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How Your Restaurant or Bar Can Survive the Slow Months
How Your Restaurant or Bar
Can Survive the Slow Months
Practically every restaurant and bar goes through a slow period at one point or
another. The trick to surviving these times is preparation and being proactive.
Follow these tips to better ensure your business can weather a quiet season.
The best time to start the promotions that will carry you through the slower
season is before your business starts to dry up. You’ll build loyalty among
customers and encourage more of them to come year-round.
Trivia nights, karaoke and live music
give people reasons to come to your
location beyond food and drink.
These events also create ready-made
opportunities for socialization, which
helps build a sense of community.
An active presence on social media can
be critical for maintaining awareness
of your brand during off-peak months.
Entice your guests to stop in with
high-quality photos or videos of your
menu offerings or drink specials.
Working with other local businesses can help everyone make it through the
slow times. Cross-promotional opportunities might include offering coupons
for free food as part of a membership package at a health club or creating
loyalty programs. You also may be able to host parties or special events for
neighboring retailers or service providers.
If you know when your business begins to slow down, there’s no
excuse for not being ready for it. Set aside some money while
you’re at your peak and stash it for a rainy day.
CONTROL YOUR COSTS
Budgeting is essential for any type of enterprise, especially when
your financial life depends on it. Understand exactly what your
overhead will be and you’ll be in a better position to cover those
costs when times are tight. Trim as much of the fat out of your
budget as you can during the off-season.
REDUCE LABOR COSTS
You may not need as much staff during the lean months as you
do while in your busy period. A new POS system also could help
make your staff more efficient and reduce your needs. For example,
tableside ordering and payment can expedite the time it takes to
turn tables. Automated sales and labor reports generated by these
systems also can help managers avoid overscheduling.
ADJUST YOUR HOURS
There’s nothing as wasteful as a
restaurant that’s open while no one
is eating there. If traffic slows to
a virtual crawl in winter, consider
adjusting your hours to reflect that.
You may want to close a few hours
earlier than usual or even shut down
completely on certain weeknights.
KNOW THE AREA
No restaurateur or bar owner wants to
be surprised by a dry season. If you’re
just starting, be sure to research the
market ahead of time and know if and
when the peaks and valleys occur.
REVISE YOUR MENU
Seasonal menu items can be a good
way to pull in customers while
experiencing an otherwise fallow
period. On the other hand, shrinking
your offerings when business slows
down can help you rein in expenses
and operate leaner.
CO FFEE SHOP