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The 8 Best Restaurant Strategies for Small Business Saturday


Over the past few years, Small Business Saturday has grown significantly, reportedly bringing in $23.3 billion to independent stores and eateries only last year. Its rising popularity is good news for eateries hoping to draw more customers, boost sales, and expand their customer base. Best of all, if you employ the Small Business Saturday tips for restaurants and other food service providers listed below, it won't necessitate any extravagant discounts or money-grabbing giveaways.

Here are eight quick and simple ideas to help your bar or restaurant succeed on Small Business Saturday.

1. Self-Identify as a Small Business

Although it may seem apparent, clients must be aware that you are a small business if you want to benefit from Small Business Saturday. Your front entrance should have a window sign added so that customers can view it. A-frame signage might be an option if your business is located back from the road. American Express, a credit card business, launched Small Business Saturday in 2010, and you may download free Small Business Saturday signage from their website.

The AMEX logo can be seen on most of these signs. You can find free advertising elsewhere if you don't accept American Express cards. A smart place to start is your community's chamber of commerce, small business association, business improvement district (BID), or "buy local" organizations. If you don't know where to begin, seek "local first" organizations in your city or state. Additionally, you can create your signage or hire freelance designers to create unique graphics for you.

Remember social media. A common hashtag on social media platforms including Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter is "#smallbizsaturday." For more views and shares, make interesting posts about your Small Business Saturday items and tag them with the hashtag #SmallBusinessSaturday and other relevant hashtags. According to American Express research, the value of social media recommendations for small businesses might reach $197 billion.

Add shoppable links to your social media profiles on the big day so that customers can buy gift cards or other items right from your profile. In 2020, 56% of consumers made an online purchase from a small business in honor of Small Business Saturday.

2. Get Your Gift Cards Ready

For independent restaurants, gift cards are a lifesaver. You may immediately increase sales and incur little labor expense by selling a lot of gift cards. Consider switching to swipeable or digital gift cards if you now use handwritten paper gift cards. You will save a ton of time on administration by taking this one action. A compatible gift card service can typically be suggested by your point-of-sale (POS) provider or credit card merchant services provider.

Consider adding a dollar incentive to gift cards purchased on Small Business Saturday if your budget permits. A simple approach to offer a deal without giving away the farm is by adding an extra $5 to every $25 gift card or $10 to every $50 gift card.

3. Put together stocking stuffers

Although gift cards are great stocking stuffers, your plan should not end there. You can create recipe kits, giftable tea and coffee blend bags, or bottles of your special sauce.

There is no further cooking required for these kits. A bar might, for instance, produce infusion kits containing dried herbs, fruits, and spices. Customers would then add their preferred alcohol, and a signature cocktail would result. Mulling spices are another simple seasonal addition, especially for wine and cider. While local bakery pancake mixes are ideal for a quick holiday morning breakfast, hot chocolate kits are a fantastic choice for coffee businesses.

Additionally, you can sell branded retail items like T-shirts, hats, mugs, and aprons. By having these goods printed at a nearby screen printing business, you may strengthen your "local" credentials twice over. If you have a collection of your special recipes in order, you could want to publish a cookbook. The majority of internet self-publishing businesses can guide you through the procedure, or you can ask a nearby print shop for assistance.

4. Improve Your Menu

Small Business in Hunger Saturday consumers often wants to refuel quickly. It's a good idea to take long-cooking foods off your menu, such as thick pieces of bone-in meat. Make sure your menu contains an equal number of delectable selections from each station if you have multiple cooking stations, such as a deep fryer, griddle, grill, and conventional cooktop. In this manner, your griddle cook won't be buried beneath hamburgers while your fry cook is waiting for orders.

Building new businesses is the goal of Small Business Saturday. Focus on exposing new clients to your items that are already popular. If you wish to run promotions, really embrace the small business tag by including goods from surrounding farms or regional manufacturers. Consult your kitchen staff. To speed up preparations during a busy service, ask for their advice on what dishes they can make quickly or whether they can streamline your popular menu items even more. If you've ever taken part in a citywide restaurant week, you can get ideas from the menu structure there.

