If you own a restaurant, you might suffer from this common issue: always busy on the weekends, but empty during the week. You are certainly not alone. There are plenty of restaurants who have the same issue. Even though the flow of clientele will naturally rise and fall with the day of the week and the time of the year, there are a few ways to improve your presence as a restaurant worth visiting during the week.
Enhance Your Social Media Presence
Social media is integral to remaining relevant in the restaurant industry. Most restaurants of all kinds will use some combination of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other social media networks. Keep your restaurant on the minds of the public by posting something new every day. This could range widely from sharing a patron’s photograph of a dish to a food review from a local newspaper or magazine. Mixing it up and posting different things will keep your followers interested. Luckily, your food is likely photo-worthy already, so posting a photo of your special dish may make at least one person’s mouth water enough to come in any day of the week. Additionally, always tag your posts with a few hashtags that will make you easier to find. Use social media to update your followers about deals and events, and get permission to repost photos from guests who loved what they ate!
Promote Generated Content
In addition to reposting fan photos, you can promote posts made by other people. If you get a particularly positive Yelp review, for example, you should post it to your website or Facebook. Furthermore, you should explore outside of social media and network with bloggers and food reviewers. Invite them into your restaurant for a free meal and a (hopefully) positive review. Doing so will widen your presence to people and tempt at least a few to come out early.
Depending on the kind of restaurant you have, this may or may not suit your style. However, more and more restaurants are taking advantage of companies like Grub Hub or Postmates that hire people to deliver food directly to the customers. Do you own a restaurant that serves particularly yummy ramen, but the lines are always long? There is likely someone out there who is craving your food on a Wednesday, but doesn’t want to risk the line or go out on a weeknight. Making yourself available on apps like the ones mentioned above are particularly helpful because you don’t send any of your staff to deliver it; the company brings its own drivers to you!
Host an Inclusive Event
Everyone likes a good time and a good photo opportunity. But special occasions do not need to be relegated to New Year’s and St. Patrick’s Day. While these are great times to draw crowds, you can also make waves by creating your own events. For instance, if you want to draw an audience around Christmas but you will be closed on Christmas Day, host a fun holiday party the Wednesday or Thursday before. Or, you can also create your own holiday of sorts—host an event dedicated to an era of music, a film genre, or anything else- the list goes on-and-on. Introducing an event like this every once and a while (and sharing photos and highlights on social media after!) will show that you have a unique presence and that these parties are not to be missed.
Update Your Menu
Every so often you should rotate some things on your menu. Keep the same flare that your patrons love and keep those signature dishes, but don’t be afraid to introduce something new. This can be something small like testing a new kind of burger to updating your liquor licenses for more privileges. If your establishment currently only serves wine and beer, consider adding liquor as well to expand one of the most profitable areas of your menu. However, this can be difficult, as many state licensing boards limit the number of available licenses in an area and these are often already allotted. In crowded areas like Southern California, this can drive up the prices. For example, liquor licenses in San Diego for sale are extremely hard and pricey to come by due to this scarcity. However, while this is a pricier expense, available alcohol will draw people—particularly professionals—in the middle of the week looking for a break with their coworkers or families. Try something new every once and a while and your clientele will be coming for more.