How Small Restaurants are Maximizing their Operating Hours

Posted by Natalie Korz

Natalie is the Technical Writer for SpeedLine Solutions. Her adoration for pizza goes all the way back to the early days of her childhood when her family used to have Friday Pizza Nights and watch America's Funniest Home Videos.

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"There are no successful chain pizzerias in America that close." To a certain extent, this is true. After all, customers don't understand the reasoning behind your restaurant's operating hours. Something as seemingly simple as closing for a few hours midday or shutting your doors on Mondays can become an unexpected deterrent for future business. Here are some of the strategies mom-and-pop shops are using to turn a profit on slow days.

Create Exclusive Offers

Incentivize your customers to come in on a Monday, Tuesday, or whenever your restaurant experiences a lull. A 20% off coupon, 2-for-1 deal, or pickup discount are all excellent incentives to draw deal-hunters to your location. Customers with coupons visit restaurants an average of seven times a month, compared to non-coupon holders who go out less than five times a month—that's a 68% increase! Additionally, consider mobile discounts if you have an online store; 77% of shoppers spend anywhere from $10 to $50 more than expected when redeeming mobile coupons!

Host Group Events

Group events can come in two forms. The first method is to reach out to different groups within your community who are looking for a place to hold gatherings to play or discuss their hobbies (game nights are quite trendy). The second option is to host unique events that will attract a a larger crowd to your restaurants (trivia and karaoke are excellent examples of this). In both cases, these events can attract large, reliable crowds at scheduled times while building your presence within the community.

Execute Targeted Campaigns

Similar to group events and exclusive offers, you can run targeted campaigns to get people excited to dine at your restaurant or order your food online. Pizza Hut, for example, ran a "Don't Cook Wednesday" campaign that encouraged customers to relax after a busy day of work in the middle of the week and order pizza to save time and take away the stress of planning and cooking a meal.

Offer Third-Party Delivery Service Discounts

If you use third-party delivery services, try offering discounts on slow days to increase the incentive for customers who may not have previously considered ordering. These promotions allow your restaurant to stay accessible for ordering and pickup with the added bonus of reducing staffing costs. Encouraging customers to use a third-party service to order their food also presents an excellent upsell opportunity, especially for popular or higher-priced menu items they might not normally consider.

Offer Seasonal Promotions

It's no secret: some months are slower than others. Innovate exciting seasonal menu items that excite your customers and inspire them to want to give it a taste for themselves. Something as simple as a Super Bowl family meal combo or St. Patrick's Day milkshake can be the tipping point between customers choosing your restaurant instead of your competitor. In addition to being a perfect way to entice customers to come in on slow days, new menu items present an excellent opportunity to keep your social media pages and website up to date with your latest offerings.


Every business experiences lulls; however, that isn't stopping restaurants from staying open on days that hold great potential to turn a profit. Exclusive offers, discounts, promotions, targeted campaigns, and event nights are all proven ways to get customers through your door or order online. Not only do these strategies help you mitigate overhead costs, but they also help you build strategies that can easily be expanded to other days of the week to attract more customers. If you'd like to learn more about how to optimize profits from your online ordering site, read The Secret to a Profitable Restaurant Chain Ordering Site.

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Posted on Fri, Sep 23, 2022 @ 09:09 AM.
Updated on February 28, 2023 @ 9:24 PM PST.

Tags: Customer Loyalty, Mobile Ordering, Online Ordering, Restaurant Management, Restaurant Operations, Upselling

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