A Dozen Ways to Fill Your Restaurant During Off-Peak Times
Every restaurant experiences slower business during some dayparts or days of the week. How can you fill those empty seats? Here are twelve proven off-peak perks that can pull in customers.
- If lunch time is slow, make coupons available to dinner guests offering free soup or salad with a lunch sandwich or entree.
- Sample menu items from other dayparts at every meal. Encourage dinner wait staff to recommend their favorite lunch dishes and vice versa.
- Schedule specials by day, such as "Kids Eat Free Mondays," half-price wine nights or free dessert days.
- Start a frequent diner card program that includes menu item discounts for slower dayparts or a free beverage on your down night. If you reward customers with a "10th dinner free," count any dinner purchased on Monday as two meals.
- Reward your employees on a slower night with a "bring your friends and family night," allowing one out of three in their party to eat for free.
- Incent your regular customers with a discount on Monday or Tuesday if they bring a friend who has never experienced your restaurant.
- Identify local clubs, service groups and others that regularly meet on your slow nights and entice them with special offers.
- Promote a happy hour pricing menu for your slowest period of the day or offer early bird discounts from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m.
- Partner with a local wine shop to hold a Monday or Tuesday night wine tasting.
- Create "midday munchies" and "mid-eve munchies" coupons for appetizer or dessert sampler plates to pull diners in between lunch and dinner or during late evening.
- Begin relationships with your next generation of customers by creating college or high school student discount nights.
- Support a charitable cause by contributing a portion of your receipts on a typically slow day. Work with the organization's fundraising or marketing team to promote the event and generate publicity.
Use your imagination and you'll be surprised how much your off-peak business can perk up.