How to increase restaurant reservations during the low season
Our main objective is to support our affiliate restaurants and ensure they are fully booked all year round. We like to focus on those times of the year when attracting customers can be a bit harder, the low seasons.
That is why we want to keep you busy during those quiet months such as January and September, by implementing certain strategies that work very well.
Grab yourself a coffee and read our recommendations below:
Carry out basic actions
To begin with, it is essential that you have the basic resources that will ensure your customers have easy access to your business and from there you can increase reservations.
Profile verified and optimised in Google Business and Google Maps.
Profile on TheFork, to ensure your business is visible on our platform to thousands of customers everyday, and so you can strategically manage your reservations.
Profile on TripAdvisor, the world’s largest travel digital platform.
Direct booking buttonson your website, Instagram profile and Facebook page.
Offer specials and discounts
During low seasons, customers don’t often eat out for various reasons, including financial. January is sometimes economically difficult as customers have spent a lot of money during December and New Year celebrations, so they do not spend on restaurants.
A strategic solution is to offer them special discounts, which will sweeten the decision to eat out. TheFork allows you to modify the discount on offer, according to how busy you are. So you could offer a 50% discount on à la carte dining during a specific time, and in turn increase the availability of your reservations during your quiet times.
You can also join the X2 YUMS points system, where your customers accumulate points for each reservation they make and keep, and earn discounts when they return to your business.
Increasing publicity through storytelling sometimes has amazing results when it comes to attracting customers during the low season; it stimulates customers and gives them that extra push they need to make a reservation.
For example, tell stories about your staff, adventures in your kitchen, your business plans and upcoming events, real and satisfying customer experiences, the most delicious dishes made with seasonal ingredients, etc. These work especially well in videos and postings on Instagram
Post twice daily on the social network that works best for your business; many stories - and of course, ensure they are made with love and are of high quality - will help a lot. Send newsletters with the discounts on offer to your loyal customers, invest in targeted advertising and consider holding contests.
Oh! and it will also help if you don’t implement these strategies at the last minute; giving them time will build anticipation of what to expect from your restaurant during those quiet times.
Apply the trends
Trends in hospitality are being constantly created. Recipes, drinks, combinations, experiences that are shared and go viral, especially on Instagram; they all give us clues to what customers like and are looking for at each moment.
During the low seasons, your restaurant could offer drinks and out-of-the-ordinary dishes that will be shared on Instagram; promote them on that social network and you’ll quickly see how customers line up to try them.
In this sense, healthy, vegan and 0km food will continue to be trendy and might become even more fashionable. So choose this type of gastronomy to constantly surprise customers and attract them during your quiet times.
Participate in events
We recommend that your restaurant participate in seasonal events, which you can use to attract customers. For example, create specific menus for certain sporting events and invite your customers to watch or follow those events at your restaurant.
You could also arrange pop-up events by inviting exclusive chefs on specific days, piquing customers’ interest.
You could also participate in external events and use those events to promote your restaurant. Events such as gastronomy fairs and festivals, where customers can interact with your brand. Or events that TheFork organises throughout the year, which often have significant media visibility, created precisely to help our affiliate restaurants to always be fully booked.
And if you're not part of the TheFork family yet, now is the perfect time join us. Click here to register your restaurant on our platform and start receiving reservations as soon as possible.