Last night I enjoyed a “Christmas” dinner in July at a local restaurant called Hodges in Johannesburg. It’s the first time I’ve been to a Christmas dinner in winter and here in South Africa it seems to make sense because the weather is usually so hot on 25 December.
In summer a full traditional Christmas dinner is too heavy. That’s why a lot of South Africans eat their Christmas dinner on Christmas Eve and have something lighter on Christmas Day or make a braai (barbecue).
The “Christmas” dinner July was good as it gets. Starters were Brie Baked in Phyllo with walnuts and cranberry sauce or Creamed Vegetable Soup served with sourdough bread. The main courses included Traditional Roast Turkey, Glazed Gammon and Slow Roasted Leg of Lamb. To finish off the meal: Christmas Pudding in Brandy sauce or home-made mince pies.
The restaurant was full – patrons book months in advance. And on the night when the restaurant means fully booked, well it is exactly just that. Last year I missed the booking and they were no cancellations at all.
This isn’t the only winter promotion that owners Donald and Patsy put on for their customers. They also have other themed dinners such as jazz evenings and even “Thanksgiving”, although this is later in November.
These promotions not only warm up sales in winter but they provide an added dimension to the restaurant for customers who can experience the depth of their culinary expertise.
While many SMEs are failing as economic pressures rise and are battling with the winter sales slowdown, entrepreneurly reminded business people are coming up with new ideas and are using their creativity to increase their sales.
I’ve just seen how another husband-and-wife team – owners of a swimming pool business – in Australia have come up with a business idea to survive the slower cash flow months. They told Start-upSmart that they have developed a strong network of six mobile technicians and have built a network of customers who use their pools year round to keep cash flow up.
For small businesses like this, they make sure that they look carefully at their business revenues throughout the year and see what they can do to find additional revenue streams in the quieter winter months.
All it takes is to look smartly at where your revenues are coming from and see how you can increase revenue in your business in the cold months.
It may be too late to do anything about it this year with Spring about a month away but at least start thinking about what you could do now for 2014.