In a few weeks, we all will be saying goodbye to 2018. With the year coming to a close and with the holidays quickly coming up, there is a ton on our plate (no pun intended!) More people are choosing to dine-out or order-in during the season’s other holidays, so if you aren’t prepared – it’s time to take charge.

Independent restaurants that stayed open on Christmas and New Year’s Day increased profits by 40-50% compared to average days, according to CAKE data. Don’t miss out on this huge opportunity to make some extra money by preparing for January 1.

Move to Inbox

One of the best ways to reach your customers before ringing in 2019 is through email. Leading up to the holidays, customers will be receiving email after email – so one would assume that it would be good to take a break from hitting those inboxes. However, once the holidays have died done for a few days, it’s the perfect time to get customers going again. At the beginning of the year, customers are still anticipating restaurants to reach out to them, especially on a holiday that is all about celebrating! To really embrace some smart marketing tactics, instead of sending one email to your entire list, segment your list and send them emails directly related to items they have ordered before and would be more interested in. If customers have ordered a specific menu item in the past – and it just happens to be the menu item you are running a New Years special for! – they should receive a special email. Keep your customers engaged even after the holidays so they don’t get ignored and turn to another option.

New Year, New Deal

With New Year’s Eve being one of the biggest nights of the year, customers are looking for ways to get some good food and even better deals. Because there will be a lull in the amount of emails and marketing deals hitting your customers’ inboxes and social media pages, take advantage of the situation ahead of time to inform them about your NYE specials. Restaurants that have seasonal items on their menu report 26% more sales. The reality is, your customers aren’t going to put a special reminder on their calendar about your deal, but when the time comes late at night and they’re hungry to order food from their favorite restaurant – they will remember receiving your email or seeing your social media post ahead of time which will get them to commit on the purchase a few weeks later. Whatever special you decide to have, be sure to market it across all of your social media platforms and on your online ordering page.  

Become a Fortune Teller

Not many people are able to come up with creative content and deals without having to thoroughly plan and prepare. Put aside some time the next week to come up with some solid New Year’s Eve deals that will really entice your customers. Then, write out in an excel file or directly into your social automation tool what content you would like to post during the holiday season and into the New Year and schedule it ahead of time. You know you will be incredibly busy (personally and professionally), so knocking out your social media strategy will be a huge relief. If you don’t put in enough time to craft your posts, the quality of those posts will suffer. As a result, you could miss out on a lot of great opportunities to attract customers. Post images that the customers want to see, highlighting menu items that are customer favorites and special items that are only available for a limited time.

All Aboard!

While bringing out the champagne is the most exciting part of many New Year’s Eve parties, food consumption is also up there.  According to Google Trends, the search interest for “new year’s eve menu” has increased by more than 47% over the past 3 years. Customers will be looking for food before/after the ball drops, so your restaurant should be ready for the rush. Your special should be front and center on your website and online ordering menu. Also make sure your staff is well-versed and ready to communicate any special deals that might come in via phone calls.

“The data shows that small business owners have a great opportunity in the last three months of the year to increase profits, but it requires careful cash-flow planning,” said Scott Rosenberg, CFO of Kabbage, a global financial services company that conducted the survey. “As a former retail industry executive, I’ve seen first-hand how seasonality can turn a good year into a great year and how critical it is to be financially prepared to manage climbing costs to reach higher profits.”

Another way to increase holiday sales without spending a lot is implementing more effective marketing strategies, said Dan Goldstein, president and owner of Page 1 Solutions. He also suggested the following tips:

  1. Launching a paid social media campaign (Facebook and Instagram for most audiences) targeting potential customers. “Make sure you have a good database or you narrow down the reach of your campaign so that it only targets people in the right demographic groups and is limited geographically to your potential customers,” he said.
  2. Adding a geofence display ad campaign targeting people who are within a very narrowly defined area, f example, people leaving a movie theater at certain times
  3. Creating an enticing offer.

“From social media to special offers, there are many ways for a business to market their services and products around the holidays,” Goldstein said. “However, boilerplate messages and standard ads don’t help your business stand out. Superior marketing strategies for the holiday season combine festive messaging with content and collateral that capitalizes on consumer trends, questions, concerns and goals for the end of the year, all while conveying a consistent and engaging brand identity for the business.”

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