While none of us like to admit it, I think it’s time we all acknowledge that the holidays are ending, and a cold, blustery winter has finally arrived (at least for those of us in the Midwest). The holidays in December act as a nice distraction from the dreary months that lie ahead, but now it’s time to wrap ourselves in blankets, resort to the couch and binge-watch Netflix until the warmth of the sun returns.
For many restaurant owners, these are dreaded times, too. Consumers are staying home instead of braving the icy roads or fighting for a parking spot. In fact, a report from NCR stated that 43% of adults indicated that bad weather impacts their dining plans. This translates to slower foot traffic and a decline in sales. Just last year, eating and drinking sales dropped a total of 8% from December to February.
Rather than accept this gloomy forecast, our insights team discovered a few ways that restaurants can boost sales, increase traffic and beat the winter blues.
Discounts, discounts, discounts.
A recent study showed that 59% of adults are likely to leave the house if a restaurant offered a two-for-one special. Additionally, 58% said a discount off their bill or a free menu item would lure them in. Offering sizeable discounts such as these can help reward consumers for braving the cold and dining at your restaurant. The discount has to be big enough to lure them in, but too steep of a discount could hurt sales in the long run, as consumers will begin to expect equivalent deals throughout the year.
Dinner at your door.
Though unwilling to brave the cold, consumers are still craving restaurant fare. Nearly 62% of consumers are more likely to order in than go out. Restaurants that offer “on-the-go” services should cater their discounts around to-go or delivery orders. So while in-store sales may be lacking, to-go order sales could get a boost.
Mobile and email messaging.
Millennials are especially likely to use mobile devices to identify take-out or delivery options during bad weather, with 52% indicating they’ve done so previously. By using text messaging or email updates to deliver special deals, restaurants can reach a younger audience with growing spending power.