It’s been a year to remember for the restaurant industry  –and it has certainly experienced some challenging times. Although we might not be fully back to normal after the coronavirus, we have been able to open our doors again to dine-in customers albeit under strict government regulations. 

But we look forward to 2021 and the opportunities that lie ahead and wish the South African restaurant industry good luck and much prosperity. Start off 2021 on a high note and make the most of New Year’s Eve with our top tips.


Give your menu a makeover 

Refreshing your menu will really help you enter into the spirit of the new year. Consider adding vegan-friendly options, pizzas with a hot new topping or a totally new cocktail section to ring in the changes. And what better occasion than New Year’s Eve to introduce your new options? It’s the perfect opportunity for a test run that can give you an indication of your patrons’ receptiveness in the coming year.


Make business alliances in your areas

Seek out businesses in your area that you can partner with such as hotels, clubs and taxi services. In this way, you can promote one another, which makes good marketing and business sense for everyone involved. For example, hotels can recommend your restaurant to their guests or hand out promotional materials like invitations to your New Year’s Eve party. Consider offering an NYE special that includes dinner, a club and a taxi home. 

Be there for your customers 

New Year’s Day is often overlooked in favour of the big night that precedes it. Many restaurants close their doors on January 1. You can capitalise on this by being the restaurant of choice for patrons who need sustenance on the first day of the new year. You can be the place where families spend their first outing of the year or where friends nurse their hangovers together, leaving these patrons with a good feeling about your restaurant for the year ahead. 

Introduce loyalty cards 

Loyalty programmes are gaining traction in restaurants and New Year is a great opportunity for restaurant owners to introduce loyalty cards. Modern PoS systems can gather vast amounts of data about every transaction, patron or menu item. This is invaluable information that you can use to improve your marketing tactics and get that much closer to achieving ultimate customer satisfaction. 

These programmes are also better run when they can integrate with your PoS in real-time. Some restaurants have introduced branded apps through which they manage online orders, payments and rewards. But these apps won’t be as effective without a robust PoS system as a foundation.

We would like to wish everyone in the South African restaurant industry the best of luck for 2021 and we hope that your restaurant’s New Year’s Eve festivities are a success.  

But we know that restaurant management stretches beyond planning fun events. We are constantly examining issues that affect the industry, such as how restaurants can support their staff and clientele and use technology to their advantage. 

Find out more about how you can do this in your restaurant by downloading our e-book, the definitive 21st-century restaurant playbook.

Author : Rudi Badenhorst