Some nights just drag, don’t they? We’re betting Tuesday and Wednesday are the quietest nights in your restaurant. The kind of nights where you’re lucky to seat ten tables if that.
Sometimes it hardly seems like it’s worth opening at all. In a bid to attract more customers, many restaurants offer discounts and 2-for-1 deals on these slow nights. More often than not, this can leave restaurants even more out of pocket. But giving away free food isn’t the only way to promote your restaurant on a slow night.
Here are five restaurant promotion ideas that work well on a slow night.
Three restaurant promotion ideas that work
Host live music
Yes, it’s conventional. Yes, every restaurant does it. But there’s a reason so many do. It works!
Music nights may seem like an obvious answer, but sometimes the simplest solution is also the most effective. How successful you are is all down to your execution, however. Naturally, the last thing people want to listen to when they eat is heavy rock. You need to find a balance between music that is entertaining and music that creates the right atmosphere. Acoustic guitars and singers tend to work well.
When you’re looking for musicians, think local. As a local restaurant, you want people to choose to eat with you rather than the chain down the road. So what better way to show your own commitment to the community than by choosing local artists?
There’s another reason live music is such a popular choice for restaurateurs. Listening to music has been reported to increase appetite, increase the amount of food that people consume and lengthen the duration of meals. So not only can live music increase the amount of customers that you get through your door, but it can also increase the amount they spend, too.
Hold a charity event
There are other ways to increase sales and give back to the community that don’t involve making space for a musician. One way we love is to hold a charity dinner every week. Absolutely nothing has to change with your usual service; the only difference is that you give 10% of the sales to a local charity. You’ll be amazed at how many people will convince themselves to have a meal out if it’s for the benefit of a charity!
Make sure you choose a charity that is popular enough to encourage patrons to spend their hard-earned cash. Again, local charities work best—think schools, kids programs, and neighborhood redevelopment funds. Make sure that you change the charity every week in order to keep things fresh and work with your chosen charity to promote the event. Most charities will be great at getting the word out.
Take things one step further by inviting the charity to provide a guest bartender for the night (if you have a bar, that is). They can create a range of cocktails that can be served to guests with tips and a portion of sales also going to the charity.
Put on a tasting night
Even your most loyal regulars need an excuse to come to your restaurant more than a couple of times a month, and a tasting night could be it. There are two core directions you can go with this.
The first is to offer a food-based tasting night. This is where you offer a tasting menu of dishes that are not usually on your main menu. But these shouldn’t be any old dishes. They should be something truly special. The kind of thing that gets people off their sofas on a Wednesday night. The kind of thing that guests will tell their friends about. Create a theme to your menu (vegetarian, vegan, etc.) or hire a guest chef to create their own specialty menu.
The second route is to host a wine or beer tasting night. Which you choose will depend on your type of restaurant and the food that you serve. But both can draw a big crowd. Like a food tasting event, make sure there is a particular theme to your night. Wines from a particular area or local beers both work well. Bear in mind, though, that you’ll probably need to use a little trial and error to find the most popular night. If public transport isn’t great in your area, you may struggle to draw a crowd on a weeknight.
Whatever event you choose, make sure you commit to it 100%. There’s nothing worse than going to one of these events where the hosting restaurant clearly hasn’t thought things through or is giving a half-hearted effort. Great experiences are the only sure fire way to keep customers coming back.
If you need help promoting your restaurant, further, reach out to our consultants today.