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How Your Restaurant or Bar Can Survive the Slow Months


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Follow these tips to ensure your business can weather a quiet season.

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How Your Restaurant or Bar Can Survive the Slow Months

  1. 1. 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. Promotions Think ahead 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. Plan events 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. Be social 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. Partner 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. Finance BE PREPARED 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. Operations 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. PIZZA CO FFEE SHOP BISTRO Ice Cream