Typically, retail dominates the holiday season; with promos and the spirit of gift-giving, the months from November to January are sales highs for retail stores. On the flip side, restaurants and quick service establishments often see a decline in sales over the winter months. What’s holding the food and beverage industry back from harnessing the power of the holidays? Tighter budgets and colder weather are responsible for driving away restaurant goers.
Quick service and fast casual restaurants are in a unique position to combat the slow month stereotype, though. Because they offer cheaper options and quicker service, busy holiday shoppers are more enticed to eat at these establishments, place delivery from their phone, or grab and go take-out.
Tips to Help You Stand Out Over the Holidays
The explosion of quick service, and specifically fast-casual restaurants, into the market has created an incredibly competitive marketplace. So how can your quick service restaurant stand out over the holidays?
1. Make It Instagrammable
Have you ever seen a whole table of customers take out their phones to snap a pic of their food before diving in? You likely said yes. And as kitschy as it may sound to design your restaurant and food to be “Instagrammable,” it’s actually an incredibly effective marketing strategy. To be the ultimate social media magnet, you can tie traditional holiday decor into your own unique decorating. The result of hundreds, or thousands of Instagrammed photos of your business or food is free advertising and can gain quick traction on Instagram. Pro Tip – make sure your social media handles are promoted in-store and online, so the user-generated content can be easily tagged.
2. Run A Social Media Contest
Another great marketing hack is to run a social media contest. Social media should be used to engage with your followers as much as it is used to share content. Want to make your customers feel extra special this holiday season? Have them come up with a secret holiday menu item and bring the best one to life! This is a great way to incorporate customer feedback in a fun and engaging way, as well as drive sales.
3. Offer Holiday Promotions
Plan your special promotions and sales ahead of time and make sure to take advantage of social media to get the word out. Facebook is a great marketing platform, Pinterest demonstrates potential ways to use your products creatively, and Instagram can reveal the more personal, behind-the-scenes story behind your brand. Got a rewards program? Gift return shoppers with a special discount when they hit your sales targets.
4. Go Modern with a Digital Loyalty Program
Loyalty programs are the gift that keeps on giving, and this is the year to modernize your loyalty program. More and more quick service establishments are moving away from paper stamp cards and plastic keychains to a mobile loyalty program that puts your business in your customers’ hands.
Customers have responded well to the introduction of mobile loyalty programs and apps. The National Restaurant Association found 50% of restaurant customers use their smartphones for rewards or special deals occasionally. And digital loyalty programs present the opportunity for increased revenue. An example of a successful digital loyalty program at a quick service establishment is Starbucks, who gets a whopping 22% of its sales directly from the Starbucks App.
5. Offer Alternate Ordering Options
Keep your sales strong with online and mobile ordering and expand convenience and choice to your customers. In today’s increasingly connected world, customers can easily order food without ever having to leave the house. Be the convenient solution that they busy holiday shopper wants. Whether through their desktop computer or smartphone, customers find online ordering simple, quick, and convenient.
Make omni-channel ordering seamless by integrating it directly with your website and POS. For first time customers, this helps remove all of the barriers that might inhibit them from trying your restaurant.
By deploying these marketing strategies you can be sure that your quick service restaurant will stand out over the holiday noise. Learn more about Revel System’s Quick Service POS, and see how a feature-rich business management platform can boost sales during the winter months.