How to engage your guests online when your restaurant is closed for the season

Maja Jankowska's photo

Maja Jankowska


How do you stay engaged with your guests when you are closed for the season? Avoid ‘online hibernation’!

Are you a season-closed restaurant? How do you stay connected with your guests when you are closed for the season? 

Many restaurants almost go into ‘online hibernation’ when they decide to close for the season. This could harm your restaurant as well as your revenue in the long run. 

Restaurant marketing during the off-season isn’t the bogeyman. It just means you stay connected with your guests in order to strengthen your online visibility. You’ll want to keep all channels of communication open, so that customers can easily reach out during the off-season.

Follow our simple guide below and learn how to engage your guests online, when you are closed for the season.

Social media customer engagement

If you haven’t set up social media platforms, now is the perfect time to get started. Social media is a perfect opportunity to reach, engage, and connect with your guests. I mean, you gotta love social media to stay relevant and on top of your customers’ mind.

Facebook and Instagram are among the most popular social media platforms. So it’s definitely a good idea to keep your guests updated on these platforms.

The best practices for restaurants’ social media during the off-season boil down to:

  • Sharing meaningful content
  • Live and interactive Q&As
  • User-generated content
  • Competitions and giveaways

Sharing meaningful content

Never forget content. It’s how you appear on your followers’ profiles and show what your restaurant is all about to potential customers who might not know you yet. Brainstorm ideas with your staff on what you can post on social media.

Facebook, Instagram Stories and posts are some of the ways you can reach your audience and your beloved customers, fostering loyalty and connection.

Live and interactive QAs

Just because your restaurant is closed, doesn’t mean that you can’t interact live with your customers. If you are feeling up for it, host a live Q&A and satisfy all your guests’ curiosity.

Ask a staff member to participate to spice it up and bring a different perspective to your restaurant’s day-to-day life.

User-generated content

When restaurants close down for the season, many restaurant owners see this as an opportunity to redecorate or change things up a little in their venues. 

If this is the case, reach out to your guests by posting a photo on Facebook or creating a poll on Instagram of two different wallpapers, and ask your guests which one they prefer. Keep guests updated on the new interior, status of the deep cleaning and new menu suggestions. 

Facebook marketing for restuarants

Competitions and giveaways

Competitions: a simple and yet very effective way of ensuring your restaurant isn’t empty when you return after being closed for the season. 

The prize could be:

  • a gift card to your restaurant
  • a free meal
  • a free drink
  • a pay one, take 2 promotion

You decide!

You can also give out vouchers for the first 15 people who comment on a specific Facebook post. The voucher could include free wine for two hours if a guest books a table on an opening day after being closed for the season! 

resOS booking link

Email marketing

A dedicated subscriber list is priceless.

Not really. There is a price for it, but it is studied that for every dollar invested in email marketing, you get 36 dollars in return. That’s an amazing ROI! 

If your restaurant is closed for the season, now is a great time to start investing on your subscriber list, even though you’ll probably only see this ROI down the line. You have to start somewhere!

If you already have a subscriber list, build it up even more with these tips for your restaurant’s off-season!

Dedicated email sequence

Write an email series geared towards the off-season. It can be a weekly or bi-weekly campaign meant to keep your restaurant on top of customers’ minds and ready to book a table once you reopen!

You can write about:

  • Updates and exciting plans for reopening
  • New dishes and upcoming specials
  • Staff stories and behind the scenes preparations
  • Off-season recipes and cooking tips from your chefs

Targeted promotions and incentives

Reward your customers with exclusive promotions and deals ahead of reopening. You can also offer early booking access to those who sign-up to your newsletter.

Just like with social media, use this channel for competitions and giveaways, spreading your efforts across all of your communication channels with your customers.

Ask for customer feedback

The best way to know if you are heading in the right direction is by asking! So, ask! Customer feedback will help you figure out areas of improvement.

Depending on the email marketing platform you use, you can use quizzes, polls or surveys to gauge your customers’ interest on certain menus, dishes or themed dinners.

Encourage interaction and community

Never forget social media buttons so that your guests can easily follow you on other platforms of their choice.

Using your customers’ feedback, create an email sequence with guests’ testimonials and memorable stories. You’ll create a sense of community, build trust and social proof.

Website updates

You’re closed for the season? Let your customers clearly know when you’ll be reopening right on the homepage. Add a link to your restaurant’s reservation schedule, so that anyone can book a table without waiting for you to get back to work.

If you haven’t already, show what your restaurant is all about with mouth-watering photos of the food and dashing pictures of your venue.

Final tips for success

Social media, email marketing and your website are the main ways customers will engage with you online. Our final tips for success are little extras to go the extra mile:

  • Maintain consistent brand voice: make sure your restaurant’s personality is obvious in all communication
  • Cherish staff and community: share stories about the team and your restaurant’s reopening
  • Partner with local businesses: promote other businesses when they’re closed down, and they can do the same when you’re closed down!

We are always happy to help!

We know that every restaurant owner dreams about a fully booked restaurant after the off-season. Online reservations will encourage guests to book a table in advance. 

How can you do that? Through an online booking system, like resOS!

Register and try it for free. No strings attached.

Having some issues? We’re always here to help!

Contact our customer support at [email protected] and we will get back to you as soon as possible.