The Restaurant & Takeaway Innovation Expo

15 & 16 JUNE 2021

ExCeL LONDON

4 Creative Ways To Boost Diners During The Seasonal Period

The seasonal period is upon us, and it’s the perfect time to boost profits by capitalising on Christmas spending habits. But you’re not alone in chasing after these customers — you’ve got competition, and that means you need to get creative.

To help you get a headstart against the competition, we’ve listed four creative ways to boost diners during the seasonal period. Bon appetit.

Embrace the power of targeted social influencers

Influencers are a powerful tool for driving awareness and engagement. Thanks to their deep reach across a variety of social platforms, they’re effective throughout the year. But at Christmas, they are especially useful for increasing footfall in your eatery.

You might already know influencers in your industry. You might even have worked with them before. If not, now is the time to do so.

Trawl industry hashtags on social to find individuals who regularly use them to promote their restaurant reviews. Once you’ve identified them, reach out to them and request a collaboration.

This collaboration can take many forms, but the best way to boost diners during the seasonal period is to hold a special influencer-only event just before the Christmas period begins. Use this opportunity to share your Christmas menu with your influencers, encouraging them to share photos, videos, and reviews of your food on their profiles.

Lean on technology to draw new diners in

During Christmas, food businesses would do well to take inspiration from high street retailers outside the food industry when it comes to increasing customer footfall. One such example of this that embodies creativity and technological savvy is proximity marketing.

Used by several retailers as a means of reaching customers, proximity marketing involves using existing wi-fi, Bluetooth, or beacon technology to send targeted messages to individuals when they enter a geographical location around your business.

At this time of year, high street footfall is higher due to Christmas shopping. Even with the rise of online shopping, people still hit the streets to meet friends, check out the shops, and, of course, dine out.

These messages can be anything you like, but strive for uniqueness and creativity — you want to cut through the noise and give your customers a reason to visit you. Embrace a unique tone of voice and make your offering clear e.g. “need a break from Christmas shopping? Take five for our three-cheese mac & cheese”. They could also offer a discount code as an added incentive for prospective diners too.

This useful guide breaks down the technical aspects of proximity marketing so you can embrace it for your own business. Initial investment might cost a little, but it’s worth it for reaching your customers directly via their phones when they’re out on the high street.

Extend your pop-up restaurant strategy

 Setting up a pop-up restaurant is, while by no means a walk in the park, still relatively easy compared to setting up a permanent residence. Even if you already operate a street food van, extending your presence is a good way to increase awareness of your offering over a wider geographical range.

There are a few options open to you here. Many eateries opt for the guest kitchen route, setting up shop in a bar or pub and selling their menu to customers there. This has the added advantage of affordability combined with a steady stream of customers.

Alternatively, you could opt for a more community vibe by looking for a guest spot at a food market. BOXPARK in Shoreditch is a good example of this.

This method takes advantage of the high concentration of customers who are already out on the street for Christmas shopping or a sporting event, so you can quickly increase diners by capitalizing on their existing presence.

Create a memorable experience that customers love

Studies suggest that people who spend more on experiences, rather than material things, are happier than those who do otherwise. And the same applies to your customers too.

Diners today love nothing more than a restaurant that offers something beyond traditional food and drink.

A positive experience is the building blocks of memory. Offer your diners something memorable and one-of-a-kind, and they’ll return and recommend you to their friends.

While this is something you can pursue all year round, during the seasonal period, this experience might take a more specific form. For instance, you might transform your dining space into a grotto — think the traditional kind rather than the tacky ones you find in shopping centres.

This authenticity gives your restaurant an unusual edge. It piques your diners’ curiosity, compelling them to tell their friends and family about it afterwards, increasing footfall further.

Of course, this is just an example. You know your eatery best, so you know what will work for it and what won’t. Get creative and craft a unique experience that matches your eatery’s branding and resonates with your customers.

The Christmas period is a lucrative one for virtually all retailers, and restaurants and eateries are no exception. Follow the tips above and take advantage of seasonal spending to boost diners and increase profits for your own business this Christmas.

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