How Restaurants Can Drive More Revenue and Diners this Labor Day Weekend
August 20, 2020
Restaurant marketing tips and ideas to promote online ordering, meal kits, virtual classes and more.
Labor Day weekend marks the end of summer in the United States and starts the transition into autumn. Consumers traditionally take extended vacations to the beach, a national park — anywhere outside where they can share time and a meal with friends and family. This year, the pandemic is reshaping how we all will celebrate the holiday weekend.
Why Labor Day in 2020 Will Look Different
The increase in COVID-19 cases, social distancing guidance and varying phases of reopening are forcing people to avoid unnecessary travel and keep closer to home. Restaurants who’ve capitalized on the long weekend in the past will be looking for new ways to drive much-needed revenue. COVID-19 has influenced the demand for online ordering and delivery. Restaurants have responded by adopting new technologies and solutions for their operations outside of the brick and mortar. This has also opened the door for restaurants to show resilience through creative and innovative ways to promote their offerings. Here are a few ways for restaurants to market and profit this Labor Day weekend.
Ways to Drive Revenue This Labor Day
Whether it’s online ordering for pickup or delivery, offering creative meal kits or selling tickets to educational virtual classes — driving revenue online is more vital than ever for a restaurant’s bottom line.
Optimize Online Ordering for Pickup and Delivery
This Labor Day weekend, consumers are taking time away from work to be outside with their families. Some may be having socially distant gatherings. Most are just looking for time to relax. Online ordering for pickup and delivery is a great way to help them in their pursuits while making their lives easier when it comes to dining at home.
Restaurants such as Gramercy Tavern and Mitchell’s Steakhouse are getting creative with their offerings. Other restaurants should also think outside the box. By offering online ordering through the website, restaurants can connect with their guests in new ways and offer alternative options — like dining sets and coursed specials — that guests are looking for this holiday weekend.
Gramercy Tavern, from Union Square Hospitality Group in New York City, includes several dinner sets for guests to order online. Guests can choose from several options for pickup and are perfect for a couple or small family.
Additionally, Mitchell’s Steakhouse is offering a Labor Day Weekend Three-Course Surf & Turf Special at a set price per guest for dine-in or takeout.
Get Creative With Meal Kits, Batched Drinks and More
Many restaurants are getting creative with their offerings using online ordering to sell meal kits for guests to replicate the dining experience at home. Most consumers recognize the power that ordering direct has on supporting their favorite restaurants. With this in mind, there is an opportunity for restaurants to feed large groups with creative seasonal packages, like Blue Smoke from USHG who is offering a Backyard Barbecue Picnic. Everything comes ready to reheat and plate accordingly.
Another great example of a restaurant offering meal kits for pickup and delivery is from Colonia Verde in Brooklyn. They offer several types of kits, from the Cochinita Taco Kit, The Picnic/Date Night Kit to the DIY Mexican Grilled Corn Kit.
Some restaurants even have shifted operations entirely. To adapt to COVID-19, Hart’s in Brooklyn’s Bed-Stuy neighborhood became an online purveyor, selling items and ingredients traditionally used in their cooking for guests to take home and use themselves. With online ordering, guests can order everything from ready-to-roast chickens, imported tinned fish, marinated olives to a curated selection of wine and pre-batched cocktails. This is a perfect option for guests this Labor Day weekend who want to support a restaurant while amplifying their at-home dining experience.
Sell Online Tickets to Virtual Classes
Another creative option for both restaurants and guests is to host virtual ticketed events such as an online class. Many restaurants have offered up their culinary expertise by providing an interactive and collaborative experience online. This engagement is fun and educational for guests who are loyal fans of the restaurant and provides support for the restaurant’s bottom line through an alternative revenue stream.
For restaurants that have started to reopen, try offering classes like Billie’s Grocery. In this example, attendees purchase tickets through the “Cooking School and Events” page on their website. Billie’s Grocery offers dozens of classes, including a “Fresh Pasta for Late Summer” and “Savory Gluten-Free Baking” class. It’s recommended that if a restaurant chooses to hold in-person, hands-on classes during COVID-19, that the proper safety measures, equipment and guidelines are adhered to.
For restaurants that want to keep things online, use knowledgeable staff and offer an educational class like Corkbuzz. This wine-centric series of restaurants in New York City and Charlotte, North Carolina, hosts a variety of educational classes on wine regions, such as this class on Tuscany. This is a fun, informing, and safe experience for friends and family to take over the Labor Day weekend.
Offer Contactless Dining for Safe On-Premise Dining
As restaurants reopen, people want to dine out but don’t know where to start. For restaurants that are offering on-premise dining this Labor Day weekend, contactless dining is a fast, simple and safe solution that reduces the risk of COVID-19 for guests and staff by eliminating high-touch points during the dining experience. Guests may be more inclined to dine at a restaurant knowing that this safer solution is in place. The peace of mind that contactless dining provides establishes trust between the guest and the restaurant which ultimately can contribute to repeat business.
With contactless dining, guests can view menus, order and pay as soon as they’re at the table. Interaction between guests and the staff is purposeful, allowing staff to continue to provide support and hospitality while shifting the focus back on the food. Contactless dining turns more tables and with lower-capacity restrictions due to COVID-19, promotes more business and revenue potential. Equally important is that restaurants who use contactless dining solutions like Dine-In Ordering restaurants can capture powerful data from guests to use for marketing purposes that drive repeat business.
Promote Labor Day Specials Online
COVID-19 has not only changed how restaurants operate, but it has also emphasized the importance of online marketing — whether it’s on social media, email, through the restaurant’s website or a combination of them all. These are few ways restaurants can promote their Labor Day offerings this holiday weekend.
Create a Homepage Pop-up Alert
Pop-up alerts are quick ways to display important information when a visitor first lands on a restaurant’s website. Use this to promote Labor Day specials or events. Write a compelling message that entices the viewer and includes a strong call to action that takes the visitor to online ordering to purchase a package, the event ticket page to purchase tickets to virtual classes or the reservation page to reserve a table for contactless dining. Most importantly, restaurants should remember to highlight and link to safety precautions they’re taking similar to E.Z Tiger in Yakima, WA.
Send Emails Highlighting Labor Day Weekend Offerings
Email is a powerful marketing tool for restaurants. A restaurant’s website should include a form to subscribe to the restaurant’s newsletters. Restaurants should send a campaign leading up to Labor Day, highlighting the various specials or events they’re offering with call to action buttons taking the subscriber back to the website to purchase a meal kit, tickets to a virtual class or to make a reservation. It should be noted that restaurants who use a direct online ordering system like Bento Ordering have the benefit of accessing contact information from previous diners, whether they’ve ordered online for delivery or dined on-premise using Dine-In Ordering — contactless dining solution. Captured emails live in the backend of the restaurant’s website and can be used for marketing purposes to drive repeat diners.
Post About Labor Day Specials on Social Media
Social media is vital for restaurants to communicate and create relationships with their guests. This Labor Day weekend, restaurants should promote their specials and offerings several weeks in advance to create buzz and spread awareness to as many followers as possible. If there is a budget for advertising, consider promoting an Instagram or Facebook post to potentially increase sales. This also can attract more followers and consequently increase converting them into paying customers.
Reap The Rewards
For restaurants who are looking to maximize on profits this Labor Day weekend, get creative with menus, specials and alternative offerings like tickets to virtual classes. However, just offering these options only goes so far. To convert website visitors and followers into paying customers, restaurants should promote their offerings in a compelling way through the website, over email and social media. To learn more ways to get creative with offerings this Labor Day weekend, get in touch with your account manager or sign up for a free demo with a BentoBox specialist.
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