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Winter is coming: How to prepare your restaurant for the seasonal slump

restaurant slump

Winter is upon us which, for some, means rainfall and icy winter chills. Most people would rather hibernate when the season approaches than brave the cold outside for a bite to eat. This means your restaurant is competing against one of its greatest enemies: the bitter winter chill. And as you well know, this can influence your sales.

But, there are things you can do to draw in foodies this winter. Take a look at some ideas to up sales and help customers warm to the idea of heading out for something to eat this winter.

1. Give them a reason to brave the cold

Use the cold weather to your advantage by ensuring you have a seasonal menu with winter classics like hot, creamy soups, hearty stews and warm desserts like sticky toffee pudding. But don’t stop there. People love discounts or freebies. Create 2-for-1 specials, offer a free glass of wine with any main meal, create a winter loyalty card where members get a stamp for every meal and make the fifth one free. There are a host of different ways you can attract customers with the right deal. Once you’ve figured out how to entice your customers, make sure they know about it.


Promote special offers on online market places like Hyperli. This website allows customers to search for various special offers, including restaurant deals. Use online directories like Where2Eat to list your business and make it easy to find online. If you have your own website, and social channels, promote special offers here too.

2. Think of ways to combat the cold

Offer blankets or invest in some down heaters or wall mounted heaters – especially if you have an outside area where people like to sit. A fireplace is also a charm, it offers warmth and ambiance.

Some nights people just aren’t going to venture out, even when you’ve done all you can do. And that’s okay. But you know the saying, “if the mountain won’t come to Muhammad then Muhammad must go to the mountain”? Well there is some wisdom in it for local restaurateurs. Consider offering a convenient delivery service or partnering with UberEats or Mr Delivery in winter to drop off meals on their doorstep. Delivery management software like GetSwift can also make it easy for you to plan and retain full control of the logistics of deliveries. The last thing you want is to upset your customers with late deliveries and ice cold food.

3. Cultivate relationships with regulars

Every restaurant has the good ole faithful’s that love your spot and keep coming back each week or month. Don’t neglect to build relationships with these loyal customers. They are the ones who are probably recommending your restaurant to family and friends, and the one’s you’re going to see come rain or shine. Let them know you appreciate their business, treat them to an unexpected glass of wine on the house and make the effort to catch up with them when they pop in.

Creating more sales opportunities for your restaurant is more than doable if you think of creative, compelling ways to draw in new customers. If you’re preparing to hunker down for the winter months but are still trying to find the funds to purchase heaters, hire delivery drivers, market your specials or purchase winter produce – Lulalend can help. We offer short term business funding of up to R500 000 so that you can do all the things you need to do to see your business through the slow seasons. Our application process is quick, easy and completely online so with winter already upon us you can get fast access to make immediate preparations.

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