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Slow periods can be an incredibly difficult time for restaurants. So, how do you turn slow periods into an opportunity for growth and to test new restaurant marketing ideas? Let’s take a look:

Alternatives To Promotions

Offering discounts are not the only way to promote your restaurant.

Do you have live music? Is there a popular trivia night during the week customers could attend? Have you always wanted to run a competition but couldn’t find the time to make it happen? Try diving into some other “non-food” promotions to increase customer engagement with your restaurant’s brand.

Consider hosting a cooking class at your restaurant, highlighting one of your easy and most favorite customer dishes. You might even want to add a special night once a week that showcases a menu item you don’t normally have (i.e. burger night with a different topping each week or make-your-own pizza night). New promotions will generate fresh conversation and focus more on you as a company and team, instead of just your food.

How about a virtual event for your restaurant? To promote your takeout and delivery business, identify one night a week for customers to order online and then host a virtual trivia night via Facebook Live. An obvious prize would be a gift card to your restaurant. Maybe the prize is doubled if the winner ordered takeout or delivery from you that same night.

Develop Creative Partnerships

Now is the time to team up with nearby local businesses to get customers ordering your food.

Non-restaurant businesses may also be taking a hit to their sales. During a restaurant recession, other local businesses often feel the pain too. Consider offering a discounted item with the purchase of something from a nearby business. This enables another local business to promote your restaurant to their customers. This is one of those restaurant marketing ideas that can be a win-win-win for your restaurant, your partner business, and customers.

Time to Deliver

At times, no one really wants to go outside.

With delivery still on the rise for restaurants, having it as part of your day-to-day routine is key. Restaurants are increasingly turning to restaurant takeout and food delivery as a way to overcome stagnating traffic.

Food delivery sales have grown 20% over the past five years while restaurant traffic has flat lined. You want to keep the experience with your customers as positive as possible, so bringing food to them instead of waiting for customers to show up at your restaurant is a better strategy.

Vow to Become More Active Online

Stay active online.

Just because your customers might be ordering less does not mean they are less interested in you. According to Sprout Social, 75% of people purchased a product because they saw it on social media. Of that percentage, 60.7% needed to see a post 2-4 times from the company before making a purchase.

During slow times, restaurants are competing for less customer traffic (online and in-person). So, marketing efforts have to increase in order to grab the attention of a smaller customer pool. Take the time to nurture and beef up all of your restaurant marketing including social media, newsletters, and overall online presence (responding to online reviews, updating website photos, etc.)

Activate Your NetWaiter Site

If you want to attract more local customers and keep them informed about your restaurant, check out NetWaiter’s marketing platform and network. You can search for, and activate, your NetWaiter site and app here:


Author NetWaiter

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