Happy friends toasting beers

In many areas of the world, winter poses a significant issue for restaurant owners. Cold weather results in reduced business since diners are more hesitant to leave the comfort of their homes. However, there are certain steps restaurants can take to limit the negative effects of winter. The following is a list of six winter restaurant promotions that can help drive business.

Holiday Dining

With Christmas, Hanukkah, New Year’s Eve, and Valentine’s Day all taking place during the winter, restaurants have several holidays they can leverage to increase business. Valentine’s Day in particular, and the weekends surrounding it, are an especially popular time for couples to dine out. According to the National Restaurant Association, Feb. 14 is the second busiest day of the year for restaurants. To capitalize on the popularity, restaurants should accommodate diners by offering a special experience. Whether it’s by changing décor or providing a unique menu, going the extra mile will help your restaurant draw in more customers.

Cold weather results in reduced business since diners are more hesitant to leave the comfort of their homes. However, there are certain steps restaurants can take to limit the negative effects of winter.

Gift Cards

Another way to capitalize on the winter holidays is by offering restaurant gift cards. Once Thanksgiving rolls around, everyone is on the lookout for the perfect holiday gift. A gift card to a great restaurant is never a bad option. Offering gift cards is an excellent way to drive business while also bringing in new customers, perhaps diners who otherwise wouldn’t have given your restaurant a chance. If all goes well, you’ll have every opportunity to turn them into regulars.  

Holiday Parties

Local businesses often seek out restaurants that can host large holiday parties. Whether these businesses rent out a whole restaurant or book a big table, their holiday parties can be significant revenue sources. Because these businesses will likely be spending plenty of money on food and drinks, restaurants might want to entice them by offering special discounts. If the holiday parties run smoothly, businesses will likely want to return to your restaurant in the future for other office celebrations, and individual employees will come back with friends and family.

Holiday table at a restaurant

Freezing Cold Temperature Discount

When it’s freezing cold outside, customers often need a little extra motivation to venture out of their warm homes. A winter restaurant promotion like a cold weather discount can be the perfect solution. If the outside temperature dips below a certain threshold, reward customers who make the trip to your restaurant by giving them a free appetizer or dessert. The freezing weather discount temperature should depend on where you’re located. For instance, 25°F is a lot colder relative to New York norms than North Dakota averages. You’ll want to use the promotion not just for a regular winter day, but for one that is notably frigid.

Seasonal Foods and Drinks

Altering your menu so it includes special winter meals can help attract customers who otherwise would be happy to eat at home. Classic winter dishes like soup and stew should ideally be on every restaurant’s menu when the weather drops into freezing territory. Hot chocolate and tea also make great additions. If you offer a wide range of beers, be sure to update your selection so it features season-appropriate dark ales, spiced beers, stouts, and porters. These little menu tweaks might not seem like much, but they can give diners enough reason to brave the cold and enjoy a night out at your restaurant.

Goulash, beef stew in cast iron pan, top view, close upDelivery Service

Sometimes there’s simply no way to convince someone to leave his home and make a trip to your restaurant. Maybe it’s too cold, windy, or snowy outside. It’s during times like these that an online ordering and delivery service can help increase revenue. Even if your restaurant doesn’t ordinarily offer delivery, the harsh winter weather might make doing so worthwhile. When hiring delivery drivers, try to find someone who has a truck with all-wheel or four-wheel drive. Since these vehicles thrive in snowy conditions, they help ensure the driver and food remain safe throughout the delivery.

While these winter restaurant promotions can help your restaurant boost income during slow business months, there are certainly other approaches you can take. If none of the listed ideas appeal to you, try rounding up your restaurant’s staff and having a brainstorming session. Multiple minds are always better than one, and you just might discover a promotion idea that you think is perfect for your particular restaurant.

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Jason Vigotsky is the Content Writer for Culinary Depot, a company that distributes restaurant equipment and designs commercial kitchens. He is responsible for writing blog posts, posting to social media, and updating product descriptions. Jason has a genuine curiosity about the restaurant industry, and his blog posts cover a wide range of interesting topics.