Running a restaurant takes effort. It comes with its own hits and misses. Every day can be a new challenge. Some months are super busy, and some are slow. While the slow months are bad for business, they give you the time to prepare for the upcoming busy ones.
Is your restaurant ready to make the most of the busy season ahead? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! Here is a list of tips that can help your business prepare for the rush.
1. Draft a plan- First things first, analyze your previous year’s performance. See what worked for you and what didn’t during the last busy season. Make a list of all the places you feel you fell short. Now you know where you need to improve. Also, look at the orders you received from the previous year and set your expectation accordingly.
2. Put yourself out there- You need to increase awareness, create a buzz, and get people talking about you. Whether it’s about your happy hour or brunch specials – spread the word. Social media is a great place to start. One, it doesn’t put a dent in your wallet, and two, it is highly effective. Here are a few ideas: create short videos to talk about your chef’s specials, initiate a social media contest and reward winners, launch a referral program, or invest in paid ads. Sending an email to your patrons is also a great way to promote new culinary creations and highlight the latest offers.
3. Examine your current solutions- Are your existing providers helping you increase sales while simplifying your day-to-day operations? If not, reach out to other companies to determine if they can provide better features and service—with minimal down time if you decide to switch to them. For example, not all online ordering platforms allow you to centralize orders from all delivery partners in one place or offer the Order with Google integration. You may be missing out on online sales channels that can expand your reach to new customers and drum up more sales.
4. Strengthen your loyalty program- It’s important to show your loyal customers that you appreciate them. In a world where there is an array of options to choose from, loyalty is hard to achieve. Expressing gratitude to loyal consumers by offering rebates early access to upcoming deals, and more, can make them stick around for longer.
5. Partner locally- Cross-selling with other businesses around you can be a win-win for both. For example, you can partner with the local winery to give complementary wine to guests who order a certain signature dish at your restaurant. Tactics like this will raise awareness of your restaurant and help the winery get discovered.
6. Improve your relationships with your suppliers- Building and maintaining a good supply chain to simplify the delivery processes for your customers is vital. Identify ways to optimize food costs and the food items that are becoming problematic for your profit margins and then rationalize accordingly. Ask your suppliers if they’re willing to contribute financially to special offers at your restaurant to gain visibility for their brand.
7. Pay close attention to your menu- If you’ve had a consistent menu for far too long, it’s time for a refresh. Examine your orders from the previous year to understand what sells best on your menu and what doesn’t. For the items that don’t sell, you can either remove them from the list or cut costs on their ingredients. Inflation has impacted everyone; grocery prices have sky-rocketed and hence it is important to rationalize to keep the business afloat. By understanding what types of foods have not been as affected by inflation as others, you can whip up new creations and seasonal menus to improve profits.
8. Get extra help- Busy periods can be hectic. A great way to navigate through this is to hire more staff or invest in a self ordering kiosk, giving you peace of mind and leaving you more time to work on other things that require your attention.
Busy periods can be stressful. But if you unlock your full potential during that time, you can smoothly run your business and increase profit margins.