Don’t Fight Against the January Detox - Use it to Market Your Restaurant!
We’re deep in the time of year that all restauranteurs fear……dreaded January.
Statistically January is a tough time for restaurants and catering companies. There are few large-scale foodie events and most people like to cut back, both in terms of food indulgence and expenditure after festive December.
January has gained a reputation as a time for health, exercise, being frugal and resisting the allure of delicious food and alcohol. Campaigns including Dry January, Veganuary and the traditional diet and exercise season have created a perfect storm, which means restaurants have an uphill battle to turn a profit.
If you’ve had a successful Christmas period, this may be enough to see you through January, but wouldn’t you rather look forward to another successful month instead of a lean period using up your December profits to stay afloat?
Last month Kitchway shared our top tips for marketing for the January season early, but now that the health frenzy of January is here, how can you tackle the January detox and get more customers through the door?
Embracing the January Detox
A reasonable proportion of the population may give into temptation and break their New Year’s resolution by hitting the wine and chocolate, but this doesn’t mean they’ll start flocking in droves to restaurants and some will have the will power to outlast your temptation marketing, at least until Valentine’s Day.
The real way to tackle the January Detox toll on your sales isn’t to tackle the detox fad at all, but to embrace it.
If your regular marketing is falling flat and no amount of deals or offers are producing the footfall you hoped, it is time to get innovative.
We recommend the old ‘if you can’t beat them, join them’ approach. Transform your menu and marketing into a temple of health.
Craft a menu with a big focus on making low calorie food truly delicious. Help people cut the carbs and focus on bright colourful food filled with fruit and vegetables.
If in the past you might have paid little heed to the needs of vegetarians and vegans, yet now is the time to think again because even many normally carnivorous patrons may be going herbivorous for January.
The great thing about healthy food is that it can be very beautiful. Fruit and veg can represent all the colours of the rainbow.
Don’t be afraid to shout about your low-calorie food and vegan menus in your marketing as soon as January starts to get on the same wavelength as your guilt-ridden prospective customers. You could even report calorie amounts for each dish on your menus.
Don’t Neglect the Power of Presentation
Some healthy food looks about as plain as it tastes i.e. like hamster food, but a creative chef can create many scrumptious meals that don’t have to stretch the waistband. The trick to convincing your guests is all in their eyes.If your restaurant usually prepares luxurious or comforting fast-food favourites, you may be worried that all this healthy eating will drive away your regulars or actually be disappointing once customers sit down to eat, but don’t forget the power of presentation.
Pay extra close attention to how you plate up and what combinations you utilise in your healthy menu. Vegan and healthy food can be a feast for the eyes with its rich greens, oranges and purples, so get creative and turn plates into colourful, jungle-like works of art.
While you’re trying your hand at colourful, healthy food for January, don’t forget the importance of choice. You can still keep your best regular dishes on offer for those customers looking to escape the month’s health fad.
Create Signature Mocktails
Dry January is one of the biggest challenges to restaurants. Much of your earnings will come via the bar and we all know skipping the alcohol is one way to save money on a meal.
This is a hard one to tackle but you can still dust off your precious barware and wow guests with non-alcoholic drinks.
To increase your profits at least a little in Dry January, don’t rely on serving soft drinks as if teetotallers are an afterthought at best and the bane of your existence at worse. Instead start taking non-alcoholic drinks seriously and create a plethora of stunning mocktails. These can be as elaborate and visually impressive as any alcoholic cocktail, in fact, even more so, because food colouring, exotic fruit juices and playful glassware presentation are going to be the name of the game if you want to charge a little extra.
Why not create an entire new menu of signature mocktails and market the bar as very much open for business to all those partaking in Dry January?
Start Marketing your Restaurant for Valentine’s Day
By late January, everyone’s resolve is beginning to crack and now you can really start to hit the good old temptation tactic in your marketing. Now is the time to ease off your short- lived health fad, just as all your customers inevitably give in and fall back on old habits.
Valentine’s Day is your first major opportunity to ensure they fall off the wagon and start booking tables with gusto. Market early for Valentine’s Day and offer extra incentives to those who book early, such as special discounts.