Now that fall is here and daylight savings time has given us one less hour of daylight in the evening, many restaurant goers are choosing to dine out earlier in the evening. For some restaurants, this could mean a nearly empty dining room as the night wears on and closing time approaches.
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MN Certified Food Managers and Winter Hours
An empty dining room is never profitable, no matter what time of day it is. MN certified food managers still need to pay the salaries of cooks and wait staff as well as utility bills. It’s important to find solutions that help you maintain a healthy profit margin during the winter months when some diners forgo eating out to save up for Christmas shopping and holiday events.
If you notice a major drop off in business an hour or two before closing, you may wish to adjust your hours of operation accordingly. Some restaurants close an hour earlier during the first part of the week so that they can reduce labor costs during non-peak hours. Keep in mind that weekends still bring out late night diners, so look at the patterns of days you still have a full dining room before adjusting your schedule.
If you’re simply not comfortable with closing early, there are still plenty of options to keep your bottom line in check. Some restaurants keep their bar or lounge open while closing a majority of their dining room. This will allow you to serve a limited menu that can be prepared with a skeleton crew in the kitchen and eliminate the need for excessive service staff eating up payroll. However, due to local liquor regulations minors may not be able to dine in your lounge, so keeping a couple of tables outside of bar area may be a wise decision.
Do you make adjustments during non-peak dining times in the winter season? Leave your suggestions in the comments section below.