There are definitive times in the year when sweet treats are consumed en masse, namely Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentine’s Day and Easter. These indulgent confections include everything from homemade candies to fluffy cupcakes, sweet breads and decadent pies. Whatever style of cuisine your menu offers, there’s an opportunity to increase sales beginning in the fall and lasting well into spring.
Will your restaurant be ready for the crowds of sweet-seeking customers?
Halloween, according to the National Retail Federation, will be celebrated by 170 million people this year and consumers are expected to spend $8 billion getting into the spirit. Although many of these dollars are spent on costumes, decorations and packaged candy, portions of this enormous dollar amount can also be accounted for in food and beverage sales. Cash in on the haunted frenzy and advertise to your customers where they are likely to find you. One such place is on the online social pin board, Pinterest, where Halloween enthusiasts are looking for costume and party ideas.
How to Use Pinterest to Advertise Your Halloween Sweets
Photograph your house-made sweets such as cookies, cupcakes, pies or candies and pin it to your restaurant’s Pinterest board. Write a short caption under the pin such as “Cookie Crumble Caramel Apples at Mandy’s Restaurant.” Next, link your website directly to the picture. This ensures that when someone clicks on the picture, they are directed right to your homepage, or better yet, to your order form for carryout orders.
Thanksgiving begins the official start to full indulgence in comfort foods and annual treats such as pumpkin pie. Consumers will look to Pinterest with the same baited interest of hosting the perfect dinner or bringing the yummiest dish to pass. Others will be looking to shirk kitchen duty all together and are looking for the perfect restaurant for their holiday meal. Whether you are looking to appease only one or both of these demographics, it remains a wise strategy to use your dessert selection as an enticing tool for attracting customers. Although Pinterest is a great catalyst for advertising your Thanksgiving treats, another great tactic is to use small sampler dishes as tempting reasons to return for the big holiday meal.
How to Use Sampler Dishes to Promote Your Thanksgiving Sweets
Choose from a variety of sample dishes, sample glasses, tasting spoons, and disposable sample dishes to artfully display samples or economically priced small bites. Use these samples as a preview or teaser of your Thanksgiving menu. You may also consider putting together a limited time menu of mini-desserts that showcase all of your house-made treats for the holiday season.
Christmas is often seen as the most indulgent time of the year. With parties and get-togethers taking place weeks before and after the big day, customers are more apt to make meal times linger on to dessert and after dinner drinks. Your customers are also looking for options for making entertaining easier to plan and execute. Be there for them. Use mini-desserts, tasting courses and creative take-out packaging to encourage ordering from your dessert menu.
Another saccharine time of year, Valentine’s Day, is when customers are on the hunt for something sweet for their sweetheart. The National Retail Federation cited a total of $1.5 billion spent on candy alone for February of 2011. Easter also tops off the list for the candy-loving time of the year with $2 billion spent in 2012 on treats including chocolate eggs and jelly beans. Capture the attention and palates of your sweet seeking customers with house-made sweets and pastry perfect tarts, bakery fresh cakes, cupcakes, pies and cookies with captivating displays.
How to Use Display Cases to Promote Holiday Treats and Sweets in Your Restaurant
When the department stores Bloomingdales or Barney’s decorate their window displays for the holidays in New York City, everyone takes notice. These retail operators have fully realized how to play to their customers’ fantasies. Their displays entice and attract customers, many of whom may not have really intended on shopping that day. Your restaurant has the same power to inspire a captive audience with pie stands, tiered display stands, cake stands and bakery display cases.
Work with the space your restaurant has to create a tempting visual display. Although you may not have a professional set designer on your staff, take notice of some key elements within your location. Note where customer traffic flows naturally, this is usually near exit and entry points. Put your best stuff front and center and keep it looking fresh and clean. Consider using your entire restaurant as a showcase. Keep a tiered display stand with sweet treats placed near tables, so guests can see the treats when they are ordering. If your restaurant has a bakery display case, dress it up for the occasion. Use holiday themed décor to create an interesting visual for customers as they browse the case’s contents.
Whatever the time of year or occasion, keep your sweet promotions interesting, engaging and relevant in the minds of your customers. Play to all of the senses with visually stunning displays, scrumptious sample tasting and playful desserts arrangements that will tempt your customers for every special occasion to come.