Our Top 4 Restaurant Sales Strategies for Memorial Day

May 22, 2018 by Larry Struckman

The summer season has two important holiday bookends - Memorial Day to kick off summer and Labor Day for one last hurrah before fall. Since summer provides a big opportunity to capture more sales for your restaurant, having a plan in place starting with Memorial Day will help you see a more successful season. Comprehensive restaurant sales strategies will help your business overcome hurdles of the summer season and increase profits over the previous year. Here are our top four restaurant sales strategies to implement for Memorial Day and carry throughout summer.

Drive Traffic with Featured Items

For any holiday, one of the tried and true restaurant sales strategies is to have menu items and drinks at a discount or featured price. However, Memorial Day presents the opportunity to experiment with ongoing specials that you can carry throughout the summer. Try to create a happy hour or late night featured items  to combat slow sales periods. Highlight the items as a limited time opportunity for summer only. Not only are people looking for things to do in the summer, but great deals will always get people in the door.

Sonic, the fast food drive in chain, is a great example of this. They created an afternoon happy hour during their slow sales period one summer to see if it increased sales, a strategy they began on Memorial Day. This happy hour increased sales so dramatically that they made their happy hour a permanent special. Sonic has even used the opportunity to create new drink recipes and test out their popularity with happy hour. The same strategy can be used for your restaurant.

Remember the Meaning of the Holiday

Memorial Day is more than a day off work. The day is about remembering the sacrifices fallen military members have made for our nation. Your restaurant can commemorate the holiday by donating a percentage of all sales to a foundation for families of fallen soldiers. This will help drive traffic to your restaurant, help create repeat patrons, and remember the holiday by giving back to the military in a special way. You can also provide a discount to military members and their families, similar to Veteran’s Day.

Start Training Waitstaff Using Restaurant Sales Strategies

Using the strategies above, now you need to ensure your staff is well trained and ready to capture summer sales. Summer training is different from training the rest of the year because of the different availability your staff has. You will likely need to hire extra help for the summer or your younger staff will be home from college and rusty on training. All of your staff needs to be well trained and ready to provide the best service possible. No matter what other strategies you have in place, they will be less effective if your staff is not creating an excellent guest experience.

Get Ahead of Summer Scheduling Challenges

It is hard to capitalize on summer sales if you do not have trained waitstaff coverage throughout the season. Some of your staff will be expecting more time off, requiring you to get creative with scheduling or to hire more staff. Likewise, you may have some of your younger staff coming home from college and wanting as many hours as possible. The difficulty is in balancing your scheduling where you give the staff who wants hours enough time to keep them around all summer and ensuring you have enough coverage when your regular staff needs off for summer fun. Start overcoming this by asking all your staff if there are any known chunks of time they need off during the summer to put placeholders in your schedule for when you know you will need coverage. You also need to quiz your staff on what hours they need for summer. From there, you can be more proactive about creating schedule for each summer month.

For more summer scheduling tips, don’t forget to check out our blog on summer scheduling tips for your waitstaff’s hectic schedule. https://blog.shiftnote.com/schools-out-for-summer-scheduling

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Larry Struckman

Passionate about setting up systems and procedures that assure success, training, consulting, growing sales, strategic planning, creating "raving fan" customer service and just about anything related to food service. 25+ years in food and sales as well as growing hundreds of concepts with different operators (I have seen them all). I enjoy cooking, computer software, Taekwondo and spending time with my family. We started ShiftNote in 2007 to help organizations like yours create a better platform for shift-to-shift communication across their organization. Our purpose is to serve you with the best online digital logbook and employee scheduling software on the market so you can spend more time focusing on growing your business.