You run a restaurant and your weekends are busy and if you could just get some steady business on the weekdays, you would be doing really well. However, no matter what you try it doesn’t seem to have a large effect. What do you need to do?
Build Your Weekends
First, what may seem counter-intuitive. Your best way to build your weekdays is to get your weekends busier. Let me explain. When you try to specifically make your weekdays busier you are competing with human psychology. For the most part, the average person has a general routine that involves going to work in a nine-to-five job, coming home, having dinner and watching their favorite shows. To make your weekdays busier you are in essence going against this flow. This may work here and there but will not give you consistent business.
Instead, if you create a busier weekend, those that wish to dine in your restaurant but are unable to on the weekends will have no choice but to visit you during the week.
Further, your weekends are when you likely attract the most new guests and your weekends are also likely to be the time that your regulars bring in their friends, expanding your clientele. If you aren’t focused on your weekends you can miss these chances to bring in new people.
As your weekends get busier and busier your weekdays will start to pick up because of all of the factors listed above. You can then add-in your weekday specials that can help to create new habits to bring in consistent regulars week-to-week. The difference here is that you are hooking people that are already dining in your restaurant on a weekday and encouraging them to come back on that day every week as opposed to trying to convert a weekend customer into a weekday customer against their normal routine.
Now, no matter what you do you will likely not have weekdays that are as busy as your weekends. This, as discussed, is due to human psychology and routine. You won’t win. However, your goal should be that you are so busy on weekends that you are turning away people that want to dine at your restaurant that you just don’t have the room for. This will create new weekday traffic and make your weekdays profitable at a lower volume, but also at a lower labor cost. Ideally, your weekdays provide enough business to cover all of your expenses for the week. Then, the remainder of the weekend becomes your profit. If you are covering all of your expenses for the entire week while turning a profit on your weekdays, you are doing really great.
So, once you have your weekends busy enough and your weekdays are starting to grow, what types of marketing should be done to keep your weekday guests coming back?
There are many different marketing techniques that you can do to create regulars on your weekdays. Start by evaluating your concept and finding a market you are able to target that falls in line with your restaurant’s story and also your business niche. See these articles to determine your story and your niche for some extra inspiration.
Once you have some customers that are coming in consistently ask them how they heard about you, why they keep coming back, and interests they have so that you can target similar customers.
Appeal To Your Target Customer
Match your weekday specials to your restaurant philosophy. If you are primarily a sports bar, then do specials for sports games. Don’t get too crazy with it and try to do half off wine specials on off nights or high-end entree deals. This is likely not going to appeal to your target customer and accordingly not ensure continued business.
Instead, try to do special deals on your most popular items. Remember the goal is to attract customers back on to your less busy days. If you offer them cheap products that they are not interested in because it’s more affordable for you to do so, your customers will not appreciate the special enough to come back for it. If however a customer enjoys an entree on the weekend and finds out it’s $5 cheaper on a weekday, they are much more likely to come in for it. Therefore, arrange your specials around your best items. This may be common sense however when you’re trying to stir up new business you can often try to get too creative with it and miss the obvious.
Bringing it back, the best way to build your weekdays is to build your weekends. Once your weekends are busy enough they will flood into your weekdays. You should have specials on your weekdays that entice weekend visitors to return during the week and then become regulars. Your weekday specials should revolve around popular items that incorporate your best selling items on the weekends. This will give you the best possibility of attracting weekday customers and building your weekday business. You have to have a great enough deal to entice people to break out of there general routines and want to come to your restaurant. And finally, when you do get your weekday customers to come in, make sure you take care of them extra well to keep them coming back again and again every week.