How to Overcome Seasonality Losses
Owning a restaurant can be an overwhelming business. On one hand, you get the excitement and satisfaction of creating different flavour experiences through your dishes, but on the other hand, you are also faced with constant challenges. Challenges that you must overcome if you want to succeed long term.
One example and the most common challenge is seasonality. Although restaurants feel this ‘pain’ in different ways or even on different occasions, they all experience a slow season. They can be affected by type of weather, location, and even menu.
Seasonality vs Menus
For restaurant owners, the prospect of implementing seasonal menu changes can indeed appear challenging. It may involve tasks such as introducing new dishes, adjusting your menu management system, and providing training for your staff – potentially requiring significant effort. Furthermore, there's a legitimate concern that making these changes could disrupt the consistency of your menu design.
However, it's important to note that with careful planning and execution, this is manageable, especially if you have someone 100% focused on doing this management while you can focus on other dine-in operations.
In fact, by thoughtfully integrating seasonal items into your menu, you can enhance the dining experience by infusing freshness and variety into your offerings which will only increase your number of orders since 49% of consumers think a seasonal menu is more appetising.
As far as consistency is concerned, you won’t lose customers – as long as your restaurant is delivering the same gastronomic experience again and again.
🔍 Tip: Use Social Media for leverage: Before launching your new/updated menu, study your potential and loyal customers via your social media accounts, by sharing photos of dishes and asking which is their favourite dish. The ones with more votes or interactions, use them on your menu.
Furthermore, you can also leverage from delivery platforms’ data to track customer trends and preferences, helping you make informed decisions on menu changes and promotions.
But, what is seasonality in the restaurant market?
Seasonality can be related to factors like weather, holidays, or other events that are reoccurring, and it happens when you are having a fluctuation of business - sometimes you can’t make space for anyone else, and other times you struggle to fill your restaurant.
For the weather part it is most common to dine out during warmer months, due to the comfort of being outside after finishing your stressful day inside an office, or just because you are on vacation and it’s more enjoyable to eat outside or on a terrace. That’s why most restaurantes experience their biggest success during the warmer months, especially if the restaurant is near a beach.
However, during winter, customers feel less keen to go out in the cold just to reach a restaurant - that’s why you should pay more attention to your presence on delivery platforms.
Summer vs Winter
Over the years, extensive studies have consistently shown a strong connection between how people act as consumers and the prevailing weather conditions, with 90% of restaurant owners stating that changes in weather conditions impacted their sales. This relationship has a significant impact on the restaurant sector, as elements such as temperature, humidity, sunlight, and rainfall subtly shape various aspects of dining experiences. These factors influence whether individuals choose to dine out, their overall mood during their meal.
This season is usually seen as the peak season for restaurants, but we can’t say the same for delivery. This can also depend on location: if you are near the beach that’s a BIG YES, but if you are close to a school/university, you need to find a new strategy to ensure your numbers. Here, delivery might be a good option combined with social media advertisement.
Regarding delivery, consumers may be more likely to purchase refreshing drinks, cold meals (eg.: salads), or light foods that pair better with warm weather.
🔍 Tip: With the changing of seasons, the variety of ingredients/products also suffers a transformation. If your menu is relatively small, you have the flexibility to incorporate seasonal offerings effortlessly. This approach will cultivate anticipation among your customers as they eagerly await your menu updates and look forward to trying the latest creations.
Commonly, cold weather encourages people to spend more time at home, thus they are less likely to dine-out, leaving restaurants with a decrease in the number of dine-in customers.
By contrast, a restaurant that has his restaurant on delivery platforms may experience a constant flow of business because customers are able to order online and have meals delivered to their homes. Delivery platforms can help you hit targets during winter months. You can offer winter specials so that customers can enjoy them at home when they can’t visit.
Promotions, promotions, promotions - just make sure that you are doing the most suitable ones for your business -, such as 2x1 deals, 20% off the check, free appetiser or a free dessert.
🔍 Tip: To make sure that your delivery riders can take orders to customers’ doorsteps safely, it’s important to be honest with your customers about deliveries being slower than usual. To make sure that potential customers know about this, you can share on your social media to inform customers before they order.
This might motivate trust and service satisfaction, which might turn into customer loyalty and make your restaurant top-of-mind when ordering.
Understanding and effectively managing seasonality is essential for restaurants operating on delivery platforms
And for that, we have data, which helps to adapt to changing customer demands and to optimise resources, enabling restaurants to maintain profitability and customer satisfaction throughout the year.
Data shows updates on sales, costs, menu performance, and more. You can understand your sales patterns, allowing you to identify your best and worst seasons using factual data as a basis, thus being prepared to face any challenge.
Here, you can find some general insights into how seasonality affects restaurants and how their presence on delivery platforms can help minimise these effects.
1️⃣ Being on delivery platforms can help restaurants reach a wider audience during low seasons, potentially reducing revenue losses;
2️⃣ During cold/rainy weather, delivery orders may increase, helping to offset losses from dine-in customers;
3️⃣ Be present on multiple delivery platforms to reach a broader customer base and reduce dependence on a single platform.
4️⃣ Use sales data from delivery platforms to optimise your inventory and reduce waste.
Finally, pleez do not forget that the impact of seasonality can be different to everyone, which means that it’s essential to continuously analyse your data on sales and customer behaviour to tailor your strategies to your specific circumstances.