How to fill restaurant downtimes is a common issue for most restaurant owners. If you are in a busy night time area, how do you get people to come in during the day? Or if you are a hopping weekday spot, what do you do the weekend? Specific targeted restaurant marketing campaigns are perfect for getting business during these times.
Putting together offers, services, and products applicable to restaurant downtimes is an important start.
Some ideas for how to fill restaurant downtimes
- Offer something free to new restaurant customers or a money off coupon for existing customers that is redeemable only during the down time hours. While you will be giving away something free, the revenue from the customers that accompany your customer as well as the repeat business, will far outweigh the cost.
- Develop a package for subgroups such as clubs or businesses. Often these clubs meet at specific times that could be comparable to your restaurant downtimes.
- Plan special entertainment in your establishment for slow times. Get creative and think about what would thrill the customer (live music, poetry readings, wine tasting). If you have been building a database of customers, now is the time to communicate. There are an unlimited number of things that can be done to build your business how and when you want the business.
- Have a special kids event. Many times caregivers are looking for something to do in off hours, which will not only answer your question on how to fill restaurant downtimes, but also give your restaurant more exposure to an audience that may not know it yet. You can do follow up restaurant marketing programs to get those parents to come for a date night or other time without their children.
- During sports event such as the World Series or the World Cup, which notoriously leaves dining restaurants practically empty of men for almost a month, one restaurant turned this challenge into an advantage for the establishment. They had a special ‘girls night out’ promotion, where during the month any group of two or more women was given complimentary glasses of champagne and flowers. This promotion not only filled the restaurant on a normally down time, but gave the restaurant a great personality among the women of the community and brought a good quantity of repeat business, as these women who had discovered the restaurant brought their husbands and boyfriends back for a meal after the sporting event was over.
- Instead of trying to compete with everyone’s offer at different seasonal times, why not try to capitalize on other moments around these holiday seasons. At Christmas or Thanksgiving offer a ‘shopping break’ coupon for a hot mulled wine and piece of pie to fill afternoon dead time.
- Partner with a nearby shop who can send their shoppers to you for a quick pick me up after their purchases are paid for.
Don’t forget that you can also use the quieter times in restaurant to have staff take care of a multitude of necessary tasks, making downtimes for efficient use of time and resources rather than just a drain.
What do you about how to fill restaurant downtimes? Have a look at the many ideas and done for you templates in our restaurant marketing library, and share with us your ideas in the comments below.