Ways to Increase Business On Slow Nights (Restaurants)

“Most restaurants go through lulls at some point in their development, but only the ones that learn from it and act properly make the cut. So what can you learn from these nights that can carry you through the inevitable ups and downs?”

Unfortunately, I can’t send you to the actual article that appears in this month’s Restaurant Startup & Growth Magazine. It is a great magazine for restaurant owners. You can get 6 months f*r*e*e by going to:

Restaurant Startup & Growth Magazine

According to the article, the questions related to overcoming slow nights are:

How do you increase business on those slow nights?

Do you create special menus?

Are aggressive advertising and coupon deals the answer?

Do you need to ramp up your social networking campaign?

Many restaurants just assume that it is normal to have slow nights and just do nothing.

Others take aggressive action to get “Butts In Seats.”

One way of getting patrons in on the slow nights is to offer free meals such as BOGO (buy one get one free). That won’t be too profitable.

You can experiment with 10%, 25% or 50% discounts and see how that works.

Or, you can try free beer, drinks, deserts or other specials on those slow nights.

I can agree, perhaps a 50% discount is rather large. On the other hand, it will surely give you an idea about how the discounting experiment will work in your business.

Maybe let your customers roll a pair of dice at the end of a meal. 2, 3, 11 or 12 gets a 50% discount. 7 gets a 10% discount. … and so on.

Discounting is not the best way of attracting customers. It does cut down on your profits, but eventually customers will expect it. You also don’t want to draw customers too far away from your establish menu pricing.

You can have special nights for local businesses. Have a baseball night. Have a joint promotion with a local bakery.

Maybe have a special night for those who follow you on Facebook.

You may also want to read:

70 Ways to Improve Slow Nights at Your Bar or (for both Restaurants and Retail Stores)

30 Ways to Increase Sales Without Discounting or the Quantum will show you:

How To Draw in Customers To Your Restaurant On “Slow” Days

I Hate Credit Card Minimums

If you have been reading this newsletter forever, you know that I do not like credit card minimums. I hate those signs that say, “$10” or “$25” minimum payment on credit cards.

I really do get it. It is a pain in the neck and expensive to have to process a 25 cent candy bar purchase on a credit card.

I just hate signs that discourage customers from buying.

The person who buys that 25 cent candy bar may become one of your best customers.

I believe that those who buy small items on a credit card will eventually grow to buy larger items. I believe that you should never turn away business.
Accepting credit cards helps you increase impulse buying. That candy bar buyer may decide to buy a larger candy bar or multiple candy bars because you were willing to gracefully accept his credit card.

I know that there are lots of businesses that discourage credit card use mainly because it makes it easier for the IRS and other agencies to track your true sales. I also know that businesses that accept credit cards can double their total sales. Certainly accepting credit cards can increase your sales by far more than your costs associated with accepting credit cards….but back to the question about requiring a minimum purchase prior to accepting a credit card. I hate the idea, but am well aware of the negatives related to accepting credit cards on small purchases.

If you are one of those businesses with signs requiring a minimum purchase, remove the sign. Try it out for 3 months and let me know what happens.

Let’s go back in history a bit.

Prior to 2010, most credit card networks prohibited merchants from having a minimum credit card charge.

Thanks to Dodd-Frank, it became legal to set up a minimum credit card charge. That minimum could be any thing up to $10.

Any business with a minimum above $10 would be breaking a federal law.

The law also stated that you can’t have different minimums for different credit cards.

Read more about credit card minimums at:

Merchants may require up to $10 minimum credit card purchase

or

Credit Card Minimum Purchase Law? (Updated 2013) (Credit Card Forum)

or

Merchants may require up to $10 minimum credit card purchase (Creditcard.com)

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