Low temperatures mean fewer people are willing to venture outdoors, opting to stay cozy in their home instead. For restaurants, this can be an issue—it means dwindling business, more empty tables, and less income.
However, it doesn’t have to be that way.
Many restaurants manage to draw in steady business in the winter despite all the challenges that come with the snowy season, so how exactly do they do it? Let’s take a look at the best tips so that restaurants in winter can continue to thrive.
Offer a Seasonal Menu
No one says that your menu has to be the same all year round. It’s often a good idea to switch it up, retiring dishes and bringing out new ones, so that regular customers have the chance to try something new.
In winter, you could offer some turkey-themed dishes to celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas. Consider a drink menu that has some particularly winter-themed elements, like mulled wine or an alcoholic hot chocolate, so your customers can stay toasty even when the snow is falling.
Make sure to emphasize that these items will disappear at the end of winter and are for a limited time only, so your customers will be drawn through the cold into your restaurant rather than trying to wait the cold season out.
It’s not quite the same as people sitting down in your restaurant, but offering takeout and delivery is another great idea to attract business in winter. You can hire your own delivery drivers or partner with one of the major apps (like UberEats or Doordash) to bring food right to your customers’ doors.
Make sure you research what the most popular delivery app in your area is before committing, as this could make a huge difference. You can also offer deals and rewards through the app.
Consider Offering Valet
Another service that your customers might greatly appreciate is valet service. Bringing in business in winter is partially difficult because people don’t want to spend too much time in the cold outdoors, and even walking from the parking to the front door might seem like a steep challenge.
A valet service means they don’t have to!
A simple thing you can do to make your restaurant accessible and appealing in the winter is ensure you salt and shovel walkways.
If there’s snow blocking the way, clear it so people have an unobstructed path to your restaurant. If there’s ice, make sure to lay salt down so people can walk without slipping. If you’re low on salt, cat litter is another great alternative!
Not only does this keep your customers safe, but it keeps the restaurant looking inviting for those who might wander or drive past, looking for a place to stop and eat.
Host Some Holiday Events
Winter is the best time to host holiday events. As the chilly season rolls in, Halloween launches a stream of major holidays, including Thanksgiving and Christmas. There are plenty of opportunities to host some events in the days surrounding each!
If you don’t want to host an event based on a particular holiday, you can always choose a general winter-themed evening. Combine it with the launch of your new holiday-exclusive items, or offer one-night-only drinks that patrons must stop by to get.
While you’re thinking up holiday events and mixing up some delightful winter cocktails, it’s important to remember to market your business well. This includes:
- Posting about your deals, food and drink specials, and events on social media
- Responding to customers’ questions and keeping an eye on feedback
- Updating your website so all of the information is current
It’s wonderful to put a lot of effort into your restaurant in winter, but your potential patrons need to know you’re doing so! Make sure your contact information is up to date, though, so they can reach you with any questions.
Winterize Your Patio
For restaurants with a patio, drawing in customers when it’s cold can be even more difficult. Dining outdoors in winter doesn’t sound like a particularly appealing idea on its own.
All hope is not lost though! Surround your patio with vinyl curtains to help trap that heat in and keep the cold at bay. Our vinyl curtains have cold crack protection, non-corrosive hardware, and come in a variety of colors—including clear—so your customers can enjoy the snow without having to feel its bite.
As well as protecting your patio with curtains, other winter patio ideas you could use include installing heaters to keep everything feeling cozy and ensure your customers are comfortable enough to keep coming back for more.
Consider offering dog bowls of water on the patio, too, so people can bring their pups with them if you’re open to making your patio dog-friendly!
Business in Winter Doesn’t Have to Suffer
Owning a restaurant in winter can seem like a brutal offer when business dwindles—but it doesn’t have to be. In fact, your establishment can still thrive as long as you put the effort in.
Looking to winterize your patio? Contact us today for more information on our vinyl curtains and let us help your restaurant get the attention it deserves.