Chances are, you pay your rent or mortgage for your restaurant’s location 7 days a week. And yet, you probably only really make money on two or three of the days. Some days of the week, like Tuesday, are simply slower than others and for a small business owner struggling to pay bills and turn a profit, that can cause a lot of pain. The same is true of certain times of the day. For example, from about 2pm to 6pm most restaurants are quite slow as people have already eaten their lunch and are waiting for dinner.
Figuring out ways to boost revenues during these “slow” and “dead” times is a great way to boost the profitability of your business. You are going to need to use some clever marketing tricks and promotions to build up your customer base and it will take some hard work, but we are here to help.
Methods to Boosting Business During Slow Times
– Give out a Discount-
The most obvious way to boost your restaurant’s business is to give out a discount. Of course, no one really wants to provide discounts as they cut into the bottom line, but they are a great way to lure in customers. In fact, slow days are the best days to give out a discount. One great way to keep costs down is to find a “high value” item that has a low cost. For example. offering a free Italian salad on Wednesday with every purchased meal is a great way to lure in customers. The salad will cost you only a little bit, but will have enough perceived value to draw people in.
-Become the Place to Be-
One of the best options is to hold special activities nights. For example, you could sponsor a salsa dancing night every Tuesday and invite people in to learn how to salsa dance. Or perhaps you can buy a few TVs and start showing off the local sports team? These types of activities can really draw in a crowd!
-Meet & Greet-
If your restaurant is located in an area with a lot of foot traffic you could have one of your employees go outside and greet people and invite them in. This will put a warm and personal face to your restaurant. Another option would be to hand out free samples, or if it’s a hot day you could hand out free drinks. This would build up good will with the local community.
-Host Local Groups-
Another great way to drum up business is to get in touch with local clubs. This can be anything from local book reading clubs and chess clubs, to more formal groups like the Rotary Club. You can get in touch with their coordinators and offer them free drinks or a discount should they ever choose to hold their meeting at your establishment.
-Special Tasting Nights-
Another great option is to hold special tasting nights. For example, you could hold a wine tasting night, or a degustation night, which refers to a night where patrons are encouraged to try a large number of different, and sometimes exotic, dishes. For example, you could hold an “around the world Wednesday” and charge patrons one set fee, say 20 dollars. Then they could enjoy an all-you-can-eat buffet with various dishes from around the world.
Social media sites, such as Groupon, have become a major way to promote your restaurant. On many of these sites you can select certain days and times. If you have been thinking of taking advantage of a site like Groupon, a perfect way to do so is on your slow days.
A Few Final Words
The simple fact is that some days will always be a harder sell than other days. While this puts the business owner in a tough spot, there are ways you can work around it. We have only brainstormed a few ideas here, and likely with some time and effort you can come up with your own unique ideas.
One thing to remember is to always protect your brand value. While giving out discounts is great, don’t make them too extravagant or frequent or people will start to think that your food is only worth it when it’s discounted. You should always try to strike a balance. Yes, on one hand promotions should be enticing, but on the other hand you don’t want to overdo it.