Tips for eateries to boost holiday sales

December 21, 2022 13:41
Photo: China Daily

With the holiday season fast approaching, Hong Kong is ready to celebrate one of the most significant festivals on the calendar. For food and beverage (F&B) businesses, there is reason for optimism that consumers will dine out and shop after the challenges of recent years.

According to Global Payments, F&B spending in Hong Kong in December 2021 was up 46.3% compared to December 2020. Similarly, there was an increase of 14.4% in F&B spending in January and February 2022 compared to the same period in 2021. The data speaks for itself that festival time is a golden opportunity for F&B to chase lost sales impacted by COVID when the pandemic was still a major concern.

Capturing this lucrative seasonal trade by keeping a restaurant open on public holidays can also be a valuable brand-building opportunity. Make sure potential customers know you are open, when you are open and why they should enjoy a festive meal at your restaurant.

Revisit marketing details for seasonal promotions
Creating a special, limited edition menu and festive ambience can help renew relationships with existing customers and attract new customers to come back for more all year. You can also make it easy for customers to host a festive gathering at your venue that could help stimulate sales and volume bookings.

A small special offer, free drink or dining vouchers in 2023 can be thoughtful touches that appeal to customers. Meanwhile, if you're offering a festive children's menu, a small gift or activities will always be appreciated and help families enjoy a relaxed, longer dining experience.

If you don't use social media for marketing, or if your pages have been quiet recently, try experimenting in the run up to the holidays and build your following. Food photos are always popular, but when people consider where to dine, it's not just limited to food quality. Investing in a time-limited festive shop design and inviting F&B KOLs to visit and share images on their social media channels can entice those who choose to visit restaurants with a unique interior design.

If you have a loyalty or gift card program, think about every festive diner as an opportunity to build your loyalty program. Consider a seasonal promotion, giveaway or gift cards with limited edition set menus.

Another chance to reach customers online

Many people enjoy dining out during the holidays, as they may want to avoid cooking and cleaning, while others may want to enjoy a festive meal at home or host a party. Since the start of the pandemic, more people order food online, and the holiday period is no different. Global Payments' data shows that F&B e-commerce sales increased by 40% year-on-year comparing December 2020 and 2021. If you have already developed or are developing an online ordering system, festive promotions, exclusive online menus or special offers could lure regulars to order online, as well as attract new customers.

While you may have already thought of attracting customers with a special menu online, a seamless payment experience is also essential to ensure satisfaction, especially for first-time orders, which are a critical moment when customers decide whether to order online again in the future. By partnering your order system with a mature payment gateway, you can accept a wider variety of digital wallets and even Buy Now Pay Later solutions so customers can choose their preferred payment option.

Co-branded off-site promotions

Many shopping malls launch festive-themed pop-up F&B stores and markets to attract customers. This is not only a chance to generate greater F&B sales, but also an opportunity to increase brand awareness. When customers shop at a pop-up F&B stall, convenient payment systems can be key to keep business moving and customers happy. For these high mobility sales, a wireless POS machine supporting wi-fi and sim card connections lets you accept payments offsite. Recently, new tech was developed to turn an Android mobile device into a payment machine, and this tech is expected to be available to more industries in the near future. Owners who plan to have more offsite, pop-up stores during festivals could consider embracing this technology to enhance payment efficiency, as well as customer experience.

By paying close attention to every detail along the customer journey and ensuring diners are not only happy with the food but also the ease and convenience of payment – whether online or– in person – an enjoyable, festive customer experience can keep bringing business back to a restaurant long after the festival season ends.

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President, Asia Pacific of Global Payments