No matter how popular your business, or how original your concept, there will always be slower days in the restaurant industry. In fact, research has found that across the sector, Mondays generate 54% less revenue than Saturdays. Although these lulls can feel unnerving it’s still possible to turn slow days into a productive time that can feed into increased efficiency and revenue.
Identify when your downtimes are
There are a lot of common themes among restaurant businesses when it comes to slow days and down time. For example, many businesses find the start of the week to be the least profitable time – Mondays and Tuesdays, especially in the morning or early afternoon can be very slow. If you want to optimise your business’ slow days start by identifying the periods where lulls are most likely – track this for a couple of months so that you know what you’re working with.
Use data and incentivise your customers
Discounts and offers can be very effective when it comes to improving income during slow days. For example, you could establish a regular special offer that you market at the same time every week to help improve a less busy moment. Smart use of data can increase the effectiveness of this significantly – for example, segment your audience so that your offers are targeted at those most likely to respond positively based on past behaviours and preferences.
Give your customers a midweek experience
Up and coming generations, such as millennials, value experiences over products and slow days can be the perfect moment to introduce these. For example, a regular weekly event – such as a competition or a menu tasting – can not only help to attract more customers on slow days but better engage for the long term them too. A mid week event is something for consumers to look forward to, especially if it is tailored to what your customers want from you.
Embrace online ordering
The rise in the number of delivery services, such as Uber Eats and Deliveroo, provide a lot more options for slow days. Digital orders at restaurants have increased by a quarter since 2013 and are likely to continue to do so. Your customers may not feel like venturing out to eat on slow mid week days but they might be perfectly happy to order in. Embrace this new revolution by making it easy for customers to order online and via smart phones and varying the menu to offer options that are perfect for home dining.
Investigate local partnerships for slow days
For example, you could hire your space out at a reduced rent to a local business or community group during a very quiet time. This would not only bring in revenue but also ensure the space is full and also create a buzz around the event if people are talking about it, for example via social media. Local partnerships could include everything, from hosting charity events to putting on corporate tastings.
Slow days don’t have to mean a frustrating drop in efficiency and revenue – there are still ways to ensure that your restaurant remains profitable.