Many restaurants that are located in tourist and college towns usually shut down during their slow months, but is it possible to run a successful restaurant business year round? Jay Khan and Rob Longstreet, who are both restaurant owners, stated that: Yes, it is achievable to continue the business during the off seasons in the article — “11 Ways to Survive the Slow Season” (Barrett, 2017). Khan is the owner of RJ Mexican Cuisine in Dallas, Texas, and Longstreet owns the Craft Public House in Athens, Georgia. Both run successful restaurants year round as each owner follows the 11 simple steps to stay profitable, including:
1. Start planning early
2. Involve your vendors
3. Meet your neighbors
4. Run contests
5. Enlist outside help
6. Test new specials
7. Have a party
8. Hold a pop-up event
9. Spread the word
10. Follow up with previous guests
11. Trim operating costs (Barrett, 2017)
These recommendations may appear simple and common sense, but in reality, many owners may not think of these ideas or take the time to execute them. First, planning is key, and Khan believes one cannot plan too early. In his example, his restaurant starts planning for the Christmas season as early as in July (Barrett, 2017). Planning so far in advance would require preparation time and actively pursuing leads to guarantee there will be business later on, but if a business has already established objectives, this should not be a huge problem.
Another idea is working with your vendors by promoting special deals with the vendors’ products. This would require maintaining good relationships with your vendors for discounts on products. Building a good relationship with/among other businesses is also essential to success, which can provide more business exchanges and open doors for partnerships, helping one another out by promoting one another’s products.
Holding contests for customers and employees is another fantastic idea in bringing in more profits. Through the process of contests, restaurants and customers are able to interact with one another, fostering better relationships that can lead to more business. It is an investment by giving away gift cards or free entrees, but its long-term effects can result in loyal customers. Restaurants can create a more unified workforce by organizing contests among the employees to increase sales and build relationships among the staff.
Both Khan and Longstreet mention that holding events like different types of parties or “pop-up events” is another great way of getting new businesses (Barrett, 2017). It will require the owners to think outside the box but can result in attracting more local traffic by providing special occasions like a paint night or book signing. “Pop-up events” are another amazing tools as it allows restaurants to be known in unique settings, most commonly found in farmers’ markets (Barrett, 2017).
Khan and Longstreet recommended that restaurants should stay active on keeping the public aware of its promotions and activities. During the slow months when other restaurants may be closed, it turns out to a perfect time to gain more customers, which can happen through consistent advertisement. Keeping in touch with past customers is another way to gain more business by keeping customers loyal through such personal communication methods as emails and phone calls. The last recommendation, reducing costs, is fairly easy to perform if the restaurant understands and manages its costs.
Both Khan and Longstreet provide some good suggestions on how a restaurant may be able to stay successful even during the slow seasons. Every restaurant is a little different with distinct goals, but these concepts can be taken and used by the majority of restaurants. Being able to succeed even during the slow seasons is encouraging. It certainly takes effort and thorough planning, but it will pay off in the long run, leading to a more successful business.
Are these suggestions helpful? What other recommendations will you make to the restaurants who open for business even during the slow reasons?
About the Author
Victoria Alahuzos transferred to Cal Poly Pomona in January of 2017. Victoria is studying hospitality management with an emphasis in hotel operations and a minor in Spanish. For fun, Victoria runs, bakes cookies, scrapbooks her traveling memories, and hikes with friends. Currently, Victoria works at the Ayres Suites in Diamond Bar as a front desk agent. Victoria plans to graduate in the summer of 2018 and will hopefully spend the summer in Europe on the Cal Poly Pomona’s Study Abroad Program.
Barrett, Liz (2017). 11 Ways to Survive the Slow Season. Retrieved July 10, 2017, from http://www.restaurant-hospitality.com/marketing/11-ways-survive-slow-season
The picture on this post was downloaded from http://www.seasons52.com/menu-listing/lunch