12 Ways to Bring Customers in Despite Freezing Temperatures

draw customers out of their homes and into your restaurant

Posted: Jan. 24, 2019

Draw the crowds out of their warm homes by offering cozy amenities and hearty food.

For restaurants in cold areas, January and February can see a decline in sales. To convince people to go out, restaurants can make an extra effort to make customers comfortable. While we can’t blame anyone for wanting to stay warm, it’s also bad for sales. Below, we recommend a few things you can do to draw customers out of their homes and into your restaurant.

Thank your regulars. Regular customers are the bread and butter for most restaurants, so thank your loyal patrons this winter with a loyalty program or gift card.

Seat customers where it’s warm. Restructure your table arrangements so that fewer tables are closer to the door and nobody is sitting in a draft. For extra protection, hang heavy curtains around the front door to protect your seated guests from wind blasts.

Plow the parking lot and entryway. Offer your team extra pay to shovel the snow or hire a professional.

Don’t forget the salt. Walking a few blocks to dinner becomes dangerous when there’s ice on the sidewalk; salt the walkways and add gravel to prevent ice.

Offer valet parking. Finding parking is already tedious. In January, having to walk from one’s parking spot to the restaurant becomes a reason to stay home. Give customers the option to hop out of their cars and into your warm restaurant with valet service.

Restaurant meals to-go. It’s a good idea to try your hand at offering a meal kit service. Customers are more than happy to take a prepared meal and reheat at home. This way, you get to see even the most reclusive customer all year.

Make a “Get-Well” soup. Surprisingly, finding a delicious, wholesome soup is difficult. Prepare a hearty bone broth and offer it throughout the winter months.

Create new, seasonal comfort foods. Highlight seasonal ingredients like yams, venison, and squash, and create a Winter Food menu. Different menu items can spark renewed interested in your restaurant, especially when they are specialty comfort foods.

Present a special winter cocktail menu. Keep customers at your place for hours with a specialty winter-themed cocktail menu. Hot toddies belong on every winter menu, alongside gingerbread-inspired martinis.

Take inspiration from the Swiss. Switzerland has long cold winters, too, yet with the onset of seasonal food options, winter is almost celebrated. Highlight gamey venison stew, serve a meat-and-broth fondue special, or introduce cheese raclette to diners for a shared-dining experience.

Throw “hot” events. You want guests to forget about the dull winter outside. Throw beach-themed happy hours, book live bands or host trivia nights. Once people arrive at your restaurant or bar, keep them there by turning up the heat, lighting candles, and playing lively music.

Host Netflix-and-Chill Nights. Take advantage of the streaming service to host a Netflix-and-Chill night at your restaurant or bar. Choose the shows depending on your target demographic, for example, show both seasons of “Friends from College” to draw in the 25 to 40 age group. Another option is hosting a classic movie night, like Martin Scorsese’s “Casino.” Customers will love to shake off the cabin fever and watch with others in a group.

Online ordering. Since customers are opting to stay home, take advantage of their homebody mindset and set up online ordering.

Posted: Jan. 24, 2019 | Written By: Emma Alois

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