Monday, January 20, 2014

Three Strategies To Maintain Your Sales Momentum After The Holidays

With the holiday season behind us, restaurateurs see sales dip in January.  Our customers, suffering the spending hangover that follows December’s parties, often radically curtail their expenditures.    We are presented with the challenge of maintaining sales momentum, and often, burning through inventory that went unsold during the holidays.  Here are three strategies that you may find useful:

Sell Bottles, Not Glasses:  Train your servers to upsell a customer to a bottle instead of going BTG (By-The-Glass).   Appealing to frugality, it isn’t hard to convince a table that if they are drinking more than three glasses they will save money.  This also allows you to direct guests to wines that are not on your BTG list, thus moving items that might otherwise underperform.   Selling bottles during slow periods  helps minimize the waste caused by half-used bottles of BTG wine going stale. 

Drink Specials:  Have a few cases of sparkling wine that didn’t move on New Year’s Eve?  Use them in a specialty cocktail that’s attractively priced.   Cull some of the underperformers on your wine list and compile them into a “Special Selections” table tent to bring them to a guest’s attention.   Determine which night of the week is the slowest and institute half-price BTG night; this may sting a bit at first, but it gets people in the door and into the seats and can transform one of the slowest nights of the week into one of the busiest.   

Wine Dinners:   By focusing on a particular country, region or producer, you can tailor your event to attract both regulars and new customers.   Thanks to the symbiotic relationship sales reps and restaurants have, distributors often will be happy to help you with staffing and promotion.   Many times, they will provide a portion of the wine that guests will taste, and while local laws on this vary widely, the event can allow them to pre-sell wines that can be picked up later at either your establishment or from a retail partner.   This allows you to generate sales without purchasing inventory in advance, and helps them move product during a sluggish month. 

These three strategies can help you turn inventory into revenue instead of letting it sit gathering dust.  None of them weaken your brand, or deflate your position in the market.   They can help you shake off the post-Holiday hangover, and start earning again.

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