As a restaurant owner you should be familiar with your restaurants operations; when you get the most business (peak hours) and when your business is quiet (off-peak hours).
After operating your restaurant for more than 6 months, you might realise that certain hours of the day and certain days of the week are less happening than others.
The question then is, are these off-peak hours and periods affecting your business positively or are they impacting your restaurant negatively?
If you’re having trouble driving revenue during your quieter periods, then these 5 suggestions may be just what you need!
1. Happy Hour
If your restaurant serves alcohol, then you would most probably have some happy hour prices in place. While the concept helps to draw in a crowd of after-work customers, most other bars and restaurants will be doing the same.
To remain competitive, you will need to provide something more than just cheap drinks. Hiring entertainers such as bands or musicians will help you draw in a more diverse crowd. While regular customers are important, loyalty is tough if your main attraction is your happy hour. Your regulars will appreciate the added value you provide. They will also be more likely to stay on if they are entertained.
2. Host Theme Nights [restrict]
Taco Tuesdays? Margarita Mondays? Coming up with themed nights can be a fun way to hype up slow business days. While fun for customers, it will be equally fun for you to come up with these themes!
Hosting different themes will allow you to bring in different crowds that may not have known about your restaurant initially.
As the owner of the restaurant, you have the autonomy to decide if you want to organise these themed nights daily, weekly, monthly or even annually.
Keep in mind, that your theme should align with your restaurant’s integrity and brand. You shouldn’t blow your budget trying to come up with something so unique. The goal is to increase revenue for your restaurant business by driving crowds to your restaurant during off-peak hours.
3. Use Your Social Media Presence To Bring in The Crowds
Now that you’ve decided to create promotions and themed nights for your restaurant, don’t forget to market it!
If you have a Facebook or Instagram page for your restaurant business, then you might be aware of how you can boost posts. Boosting or advertising online is great way to maximise your restaurants reach to drive customers during your off-peak hours.
All you simply need to do is to create a captivating post or image, demonstrating the promotions, themed night etc that your restaurant is having. You can then decide on how many days you want your Facebook Ad to run, set the budget for it, determine who you target audience is and run it!
4. Price Discounting Timing
You probably already have certain discounts and promos for your restaurant. Breakfast menus, lunch sets, dinner discounts, etc. These are great strategies for driving off-peak demand in your restaurant. However, you should be careful as to how you time your promos.
There are numerous instances where price discounting can help to drive revenue during off-peak hours.
Peak revenues can be negatively affected depending on the timing of your discounts and promos. Identifying your own restrictions with timing will help drive your profitability.
5. Be Consistent With Your Promos
Coming up with new and creative solutions is part of the restaurant business. In doing so, one of the most overlooked aspects is the consistency. Changing your promos and menu too frequently will have a negative impact in the long-run.
Recall that customer loyalty is based on consistency. When you introduce a new promo, try and maintain some concepts from the previous promo.
Having this consistent attitude will remind customers what you have during your promos and even create a brand recall for your restaurant among customers.
If people don’t know what your business is offering, they will opt to go somewhere else instead.
6. Cutting Down Your Off-Peak Costs
It is not always possible to make the most of off-peak hours. This could be due to several factors that include location, pricing and operating hours. In that event, you should consider implementing policies to save on costs.
While fancy lighting and interiors are great, they should be saved for busier hours. The cost of operating your restaurant needs to not only accommodate off-peak periods, but off-peak hours as well. This means cutting down on electricity, water and staff costs during low hours of your restaurants operations.
One solution to this is to employ staff on a part time basis and introducing no-work policies during off-peak hours. You could even consider introducing a siesta or rest period between the times of 3pm – 6pm when the number of dine-in customers are at the lowest. This essentially aides in cutting down and saving on resources for your restaurant business.
Take note of your most and least active periods of business before coming up with promos and discounts. Finding creative solutions to drive business during your off peak demand is a necessity for your business.
Take Starbucks for instance. The coffee company periodically offers 1-for-1 drink promos between 3pm-5pm . It’s a common sight to see queues of working professionals lining up at coffee shops in the mid-afternoon to get a pick-me-up.
Starbucks is aware that the working crowd is the most lethargic at this particular time of the day and saw an opportunity to drive off-peak demand to their outlets.
Likewise, keeping up-to-date with your customers behaviour is a vital to your restaurant business. As a restaurant owner you will know your business and customers best!
If you’re still unsure on how to run your restaurant business successfully, read here to find out how you can run your restaurant business like a successful entrepreneur!