Between handling takeout and delivery orders, catering, devising creative ways to handle in-house dining, and your own family obligations, the holidays can be a complete blur.

So what happens between New Year's and Valentine's Day? Don't succumb to a lull in traffic — embrace it. This is the perfect time to implement all of those ideas you've been putting on the back burner. Here are some of our own ideas that could work in your operation!

Cooking Classes

Consider hosting open-air or virtual cooking classes on slow business periods during January and February. This is a creative business builder to get people learning about your great food, quality ingredients, and talented staff. Do this in conjunction with a wine or beer tasting so that your customers can try some libations, preferably local, they may not have had. Consider offering a theme of healthy dishes for those looking to cut back on calories after the holidays, but remember that comfort food is helping folks get through the winter as well. These can be great marketing pieces as well as revenue drivers.

Don't Wait For Them To Come To You

Break out your savvy marketing skills to get the word out. Start texting and emailing your customers to remind them of special events, limited-time offers, tastings, or customer appreciation discounts. If you have a customer database, consider texting or emailing them on their birthday or anniversary. And don't forget Facebook and Twitter. If you have been putting off starting up a Facebook page or Twitter account — now is the time!

To Go

To go orders are obviously a huge part of your business right now, but they can actually spike post-New Year's due to people still seeking the convenience of food without wanting to risk the people around them before vaccinations occur. Put an emphasis on to-go meals or package deals to go. Try one appetizer, two salads, two entrees, and a dessert for a set price.

Post Holiday Gatherings

Run a catering special or event special on post-holiday gathering packages. Partner with schools, food banks, businesses, and other non-profits to raise money and supplies for those in need. Suggest that businesses send meal packages to employees in lieu of an in-person holiday event. Post-holiday deals and events can push revenue, while allowing small businesses to offer an unexpected perk.

Experiment

Most restaurants don’t have much time for research and development. Use this time to your advantage to work on new service applications, menu features, cocktail recipes, or whatever it is you have dreamed of trying but never got the chance to do.

 

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