Restaurant owners all struggle with the same issue at one point or another in their career: your restaurant is full and bustling on the weekends, but empty as can be on weekdays. While the flow of clientele can ebb and flow during particular days, weeks, and months, most restauranteurs cite weekdays as their slowest time of business. Surveys show that over 48 percent of adults in the U.S. only patronize restaurants during the weekend. With five other days to fill, it’s important to consider the ways you can fill those tables no matter what day it is. If you’re looking for ways to draw in more patrons Monday through Thursday, there are a variety of tactics available to you.
Offer Special Events
Dining out is about much more than the food—it’s an experience. Looking to bring in more restaurant patrons? Give them some incentive. Hosting special events is a great way to make your business a standout from the competition, and there are numerous ways you can incorporate special events into your restaurant’s weekly schedule. In recent years, a great number of restaurants have found success with hosted trivia nights. Guests can attend and play for free, with the offered prize generally coming in the form of a restaurant gift card—it’s an excellent way to draw in repeat business. A trivia night can collect a following of avid fans, and ensures great business on at least one night of every week.
As you plan special events, consider your target demographic and general clientele. Are your booths often filled with young professionals? A singles mixer could be a great way to draw in a younger crowd. Perhaps you’re located in an area surrounded by businesses. If this is the case, draw in those white collar workers with industry-specific nights that offer deals.
Don’t forget to use available technology to your advantage. If your restaurant has televisions, be sure to host events for any big sports games. From NCAA March Madness to the Superbowl and everything in between, you can draw in crowds for weeknight games.
Daily Food and Drink Specials Are Your Friend
Have you noticed Wednesdays are particularly slow? Entice customers with a special Wednesday-only deal—burger and a beer for $15 could be the ticket to pull in customers. Perhaps Thursdays are your slow day; offer a wine bottle special—half off your specialty reserves should do the trick. Daily food specials are a great way to improve slow business days, and you can do more with this theme than offer discounts. Certain days of the week could mean serving special dishes available that night only; this can cultivate an atmosphere of exclusivity which can be a great selling point in a competitive industry.
Drink specials can also take you far. For some restauranteurs, it’s important to reexamine your alcohol offerings. If you currently only offer beer and wine, it can be difficult to draw in the crowds that you might with full liquor offerings. While it’s an investment to acquire full liquor licenses, most business owners find they quickly recoup the costs through improved sales—alcohol sales make up a significant portion of revenue for many restaurants. If you need to acquire a new permit, use a brokerage service like License Locators, Inc. to find the best pricing in your area.
Take Advantage of Social Media
If you’re not doing all you can to capture customers on social media, you’re doing your business a disservice. Simple use of Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram can catapult your business into an entirely new realm of weekday success. Take a picture of a special dish your chef just concocted and blast it out to loyal followers and wait for restaurant patrons to come pouring in to try the new wares. You can also use social media to post flash discounts; restaurants have long used Facebook to post special discount promotions on particular days.
Humans are visual creatures, and if you’re looking to pull in more patrons, use imagery to your advantage. Ask your kitchen staff to spend a day creating all of their best dishes with great attention to detail. Hire a professional photographer to come in and capture shots of your customers’ favorites in all their delicious glory. With a cache of pictures in your possession, you’ve got months’ worth of ammo for your social media channels. If you’re unsure how to best capitalize on social media marketing, you may want to consider hiring a professional company like Pepper Jam who can guide your process, at least at the onset.
Improving restaurant sales during the work week is possible with a little patience, strategy, and effort. Implement these strategies into your business model and improve your profits in no time.