According to recent data from Thanx, a company that specializes in loyalty, 48 percent of U.S. adults make a restaurant purchase only on the weekend. For operators, this both poses a challenge and leaves a lot of room for opportunity during the traditional Monday thru Friday work week. So, we consulted with a handful of industry experts in our network. Below are some of their best answers.
Question: What are some tips or tactics that operators can implement to increase sales during the week (Monday thru Friday)?
“The best approach I've seen for restaurants to increase sales during the week is to offer menu items exclusively for that window. Those exclusive offers don't have to be discounts; they can be menu items that are only available during the week — lunch specials, drink specials, and catering specials are the easiest to implement. Make dining at your restaurant on Tuesdays for lunch or Wednesdays for dinner a different experience. Faster, lower calorie, or unique menu items are a great way to do this.”
— Brandon Hull, editor-in-chief of NextRestaurants.com
“Getting customers to dine out during the week just takes a little creativity. 1. Make a midweek day so special, full of fun, and such great value that locals can’t resist. This does not require giving away the farm. It does necessitate delivering what’s important to your customers. Depending on your market, this can range from a super social night where singles flock to your hot spot because of live music, or featuring popular menu items at a special price. 2. Make local groups feel like they belong. Designate a midweek day that’s focused on local businesses, neighborhood, community groups, or even unexpected special interest groups like black cat owners. Have patrons show proof like a business card, driver’s license, or have them show you a post on social media with a black cat — whatever is relevant to that group. Award the takers with special pricing or even a prix fixe menu named with the group in mind. This is a great reason to reach out and connect to groups or companies in your area.”
— Karen Post, branding expert, karenpost.com restaurantbrandingroadmap.com
“Having come from a culinary background, I tend to focus on enticing guests with unique flavors and/or special menus. One night could be a retro menu with the theme of 1965 Havana or 1947 Shanghai. I’ve also had great success with prix fixe menus, 3- or 4-course meals that are priced to show value are a great way to drive early week sales.”
— Donald Burns, The Restaurant Coach(TM)
“A restaurant needs a written strategic marketing plan created and lived by owners, partners, and the management team. The goal of the brand should be to communicate consistently with the local market and connect with guests — what is better, different and special. These tactics depend on restaurant segment. These are some of my favorite tips: 1. When you are spent from the weekend, relax with us on a weekday or night! 2. Order a meal and we’ll include a signature dessert! 3. We’re busy, but always have a table for you Monday-Friday! Tactics like these examples stimulate guest trial. They can also be adapted to use in a frequent guest (loyalty) approach.”
— William Bender, founder and principal at W.H. Bender & Associates
“Targeting restaurant guests during the week can be difficult, but with smart restaurant loyalty programs and restaurant marketing campaigns, your average Tuesday sales can fly past your average Saturday sales. 1. Restaurant marketing for new guests: Use your social media presence to your advantage. Offer specials specifically for weekdays on your Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter. 2. Loyalty emails for repeat guests: If you're actively collecting customer email addresses or phone numbers, send them targeted email campaigns during the week to share new recipes, specials, or events.”
— Allison Tetreault, content strategist for Toast and the restaurant industry