With the holiday season just around the corner, retailers across America are preparing for annual shopping events like Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Though less publicized, preparations in the dining industry can be just as intense. QSR Magazine reported that more than 33 million Americans eat at a restaurant on Thanksgiving or Black Friday, and 1 in 10 people dine out on Christmas Eve.
Now is a great time for restaurants to prepare for the rush of holiday dining in the coming months. With a plan to maximize the value of this busier season, you can turn one-time diners into repeat customers. Here are a few holiday dining incentives to drive more people to your eatery.
Host a Special Event
It's crucial that individuals have a positive first impression of your restaurant. During this time of year, what's warmer or more inviting than a special holiday event? A gift-wrapping party with free appetizers and light refreshments — or a Christmas karaoke night during happy hour — might be just what you need to convince new guests to drop by your restaurant this holiday season.
Another easy way to encourage diners to visit your establishment during the holiday season is to offer limited items or special prix fixe menus at a discount. This is especially important for diners who are unfamiliar with your establishment, as special prices and unique items may attract shoppers looking for an inexpensive meal after a long day of browsing the stores. By enticing these holiday diners with deals, promotions and the aforementioned special events, you can get more customers in the door this holiday season and begin growing your business long-term.
Build Your Loyalty Program
Loyalty programs are a great way to encourage repeat visits all year long, and for businesses looking to turn one-time diners into repeat customers, they're especially important during the holiday season.
Restaurant owners might benefit from offering greater incentives to loyalty cardholders during the high-traffic holiday dining period, or offering freebies to diners who sign up for a loyalty program during the holiday season. Restaurant Engine reported that repeat customers account for at least one-third of revenue, despite only comprising about 15 percent of a typical restaurant's base clientele.
The holiday season is often dominated by retailers attempting to outsmart one another, but there's plenty at stake for restaurants as well. With the right strategy, you can convert opportunistic diners into loyal customers and enjoy long-term growth.