Saskatoon restaurants offer incentives, add options in slow January season

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WATCH ABOVE: Black Friday and Boxing Day have come and gone and the slow season, especially for restaurants, is setting in. As Ryan Kessler explains, restaurant owners are looking at ways to attract customers – Jan 4, 2017

The holiday restaurant rush is over and many are now looking for new ways to attract customers in January – a traditionally quiet time for the industry.

Las Palapas in Saskatoon is launching a Breakfast on the Beach brunch menu on Saturdays and Sundays from 9 a.m. CT until noon.

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“We’re still pretty solid with our business in January, but it is quieter than other months, so we can get a little handle on (the menu) before it gets too busy,” Las Palapas owner and manager John Kroczynski said.

Chain restaurant Hudson’s Canada’s Pub is offering 50 per cent off all drinks after 9 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays during January.

Last month, Mr. Mikes Steakhouse Casual, another chain, sold beer steins for $10.99 that came with a $10 gift certificate to be used in January.

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“It’s really important in these slow times to keep the doors open and keep the guests coming in through some sort of incentivization,” Mark von Schellwitz, Restaurants Canada’s vice-president for Western Canada, said.

Restaurants Canada, an association representing food service establishments across the country, projected a 3.4 per cent sales growth in the industry in Saskatchewan in 2016.

Food service sales fell short of expectations, only reaching 2.3 per cent growth last year, von Schellwitz said. With that in mind, he said discounts may continue in challenging economic times.

READ MORE: Restaurants say they will cut hours, staff due to hike in Alberta minimum wage

A good January deal could mean a repeat visit to a business, but it can also be an opportunity to express customer appreciation, according to one University of Saskatchewan (U of S) expert.

“A lot of us spent a lot of money in November and December, and this is one way of businesses giving back to their customers that have been loyal,” U of S associate professor in marketing Marjorie Delbaere said.

But Delbaere recommends consumer caution.

“Sometimes we get a little swayed by the value of the deal and we forget about that overall value of what it is that we’re purchasing,” she said.


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