Notoriously, Tuesday and Wednesday nights are the slowest nights for restaurants. For decades, restaurants have tried to offer free alcohol, free desserts with meals, and specials to get people to come in on those nights. Here are a few strategies that you can use to get customers to come in on your slowest nights.
Discount of the Day
Offer a big discount that is only available on your slowest nights. For example, "$2 off Tuesdays" or "All dinners are Half off on Wednesdays."
Schedule a theme night. Family-friendly themes such as scary movie night (with scary costumes, decorations and possibly horror film if the restaurant has televisions), game night (with board games, cards and possibly a play area for smaller children) or karaoke night are a lot of fun. Children beg their parents to take them to get happy meals. Create a theme night that will get children to beg their parents to take them to your restaurant. Decorate the restaurant related to the theme and even encourage patrons to dress in costumes. The extra attention on the streets will also encourage business.
Donate the Dining Area to Charity for a Few Hours
Donate your restaurant space to charity organizations in the area and split the receipts. Don't charge them for renting the space for their event. Deane Brengle, editor of Fundraising for Small Groups Newsletter, says, "It makes the restaurant look good. Giving back to the community enhances their corporate image."
Tweet Special Deals
Use social media such as Twitter and Facebook to reach your customers on slow nights. Team up with online publications like Thrillist.com or social networks Groupon.com. These online communities send their subscribers daily promotional emails. Restaurant Hospitality magazine says "Businesses teaming up with Groupon have found it’s a good way to reach a younger demographic, to encourage new customers and to appeal to thrifty consumers, with no up-front investment."
Pass Out Fliers
Print up fliers from your computer and have one of your employees stand out on the nearest corner and pass out fliers to people passing by. It's old-fashioned, but it still works.