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How to Increase Sales Out of Season: Restaurant Marketing

by Article by Audrey DeMartinis Audrey DeMartinis | December 29, 2017 at 1:00 PM

Are you trying to increase sales during your slowest season? Do you always have one night out of the week that your restaurant is dead? Or are you just looking to drive sales? There may be no one reason for your lack of revenue, but there are many ways to spice things up (and we are not talking about seasoning)! There are many fun promotional ways to increase business in slow times and during busy seasons just for fun!


Start out by creating an event with your Facebook page. Events can occur annually, monthly or weekly! When you start an event, input an photo to represent your occasion. Then you will fill out the following; the event name, location, start and end time, category, description, any websites affiliated, and co-hosts if any, so they can edit and add information. You can promote your event through facebook and on your website.


I liked to do events with liquor distributors, such as a wine night or wine tasting featuring a wine that one of my distributors needed to sell. This way, we are helping the distributor and usually the restaurant gets a price break on the alcohol. Sometimes the distributor will provide a prize if you present the event as a contest to the staff. Distributors are good people to become friends with, not only do they want to help restaurants, together you can help reach each other's goals! This works for all alcohol or different food and dry product providers. Open up communication with them. Pick up a nice liquor with a great price point that the distributor needs to sell, and use it to create a specialty cocktail. Showcasing the liquor at your bar is also a good idea. This can be done with signs, bar mats, shaker tins and of course, the actual liquor bottles.


Contest are a fun, easy way to get your staff to push sales. The creative options are endless! Employees love these games and they add a little competitive fun in the workplace! Liquor providers like to join in on these contests and they usually supply amazing prizes or discounts on liquor that they are trying to sell. The competition drives higher sales with fun games. 



Weekly Events

These events should be set in stone and repeat every week. The promotion should be stated in your restaurant: on the menu, insert, table tent or in poster form. Promote your weekly specials on social media and on your website. You want people to see them because there is going to be a benefit for all categories of customer. Pick your favorite 7 events that would best appeal to your buyer persona, lock them in and promote them. You don't have to do an event every night, especially if you already have a few slammed nights. Pick a few and put your focus on them. Get patrons to make your establishment their place be every β€œTuesday” for ladies night. Some examples of fun promotions include:


  • 15% off senior citizen night
  • 20% off college students night
  • Hospitality night
  • Β½ off bottle of wine night
  • Extended happy hour night
  • Freak friday night
  • Ladies night
  • Mommies night out
  • Furry friends Fridays
  • Law Enforcement night
  • Date night
  • Wives Wednesdays
  • Military Monday


Whatever you decide for the theme, be consistent, have fun with it and be creative. Make sure every event or theme day/night has clear, precise rules so there are not a hundred questions the staff needs answered! Have them focused on showing the β€œtable tent” to every table, with the weekly specials clearly listed. Depending on the night, make sure you’re regulating the qualification. For example, if it's college night, you check student IDs. Or on hospitality night, you ask for pay stubs or ID badges. Be sure you have the weekly specials updated in the point of sale system. For example: Aloha Possibilities sets up an event for each evening or time so that it’s automated for a specific button. In other cases, you can create a β€œ hospitality night” button with the appropriate percentage off in the comp tab.

 No matter how you implement your promotions just make sure you stick with it! Sometimes it takes time to see a difference in sales! Be sure to promote your specials! The best way to get known is through your staff, so educate them in communicating with your patrons! Word of mouth can work and your staff is the PR team!


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