Revamp your menu
Take a closer look at your restaurant menu. Are there certain menu items that aren’t moving? Are your food costs accurate? It may be time to trim down your menu and remove pricier items and offer less expensive items that will appeal to customers on a budget—at least until the storm passes.
Don’t cut digital marketing
Marketing costs can quickly eat up extra cash from any restaurant budget. However, a recession is not the time to cut out all marketing. While you don’t need to do a full-scale media assault, you should budget out enough for social media campaigns and keep your website updated. Needless to say, if you aren’t using social media to promote your restaurant, you should be.
Keep an eye on your payroll
If certain days/nights are slow, can your GM jump in and serve as host/hostess? Or can a bartender also serve? However, be wary of cutting back too much staff at the risk of sacrificing customer service. If you have a new restaurant, don’t make any sweeping changes to your staffing schedule until you see patterns arise after a few months of business. One, two, or even three weeks in a row doesn’t mean that business won’t pick up.
Offer smart promotions
BOGOs, coupons, and pickup/delivery specials are all great ways to lure in customers during a recession. Offer them the most bang for their buck on your slowest days to better even out your weekly traffic. Heavily promote on your social channels for maximum exposure.
Historically speaking, restaurants are actually more resistant to economic downturns than other businesses when run correctly. As long as your fixed costs are not astronomical, and you carefully watch your prime costs, you’re in a much better position as a restauranteur than a real estate agent, real estate developers, or luxury retail operator.