Adjusting Hours & Cutting Dayparts

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QUESTION From: Zeke R. In WY

“After looking at all my sales records for two years, believe it or not Saturdays are our worse day. Only in this area would a restaurant be slow on Saturdays!  So now I’m thinking of closing on Saturdays until the summer. I hate doing this but it stupid to be open and not covering our costs. Rant over.”


HH Answer:

I’m usually the first one in the room to cite “self-fulfilling prophecy” whenever the subject of cutting staff or cutting dayparts comes up but, after 2 years of trying to turn around slow to no sales, you should be able to sleep at night knowing you gave it your best shot.

Unless there’s a significant change in your demographic, I’d say it sounds like you have a private event / party space available every upcoming Saturday.

Consider investing some of your (and your staff’s) time developing a family style menu & catering menu...then advertise the hell out of your being “Now Available For Your Private Events & Parties” - starting with warm calls to your existing customers and cold calls to every local: business, civic assoc., church, temple, school, jeweler, hospital, funeral home, etc...

By only opening on days/nights when you know you’ll be fully committed, you’ll not only realize some additional revenue; you’ll be minimizing both your food and labor costs / running at maximum efficiency.

Whether it’s adjusted business hours for a holiday, a renovation, a day of inventory, an entire season or until further notice…just be sure to triple check your reservations & any private events that may have been booked (or discussed) and provide as much notice as possible to your guests before making the adjustment.

Consider posting the pending change to your operating hours on your: outgoing msgs/voicemail, menus, door(s), walls (where/if appropriate), guest checks, websites, social media pages (FB, Insta, Yelp, Trip Advisor, etc…) table tents and anywhere else your hours may be posted (i.e., Google and other online platforms).

If it’s a time adjustment, be prepared to seat guests 15-20 mins after your posted closing time for the first month or two.

The last thing you want to do is blind side a loyal guest (or potentially deter someone from becoming one) by surprising them when they pull on the door and it just doesn’t open.

Thanks for the question / rant;)

Josh