Studies estimate that over 4 million people plan to stop drinking for the first month of 2019. A cut back on spending and calories from customers makes it a difficult time of year for hospitality.
As businesses typically see a sharp decline in footfall and sales during January, offering discounts can be tempting solution. However, selling everything at a lower price can harm profits. Some operators will turn to alternative strategies to avoid those post-Christmas blues.
In response to Dry January, operators are embracing “Try January”, a campaign encouraging people to try new drinks and dishes this month. The aim is to challenge people to try different items on the menu, transforming this usually dreary month into something exciting. Providing visitors with new delicious choices for a limited time is a great way to bring in trade and gives customers something to look forward to.
As people try to reduce their alcohol consumption, providing a wider selection of soft drinks can help prevent sales falling. Research suggests that more and more people are choosing soft drinks over alcoholic drinks, and not just at the start of the year. Mocktails are a great solution as they offer customers exciting tastes without losing the atmosphere that comes with drinking out.
After too many mince pies and pigs in blankets, people tend to make more health-conscious choices and this trend isn’t limited to January. Research indicates there is a shift towards healthier eating all year-round. Contributing to this movement is veganism, which has exploded in popularity in recent times. This upward trend presents an opportunity for menu experimentation, helping to keep meals fresh and exciting. People choosing where to eat as a group will be more attracted to menus that cater for everyone’s dietary needs. Increasing the number of vegan dishes, such as salads and other high yield items, can help boost profits throughout the year.
Studies have shown that people tend to avoid venues that lack an online presence. Making sure your website and social media pages are up to date is vital. You can post live videos on Facebook and Instagram to let customers know what you’re up to and highlight any special events or promotions taking place. Engaging with customers can help prevent a quiet January and showing off new products means people won’t want to miss out.
As purse strings are tightened, it is important that staff are upselling where they can to drive sales. Implementing a reward scheme for the number of additional items sold with main dishes can be a good way to incentivise employees to go the extra mile. This will increase staff engagement and keep morale up, ensuring excellent customer service.
January is the perfect opportunity to re-evaluate business strategies and internal processes. Exciting menu items and attractive events can bring in new visitors and keep regulars returning to discover something new. Expanding the menu to cater for a health-conscious market and upselling can boost January sales. Effective marketing and planning will ensure success for the rest of the year.