Be Prepared for the Post-Holiday Season Slump!

We all know that the Holiday Season is a busy and successful time for the restaurant industry. But what about what comes after? Restaurants can overcome the post-holiday slump by being proactive and creative. Not all hope is lost!

Here are some strategies that can be implemented in both the restaurant and on social media to help survive that temporary dip in sales.

1. Promote ‘Healthy’!

Health, especially at the beginning of the year, is always an engaging topic considering a lot of customers will be looking to begin and sustain their new year’s resolution of dieting and eating healthier. This is the perfect time to push and promote your healthier menu items. You can also highlight local ingredients for consumers who are looking to be more sustainable and provide insight into where you get your ingredients from.

Social Media Tip: Take some good-quality photos of your healthier menu items and push those out on Facebook and Instagram. Be sure to tag where you source those ingredients from so that your followers can have that insight – they’ll appreciate it! Don’t forget about noting whether a dish is gluten-free. Go the extra mile by creating a carousel ad or utilizing the video creation toolkit, targeting an audience with interests like “Healthy diet, New Year’s Resolution, Health & Wellness, Healthy Eating,” etc.

2. Focus on other Holidays!

Just because the holidays are over, it doesn’t mean that there aren’t still lots of reasons for people to celebrate! Here are some noteworthy holidays in which you can offer a small incentive or highlight: Get To Know Your Customers Day (January 18th), Martin Luther King Day (January 20th), National Pizza Day (February 9th), Valentine’s Day (February 14th), National Margarita Day (February 22nd), International Women’s Day (March 8th), St. Patrick’s Day (March 17th).

Social Media Tip: Come up with creative and enticing posts for the lesser known holidays that will get users to engage. Ask a question in your post that will get to know your customers better, or send a simple “thank you note” in cases like Get To Know Your Customers Day. For days like National Pizza Day or Margarita Day, consider using the poll feature in Facebook posts of “Which pizza/margarita would you choose?” to help boost engagement.

For OpenTable – sign-ups open in January for upcoming holidays like Valentine’s Day. Now is the time to start showcasing your seasonal menus and special promotions using the Marketing > Seasonal Promos feature.

3. If you show Sports, take advantage!

The start of the year is arguably the best time of the year to be a sports fan! The NFL Playoffs are in full swing culminating with the Super Bowl on February 2nd, 2020. Not to mention; Basketball, Ice Hockey and Soccer adorn TV’s most days and nights throughout January, February and March. Capitalize by running game-day specials, promoting fan favorites and advertising both take-out and delivery specials.

Social Media Tip: Highlight the teams that are local to your business, these are the games that will be most of interest to your customers. Look into your social media insights on Facebook to see where your followers are from – this may help decide which games to show on your TVs. Use your social media channels to promote specific specials, this will give people incentive to check your social pages more often for what’s happening and encourage interaction & engagement. Lastly, try and post a “live” video to Facebook showing all your sports fans getting “rowdy” and having fun watching the games. If you’re unable to do this, take pictures of fans in their Sports gear to re-post!

4. Leverage & utilize your E-Club!

After the busy and usually expensive Holiday season, it’s no secret that customers are on the lookout for great discounts and offers so the slower months of the year are the perfect opportunity to utilize your email database. Customers are resetting for the new year, making it the ideal time to both engage with the loyal customers within the e-club as well as grow your email following. Take advantage by mentioning your promotions, specials and loyalty programs in e-club communications. Promote list growth by adding a sign-up form to your website, social media platforms and including it within your check presenters.

Social Media Tip: Include a shortened, trackable link like bit.ly to gauge how many clicks you’re getting on eClub sign-ups – include this link in posts! You can even feature it in your Instagram or Twitter bio, or make it the primary CTA button on your Facebook Page. Entice users to sign up by highlighting “gifts” guests get for joining, or on their birthday. Use the Lead Generation ad feature to promote sign-ups.

5. Dare to Deliver!

It’s no secret that nowadays; a lot of customers opt to enjoy their favorite restaurant dishes from the warmth and comfort of their own home and in the colder early months of the year, this is especially prominent. Take advantage by simply promoting and highlighting your delivery options or if applicable; run a special offer available throughout January, February and March.

Social Media Tip: Bridge the connection between weather and what dishes of yours would be great to eat in the comfort of their home. Example: If you’re targeting city folks in the winter months, mention snow or the temperature in your content and what dishes are best to eat during this time. Don’t forget to add your delivery link in the post as well!

This blog was written by Fishbowl’s Joseph Sandison, Account Director & Kellie McDonald, Senior Social Media Specialist.