Bars and coffee shops are examples of businesses that might streamline differently. Signature drinks lose out to seasonality throughout the holiday shopping season. Customers are in the mood for flavors associated with the fall and winter, such as pumpkin spice, apple cider, peppermint, and chocolate. For use on advertising chalkboards and point-of-sale signage, coffee shops and bars should compile a concise list of their most well-liked seasonal drinks.


5. Enhance Every Shift

Being overrun during a busy service is common in the restaurant industry. However, some preparation might aid in spreading out business over the day.

Many customers like to get an early start on one of the top 10 busiest shopping days of the year. Offering coffee and ready-to-eat (RTE) breakfast products from your bartop or a window facing the street will help you draw in some early visitors. When the other shops in the area intend to open, inquire about it and open your doors 30 minutes earlier to feed the eager early birds.

As customers wander between stores throughout lunch, this may be your busiest shift; but, don't forget about the evening. Serve your dinner meal before adjacent stores close to accommodate lingering customers. Or prepare family-style takeout meals for two to four people that clients may purchase on Small Business Saturday and bring home with the remainder of their purchases. Build-your-own taco kits, baked pasta, and roast chicken with sides all travel well and are likely to suit most families.

If your restaurant is located in a bustling neighborhood with small businesses, prepare some fresh coffee after lunch. You might see customers looking for a cup of coffee between the hours of 3 and 5 pm, which is too late for lunch and too early for dinner. It's also a wonderful idea to include some RTE treats like homemade granola bars, cookies, scones, or other teatime favorites.

6. Offer reversals

A bounceback is a deal you present to entice additional business. Make a bounceback offer if you only have one on Small Business Saturday. Restaurants rely on repeat business more than retailers do, therefore it's critical to promote it. A consumer is more likely to become a regular patron the more frequently they dine at your establishment.

To get you started, consider these well-liked concepts for a comeback:

* For every $100 purchased on Small Business Saturday, you get a $10 gift card.

* Free dessert on the following visit

* Free appetizer with any future online purchase

Offers for free booze or drink discounts should be prudently avoided. This is prohibited in several states, counties, and localities. Find out what is allowed in your area by contacting the liquor control board in your area.

7. Prepare for delivery and takeout

Indoor dining is still somewhat restricted in many areas of the nation. Even if there are no limitations in your area, it is a smart move to get ready for online orders on Small Business Saturday. Now is the perfect opportunity to implement a reliable online ordering and delivery plan, if you don't already have one.

Consult your POS vendor. To automate your online ordering stream, find out about integrated online ordering solutions. Consider hiring delivery drivers on demand, or consider turning part of your service workers into delivery drivers. Establish parking places for curbside pickups of takeout orders, and place visible signage to let customers know where to find their orders.

This work will benefit future business at your restaurant as well. 91% of guests, according to a recent study by Open Table, want restaurants to keep providing takeout and delivery choices when the epidemic is over.

8. Keep your neighbors in mind

On Small Business Saturday, you may attract clients besides only hoppers. Remember the people who work in small businesses, like you. Most restaurant owners are familiar with "industry nights," albeit usually they are geared toward restaurant employees. On the evening of Saturday, November 27, expand the definition of your industry to include employees of small businesses.

Inform nearby small business owners that their personnel is welcome to stay for food and drink promotions after business hours. Supporting nearby workers strengthens the ties between your restaurant and the neighborhood. It's advantageous for potential business. Your restaurant will be on these workers' minds after their arduous workdays as the holiday shopping season gathers up steam.

To sum up

Little Businesses Saturday is about more than just shopping. Through clever marketing and operational methods, independent restaurants can increase sales and future business. Making it simple for guests to support your business by streamlining menus, automating gift card processing, and developing stocking stuffers. Future sales will be increased by incorporating bouncebacks, preparing for online orders, and inviting nearby retail employees to dine at your establishment.

Independent, locally-owned eateries cannot afford to ignore Small Business Saturday. Small Business Saturday can have a significant impact on your bottom line if you play your cards well.

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