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27 November 2020

why longer seasonal campaigns are helping restaurants.

There aren’t many industries that were hit harder than the foodservice industry during the Corona pandemic, with most restaurants only now starting to find their footing in the world’s ‘new normal’.
With numbers like the US Foodservice Industry losing $120 billion by June 2020, 1.8 million jobs at risk in South Africa and 56% loss in average restaurant sales in the UK – it’s hard to see any light at the end of the tunnel.
But some establishments have been finding a fail-safe way to lure back old customers and entice new ones and that is by overextending seasonal campaigns focussing on comfort food and limited menu additions.
Take Dunkin Donuts in the US for example; to cater for remote workers, the company “…moved quickly to adapt our menu, introduce new beverages and snacking items design to appeal to both morning and afternoon traffic, as well as younger consumer…,” says CEO Dave Hoffman.
With the festive season about to kick into high gear, new studies by PDI on convenience retail indicates that restaurants stand to recover faster by offering seasonal campaign promotions on “single-serve, immediate consumption” items like coffee or chocolates.
Restaurants looking at ways to make more profit and for seasonal campaign inspiration should centre their efforts around consumers’ needs for comfort and indulgence that in turn increase in-store or on-app impulse purchases.
Starting seasonal campaigns earlier and letting them run for longer gives restaurants more opportunity to experiment with limited menus that make customers fear of missing out.
Look at the recent Collab between Travis Scott and McDonalds – the promotion was so popular in caused Quarter Pounder shortages – in the middle of a raging pandemic and it was just a normal burger, with bacon added.

Some quick starter ideas for a seasonal campaign:
  • Consider offering add on menu items such as desserts, extra sauce or a new drink.
  • Try offering coworking or work-from-home lunch specials
  • Cooking classes (both online and offline) to help your customers make their favourite seasonal dish at home.
  • Bringing back old favorites is a “great reminder” to choose your restaurant.
Expect more businesses to adopt this strategy, Andy Austin of The Industrious hypothesised. “You’re going to see more ways for [QSRs] to reinvigorate conversations to keep customers’ attention.” he said. “Whether it’s promos or virtual events, it’s about staying relevant to customers during a grim time."
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