When you own a 24-hour diner, you can expect certain times of the day are going to be busier than others. For example, breakfast will likely be one of your most lucrative periods. To keep revenue rolling in and your waitstaff happy during the slow periods, try implementing one of these four strategies for bringing customers through the door.
1. Run a Pie and Coffee Special
Many people crave a mid-afternoon pickup. What could be better than a quick cup of coffee and a slice of something sweet to tide them over until dinner? Full-service restaurants often experience a severe drop in business from about 2-4 each afternoon.
Draw customers in with a caffeinated beverage and a sugary treat at a discounted price. You don't have to make your desserts from scratch, either. Food purveyors offer excellent quality desserts. You could also consider partnering with a popular local bakery or offer simple desserts, such as bread pudding, which is also a great way to use up stale bread and rolls.
2. Host "Ladies Who Lunch" Events
Many women, particularly older women who are no longer in the workforce, enjoy getting together with their gal pals for a casual lunch. If your afternoons are slow, offer up space for a group of women to gather for a bite to eat and play cards, discuss the latest read in their book club, or see a product demonstration. Come up with easy set menu choices that most ladies love, such as salads or quiche. Your kitchen staff will appreciate the simplicity of the menu as well, allowing them more time to catch up before the dinner rush.
3. Push Meatless Mondays
A lot of people are interested in improving their eating habits, and for some, that includes making a conscious effort to eat less meat. Since Mondays are often one of the slowest restaurant days, you can entice customers with your weekly vegetarian specials.
You don't need to buy special meat replacement products or strange ingredients — simply offer favorite foods that happen to be meat-free. For example, almost everyone loves a classic grilled cheese sandwich with tomato soup. Cheese ravioli with a salad and garlic bread or spicy red beans and rice with cornbread are other great options.
4. Appeal to the Bar Crowd
Who doesn't love a fat cheeseburger, French fries and a malt, or eggs and corned beef hash after a night of drinking? You're open anyway, so you may as well appeal to the hungry club crowd in the wee hours of the morning. Offer a limited menu of after-bar food to keep things simple.