size increased by 12 percent!
So, just how do restauranteurs get their share of sales for the last night of the year? Here are a few tips:
- Entertainment. If there was ever a night to consider adding some type of entertainment to your venue, this is it. Consider live music, a magician, or a wandering minstrel. Immerse your guests in a unique experience and transform your establishment for one evening of pure joie de vivre by hosting a costume/masquerade ball. Let your imagination be your guide.
- Interaction. This is the night when people muse about the past and dream about the New Year about to unfold before them. It’s a time to celebrate, put on a party hat, and engage with others. To that end, many people will be looking for venues that provide this type of atmosphere. Consider a cocktail party—perfect for kitchens that are practiced in the art of creating unique and delectable tapas.
What are a few of the most successful restaurants in America doing for New Year’s Eve? Tao Las Vegas in the Venetian Hotel, with annual sales that reach over $43 million, is bringing in the New Year with Grammy Award-winning entertainment, three hours of decadent hors d’oeuvres, two hours to enjoy their premium open bar, and a Champagne toast at midnight.
Joe’s Stone Crab in Miami Beach is offering a Special Limited Menu for the big night, which they’ve already posted on their Facebook page—one that had almost 32,000 likes three weeks before the big event. Well done, Joe!
With some planning and social media strategizing, New Year’s Eve can be not only a night to remember, but a profitable end-of-the-year bash that brings in both old and new guests. The question is, now that the holidays are over, how do you keep these guests returning and more new guests heading through your doors?
Marketing for the New Year
One of the first rules of marketing is to define your target—who are you marketing to? As the New Year begins, it’s safe to assume that many people will be thinking about new beginnings and making this year better than their last. Exercise and healthy eating will be first and foremost on many of your guest’s lists of resolutions. To help them achieve their goals, consider putting together Limited Time Offers (LTO) that focus on healthier options.
Restaurant Business reported on Technomic’s Healthy Eating Consumer Trend Report which revealed the foods that the newer generations consider “health conscious” choices. These include food and drinks that are plant-forward, antioxidant-rich, immune boosting, high in protein, and gut-friendly. Ingredients that consumers look for include unique fruits and vegetables rich in antioxidants such as goji berries, acai, and chia seeds. Fermented foods high in gut-healthy probiotics are also popular and include sauerkraut, kefir, kimchi, miso, and kombucha.
Healthier options are as much about what you don’t choose to put into your mouth. To this end, many restaurant guests are searching for establishments that make it easy for them to avoid gluten, dairy, or fried foods by offering alternatives. And for those looking to cut their calories, consider offering “half portions” or a selection of tapas or small plates.
After you’ve developed appealing special offers for the New Year, be sure to shout them out on your social media platforms. Take pictures of those new healthy entrees and beverages and post them on Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat. And don’t forget to tweet about it! And then, remember to engage. According to Forbes, 71 percent of customers are more likely to recommend a company that quickly replies on their social media messages.
If you’re a hands-on, chef-entrepreneur, consider teaching your guests how you create those memorable, healthy meals by offering a cooking class that includes wine-pairing. Joy is shared, and you can be certain that your students will be talking about the meal they learned to create and the fun they had doing it at your increasingly popular restaurant.
Happy New Year!