Operations

How restaurants can survive the winter in 2021

Melanie O'Hanlon
Marketing Associate

Total restaurant industry sales are expected to drop by as much as $4.8B as the weather turns colder. So what’s the trick to surviving the winter months for restaurants? Many businesses respond by doubling and tripling marketing efforts to bring in as many diners as possible, but there are ways to combat the cold months without breaking the bank. Check out our tips for keeping sales high this winter, from taking the time to adopt new tech to adding a ghost kitchen to your business model.

Increase revenue with innovative outdoor dining

Just because the weather is cold doesn’t mean you can’t serve guests outside. Get creative with your existing outdoor dining spaces to pique guests’ interest, ensuring they come back year-round. This enables your business to keep revenue steady over the course of the winter.

230 Fifth bar's rooftop igloo dining

Bbot customer 230 Fifth helps guests combat the cold with their Igloo Bar in New York City. Groups of guests reserve one of the many clear, outdoor bubbles for an evening of wintry drinks and rooftop city views, enabling 230 Fifth to keep sales soaring all winter long.

Adopt a ghost kitchen

Ghost kitchens are exploding all over the U.S., and now is a great time to start your own. Expanding your brand to include a ghost kitchen allows you to make the most of underutilized kitchen space. Virtual delivery concepts also increase your reach and customer base. Loyal customers who already love your brand will be excited to try your next big thing, and new customers will be excited to discover a new, innovative brand.

To get started on your ghost kitchen journey, partner with a company like Bbot to create an online menu tailored toward a specific type of food. This increases the likelihood of your menu appearing at the top of web and in-app searches for that cuisine, and increases your sales potential. Then, set up first-party delivery methods to bring your food to your customers.

Add first-party delivery to widen your customer base

When the temperature drops below freezing, it’s tough to ask guests to leave the house for a meal, especially if they have to hop on a bus or a subway. Adding first-party delivery to your business is a simple solution to keep sales high and expand your customer base. Set up an online menu for guests to place orders through, then choose one (or multiple) fulfillment methods.

Online ordering screen for Simoné's Cafe

Outpost, in-store pickup, and curbside delivery are great for serving guests who live closer to your location without needing to worry about limits on in-venue dining. Set up a few shelves inside your store, or set aside a few parking spaces. Guests can quickly run in and retrieve their orders from the shelves, or a staff member can run the order out to the guest’s vehicle.

White lable delivery services

With door-to-door delivery, guests order from the comfort of their couch and have their favorite meals delivered right to their doorstep. This method increases your reach to customers who may not want to travel far, which is especially important for keeping sales high in the winter. To acquire delivery drivers, cross-train a few existing employees to deliver orders, or partner with companies like Doordash Drive, Relay, or C3 with existing driver pools to choose from.


Pearl Food Hall increased their monthly sales by $50K with Bbot’s smart order and pay technology. Check out their customer success story to discover how they did it.

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