Winter is here, as Game of Thrones repeatedly warned us. The holidays are over and customers are buttoning up their coats and tightening their belts. Restaurants can weather this seasonal slump through loyalty programs, apps, and personalized promotions.


When in Doubt, Get Endowed

Loyalty programs pay dividends. The success of this marketing strategy is explained by the Endowed Progress Effect, which states: “When people feel they have made some progress towards a goal, then they will become more committed to continued effort toward achieving that goal.”

Progress might take the form of punch cards that can be redeemed for a free sandwich or a cup of coffee. Working towards a goal keeps loyal guests coming back, while reminding them you value their experience.

Introducing a loyalty program gives you a great reason to reach out to valued guests and new customers with something that’s sure to get them excited to visit your restaurant.


App-etizing Engagement

Even when it’s too cold to go outside, modern restaurant technology makes it possible to engage your guests. It’s a great season to introduce an app that gives customers another way to interact with your restaurant. 37% of in-store sales were influenced by mobile interactions in 2016. If you’re not offering an app to your customers, you’re risking that 37% of in-store sales to restaurants who do.

Remember, though: sales should not be your only goal! Studies have shown that loyalty programs and apps that focus too much on sales lead to negative impressions, and can decrease ROI in the long term. Guests are wary of overt salesmanship and too much hype.


This Time, It’s Personal

“There is no one-size-fits-all program; every restaurant must structure its rewards and earning thresholds differently. But one truth is consistent: loyalty is about focusing on your best customers and making them feel special — the megaphone approach no longer works.” writes Zach Goldstein, CEO and founder of Thanx, in a Forbes article.

Point of Sale systems record customer data so your restaurant can personalize marketing efforts. For example: reach out to customers who bought a gift card in December and invite them back for a special deal in January.

Social media is another way to personalize your interactions with guests. Do some quick research and see who follows your posts. If 90% of your likes come students at the local university, you might want to advertise happy hour specials online. If you’re more popular with new parents, tell them about your kids’ menu!

A little loyalty goes a long way. Giving your guests extra rewards for dining in makes them more willing to do so. The weather outside is frightful, but stable revenue is so delightful!