With January right around the corner, the outlook can be cold and bleak… and for many, we’re not just talking about the weather. Don’t worry, you can change the forecast for your restaurant. Look at the typically slower months of January and February as opportunities to start the new year off right. Find another market, introduce a new item, or try out a unique concept. The crowds are more manageable and you’ll have more opportunities to experiment and seek feedback.
- Add new menu items. This is perfect time to have your chefs explore new items. Be sure that you’re creating dishes that your customers want. In these times of “I can’t believe I gained seven pounds this season,” you may want to introduce a new healthy line and market it accordingly.
- Spruce up the menu. You already know the menu is prime real estate, but consider seasonal menus. Different items appeal at different times of the year and by rotating menus, you’ll be able to feature seasonal, locally grown, and sustainable items and you’ll have the opportunity to position your more profitable—and marketable—items more carefully.
- Promote somebody. If you’ve been meaning to give someone a new opportunity, consider a “partial” promotion. Schedule one or two slower shifts for new positions (managers, servers, etc.) and allow team members to ease their way into new positions.
- Try a new concept. When your private room stays vacant night after weekday night, consider marketing to a new crowd. Try out “8-minute dates” (a way for singles to meet), a Monday night Book Club, a post-basketball game banquet. By searching out local clubs and organizations—or creating your own—you can turn your operation into a weekly favorite.
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