How to Get More Than Your Fair Share of This Year’s Holiday Restaurant Spend

Well, Q3 was a disappointment; we all know that.

However, most of my clients did OK – because we have correctly managed the brand and value proposition and kept costs in line.

But brands that entered Q3 in a weaker position struggled on flat sales or worse.

Now that Q4 has started, I’m excited, not only for the holidays but for the holiday spend they bring.

My wish or you is to enjoy the holidays this year, and to enjoy more than your fair share of the holiday spend.

But I also want you to understand that the holidays will teach you something: how productively you operate in today’s environment.

Matthew’s 3 Action Areas for Capturing Holiday Spend

At the end of the year, where do people like to celebrate most?

At the places they enjoyed during the year – the ones to which they feel most psychologically and emotionally connected, where those glowing memories reside.

And how can you help ensure they’re feeling connected to your restaurants?

  1. Marketing. Be ready to send the message of celebrating the end of the year in your restaurants, through marketing with images of guests (and especially social media campaigns, where you already have the attention of your biggest fans). If you don’t have the audience and the ability to deliver social media messages that stand out from the doom scrolling clutter, you’ve just spotted an issue you must correct.
  2. Sales. Salespeople are in their version of the Super Bowl right now (and calculating the size of their commissions). If you don’t have dedicated salespeople, deploy managers to identify your most loyal and passionate guests. At table visits, they talk excitedly about business and social holiday entertaining (and start calculating the size of their Q4 bonus checks). If managers don’t do meaningful table visits or can’t identify top regulars, this reveals yet another issue.
  3. Gift cards. Chain restaurants’ gift cards populate end caps at Walgreens, CVS, and Target, where customers also buy laundry detergent, socks, and ibuprofen. Consider how many gift cards you could sell in your actual restaurants populated by happy guests! A robust gift card program, physical and digital, translates to cash flow’s best friend. How will you top last year? A holiday reminder in the steps of service remains a great tactic. If you don’t have a program, reflect on FOMO, stop reading this right now and start work. Being underprepared for revenue counts as still another issue that must be addressed.  

Finish the year strong.

That’s what I work on with my clients every day. 

Focus on these three fundamentals. They can help you not only have a strong Q4, but can give you knowledge about whether your company is effectively prepared to pivot to maximize revenue and profit – or whether it is, distressfully, too inflexible to maximize your net worth.

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