6 Ways To Increase Restaurant Business During Slow Months

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If your business has been doing it tough over the last few months, you’re not alone.

Restaurants are by far one of the most challenging small businesses to run – but also one of the most rewarding. There’s no better feeling than seeing your restaurant roaring with life, full of satisfied customers heartily enjoying your food.

To get you back on track, here are 5 valuable methods to increase restaurant business during those slow periods:

#1 Attractive Promotions

When it comes to attracting customers to your restaurant, running a promotion is the first strategy that comes to mind.

Nothing brings in more business like a special offer on your menu. A great first place to start is by looking at the quieter operating hours throughout the week – think mornings, mid-afternoon and weekdays like Mondays and Tuesdays.

Some examples of specials you could run are as follows:

  • Buy one, get one free (e.g. coffee and hot drinks, desserts)
  • Weekly specials (e.g. kids eat free on Mondays, $15 pizza on Tuesdays)  
  • Happy hour (e.g. during 4pm to 6pm)

While you’re at it, you can give your menu design a revamp with the use of Menuzen. As an online menu maker, its free templates and live menu management system make it easy to incorporate and update specials on your menu.

#2 Seasonal Menus

Seasonal menus are another wonderful selling point for any restaurant – as well as a great way to get creative with ingredients and produce in season.

In fact, 59% of customers are more likely to purchase menu items if they are labelled as ‘seasonal’, according to a Technomic survey. Further to this, 49% of respondents perceived seasonal menu items as more appealing than standard menu items. 

Just don’t forget to advertise your specials and seasonal menus on your website and social media. This will ensure that you convert all that online traffic into physical, paying customers.

To create and manage your own seasonal menus with ease, make Menuzen your go-to tool.

#3 Host Events

Event hosting may seem tedious, but think of it this way: if you can simply provide a space for a local figure (e.g. artist, motivational speaker) to run their workshop or event in, your restaurant will be getting free exposure to new customers!

So if you notice someone who’s stirring up the local scene, don’t be afraid to reach out to them online and offer to host their next group meetup or event, whether it’s for free or for a competitively small fee. Not only is this an effective networking opportunity, but they’ll happily promote your venue to their audience – most of which may have never encountered your restaurant.

With these new customers rolling through the door, there’ll be all the more incentive for them to spend at your restaurant and post photos online at your venue!

Once you get the hang of it all, introducing your own mini events in your restaurant such as live music and themed nights can keep up the steady flow of business.

#4 Collaborate With Other Businesses

One of the best aspects of running a restaurant is the freedom to experiment with different food concepts as you please. In saying that, here’s where collaborating with another business can help your restaurant sales to skyrocket. 

Two heads are better than one, so why not tee up with local businesses in your area and get brainstorming? The end product could be a combination of both of your signature flavours or dishes – to be available for a limited time. 

To name a few examples:

  • Burger takeaway + South East Asian restaurant = satay fusion burger 
  • Ice cream parlour + Italian restaurant = tiramisu served with earl grey ice cream
  • Bubble tea shop + Thai restaurant = Thai milk tea flavour

Not only will an exciting collaboration have your customers tasting the best of the worlds, but you can also benefit from that sweet cross-promotion.

#5 Support Local Teams & Organisations

It’s important to create camaraderie in your community – and establishing relationships with local teams and organisations is the way to do it. By providing promotions and discounts to these groups, there’s more incentive for them to dine in or advocate your business. 

Aside from dine-in business, an additional revenue stream is catering. If you know of any local professionals, businesses and charities running large-scale events or conferences, be sure to offer your catering services – maybe even at a special price. 

Not only will you be building both trust and loyalty for your brand, but the hype around your restaurant will also begin to spread via word-of-mouth.

#6 Approach Customers Online

Why not be a part of the conversation? Successful restaurant and cafe owners are no longer ones that simply wait for business to come to them. Chances are, they’re usually making the first move.

The rise of social media has allowed brands to have a voice. As a restaurant owner, you should be posting about your upcoming specials or new menu items on community-specific Facebook groups – or uploading Instagram photos and stories with the right geotags and hashtags. By doing so, you’ll be reaching hundreds (if not thousands) of new customers.

It’s all about being proactive!