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How To Market Your Restaurant To Fill Your Dead Times

Back Print

November 24, 2023

Restaurants always have ebbs and flows in their dining rooms. Some days might be busier than others; however, if you notice consistent dead times, there are plenty of marketing options to drive patrons to your door.

4 Restaurant Marketing Tips for Off-Peak Hours

Let’s face it. Slow times happen. The key is to stave off dead-time patterns by reaching out to customers and developing a core base to keep business and revenue flowing. These four tips are easy to execute and help bring hoards to your door.

1. Get Personal

Personalization is driving marketing trends. 88 percent of marketers have seen improved business growth as a result of personalized messaging. For restaurants, there are a couple of innovative ways to adopt personalization models for your establishment.

  • Email Newsletters: Direct emailsare a great way to target previous customers. If employees from a nearby company frequent your spot for lunch, sending an email inviting them to an exclusive happy hour could entice them to visit off their regular schedule. 
  • Geofencing: For a high-tech way to capture new customers in the moment, consider geofencing tactics. This location-based marketing strategy connects you to smartphone users as they enter your area so that you can deliver a direct SMS message. For example, suppose a patron is in your area, and you are offering a two-for-one appetizer special through geofencing. In that case, you can send that message directly to your potential customer. 

In order to take advantage of personalization, you want to make sure you build a customer database and look into marketing technologies.

2. Become a WiFi Hub

With remote and hybrid workers becoming more of the norm, people are working outside of the office, at all times of the day and evening. Turning your establishment into a WiFi hotspot can draw people to use your space as their office during off-peak times. You’ll want to boost your internet speed and have outlets available for a quick computer recharge.

Providing access to free WiFi also has far-reaching marketing advantages. Captive portals allow restaurant owners to collect helpful customer data, which can be used for targeted marketing messages. For example, owners can send a direct SMS message to guests even as they sit at your table with a coupon for their next visit if they check in online. Direct messaging is also great for setting up loyalty programs, promoting daily specials and early-bird discounts, offering inclusive invitations for events, and more.

3.  Create a Community with Other Businesses 

The restaurant industry is central to communities—people flock to eateries to celebrate milestones, enjoy time with friends and family, and meet new faces. Why not double down on that sense of camaraderie and partner with other businesses in your area?

  • Co-create a weekday happy hour featuring a special tap from a nearby brewery. 
  • Build your brand by working with retail spaces to provide snacks for open houses and gallery exhibits.
  • Help host a Sunday Funday block party for families, where participating establishments offer discounts, fun activities, or prizes.

4. Offer Service Industry Night (SIN) Discounts 

Tapping into your fellow service industry community is a great way to bring in crowds, especially during slower times. Think of your slower days and times and provide a 10 percent discount for any food service industry member. Mondays, for example, are perfect as many in the industry have that day off and are looking for fun—and a significant discount.

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Tips to market your restaurant during slow hours.
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