Keep your customers falling for you!

William Lilly, Email & Social Media Specialist
William Lilly, Email & Social Media Specialist

The back to school bustle is upon us, a crispness is captivating the air, and pumpkin is beginning to pop up everywhere. It’s fall.

In the restaurant industry, this means some are riding high off the busy tourist season, whereas others are in need of normalcy. Whichever the case may be, the fall is a key time to focus on drawing in customers in before the full fledge holiday season is upon us—a time where restaurants are shown to experience as much as a 60% decline due to the simple tendency of more people eating at home.  Before this, it’s the key period to effectively use seasonally driven content to draw in customers—both loyal and new customers alike. Here are a few ideas for navigating the seasonality of all things fall.

Embrace the Pumpkin.  Whether it’s the seasonal staple we love, or love to hate, it has its place on a menu and in your marketing efforts. There’s a reason Starbucks has sold over 200 million pumpkin spice lattes and that Trader Joes’ shelves were stocked with over 70 pumpkin-centric items last year.

  • Find Your Place with Pumpkin – Know what you can “pumpkin” well and let this content speak for itself in simplified marketing campaigns. Send your loyal customers a simple announcement email about that pumpkin (pie, beer, risotto, etc.) that’s now on your menu.
  • Pumpkin Promotion – If you want to tie in a special offer to these pumpkin emails or social media postings, consider an offer like a discount or complimentary pumpkin dessert upon the purchase of dinner.

“Share” Your Seasonal Specialty. If you’re one of those that will never actually give in to the pumpkin party, let your other seasonal specialties shine. From apple-anything to butternut squash, pears, and pomegranate, there are so many other flavors of the season to fall in love with.  These flavors encompass warmth, so let your marketing efforts do the same. Nothing quite says warmth like sharing—both physically and digitally.

  • Refer a Friend – When promoting your fall items, encourage your current eClub to pass along the email to their friends, who may have never frequented your restaurant before. If both friends come in the restaurant and present their emails, offer them a complimentary and shareable, seasonal dessert.
  • Social Media Sharing – Encourage your audience to “share” your posts about the latest seasonal items. If the guest “shares” the post and presents this in the restaurant, offer them a complimentary seasonal offering.

Celebrate the Fall Festivity. Nothing can draw in customers to your restaurant like special events. They are a fun time to see those familiar faces of loyal guests, but are also a great time to showcase your restaurant to first timers. Plus, people tend to almost always bring company to events! Before we’re swept away in the Halloween—Thanksgiving—Christmas chaos, here are a few other event ideas to consider:

  • All-Things-Apple – October is National Apple Month. Team up with a local purveyor or farm and come together to showcase local produce with your restaurant’s spin. This can be a more formal prix fixe dinner or keep it casual and throw a side of “apple bobbing” in the mix.
  • Harvest Wine Dinners – By now, Harvest season is in full swing at vineyards. Pay homage to your favorite vineyards and all of their hard work by hosting a special pairing dinner in your restaurant.
  • Charitable Causes – With the “giving” spirit of the holidays upon us, consider hosting an evening where part of your proceeds go to a local organization. The late fall and winter months can be a time of such need for food and clothing. Bonus: National Food Bank Week is in October!

Keep your customers falling for you by focusing on which of these campaigns can work for you during this seasonal time of year!

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