The Eat Out to Help Out scheme is helping out massively. Kickstarting restaurants at an ordinarily quiet time and taking advantage of the fact that we are staying ‘local’.
Neighbourhood restaurants are reporting ‘weekend like trade’ Monday to Wednesday, and some are even doing December turnover. Along with the 15% VAT holiday, this is helping to hold prices and boost revenue while the added footfall is pulling staff back of furlough.
But what happens when the Eat Out to Help Out scheme ends? Weekends look after themselves, but customers love the idea of a midweek deal, so we need to pursue that direction.
50% off, or set price menus are not something new, but it’s the way you package it! Early diner menus work well from 5-7 pm, offer a reduced menu made up of the highest gross profit items from your main menu – this will enable you to absorb the lower selling price. Customers, when given a cheaper menu, tend to buy more drinks at a high gross profit. If your early diner menu consists of fewer elements on the plate, you can upsell sides.
Themed nights work well; steak nights, mains and desserts at a set price, three courses for two with a bottle of house wine. All these offers work well and help fill a restaurant on a rainy Tuesday evening. Suppliers can help with ideas and deals to help you create a menu. You can experiment and change your menu weekly, keeping what works and discarding the rest.
See what your supplier can offer that will reduce prep time and attract customers. For example, pre-portioned hand-crafted desserts that need a garnish to finish. While the cost price per portion may be higher, the labour cost and wastage are reduced.
Look at different cuts of meat and fish where you can still create amazing dishes but will reduce costs.
Offering simplified early dinner menus will help you reduce prep time, manage your staffing levels and increase your kitchen flow rate.
Social media is a great way to promote your offers to potential diners. If you have a customer database, you can send your regulars advanced invites, we all like to feel special!
When Eat Out to Help Out ends, you should be in a position to keep the momentum going – customers are now excited about early or mid-week dine outs that they have seen and enjoyed just as much as the weekend.