Having tables filled with happy customers and overflowing reservations is fantastic. However, making sure that you don't let those profits trickle away between your fingertips on your slow days is one of the biggest challenges facing restaurant owners.
Should you close your restaurant on Mondays? If you can reach your financial and personal goals without keeping your restaurant open seven days a week, then yes, you should consider closing on Mondays. There are several benefits you can enjoy impacting your profit margin and staff morale. However, there are some other points to consider.
We are going to discuss the pros and cons of closing your business on Mondays versus remaining open seven days a week. We will also present a few other points to consider before making your final decision.
Advantages to Closing Your Restaurant on Mondays
Mondays are typically the slowest day of the week in the restaurant industry. For that reason, many restaurants close that day instead of remaining open seven days a week.
However, there are several other benefits to consider when deciding whether to close on Mondays.
Increasing Profit Margins
Often, restaurants spend more money keeping open on Mondays than they take in from customers. For example, payroll is typically a restaurant's most considerable operating expense. Closing on Monday is an excellent way of offsetting the lost revenue from poor customer sales receipts.
As Restaurant Business Online recently reported, labor costs for a restaurant range from about 25 percent of the total expenditure on the low end to 35 to 40 percent on the upper end. Rent and utility costs typically range from about 5 to 10 percent of a restaurant's total expenditures.
Along those lines, while it's true that you are still paying rent for Mondays, whether your restaurant is open or closed, you will save on utility costs such as electricity, gas, and water. Overall you can typically offset the initial financial loss incurred by closing on Monday through your weekly and monthly savings on payroll and utilities.
Shifting Customers to Tuesday
Many restaurants report experiencing a boost in customers on Tuesdays after closing on Mondays. Often, customers who would typically frequent a restaurant on Monday simply shift over to Tuesday upon learning that their favorite restaurant is closed.
Other restauranteurs look to creative value-driven promotions to drive more traffic to Tuesdays. You ever heard about Taco Tuesdays? What about Two for Tuesday deals?
However, you accomplish it, combining sales from Monday and Tuesday is a great way to save on both payroll and utility expenses.
Completing Non-Service-Related Tasks
Closing your restaurant to customers on Mondays is a great way to make time for routine tasks not related to serving meals.
For example, Mondays can be a great time to schedule routine services like carpet cleaning during the daylight hours instead of having to pay personnel to oversee the workers after hours.
Likewise, you can schedule repair services and other maintenance tasks without having to worry about inconveniencing customers.
Additionally, you can schedule employee training sessions on Mondays, and you can perform bookkeeping tasks without all the usual distractions from customers.
Best of all, completing all these non-service tasks while closed allows you to keep a laser focus on customers when you are open for business.
Having a Regular Day Off
Burnout is a huge concern in the restaurant industry. Unlike many jobs, restaurant workers typically spend most of their time on their feet on hard floors. Additionally, backroom staff members have the additional burden of working in hot kitchens.
Closing on Mondays is a great way to schedule a regular day off for yourself and your employees. Your employees can schedule meetings, appointments, and events ahead of time, knowing they are always available on Mondays. Likewise, they don't have to worry about being called or begged to come in for work at the last minute.
Additionally, most stores and businesses are open on Mondays, making it an excellent day for your employees to take care of personal matters like shopping and paying bills.
Best of all, having one consistent day off each week is a great way to boost morale for employees. And as we all know, happy workers are productive workers.
Disadvantages to Closing Your Restaurant on Mondays
There are some negative points to consider when deciding whether to close on Mondays.
Potential Revenue Loss
Even though Mondays are the slowest day of the week for most restaurants, you will experience an initial loss of revenue if you decide to close that day. It is impossible not to see a reduction in earnings with reduced hours of service.
The hope is that with increased employee morale and decreased payroll and utility costs, you can offset that loss. However, your overall weekly revenue figures may decrease permanently with the reduction in hours of operation.
There is also a risk of disappointing your regular customers when you suddenly close for business on Mondays. Some regulars will inevitably be disappointed after driving across town to discover you are closed.
Additionally, there is always the risk that customers will go to another restaurant Monday and have such a pleasant experience that they shift their customer loyalty to that establishment.
That is one of the reasons you see so many businesses that remain open during significant remodeling projects. Likewise, retaining customer loyalty is the motivation behind service-related companies remaining open seven days a week.
And you have to admit it--there is nothing worse than getting dress up and driving across town for your favorite meal only to discover it is closed that day.
Other Points to Consider
Losing the Monday Advantage
Increasingly, restaurants are opting to close for business on Mondays since it is typically the slowest day of the week. However, this provides an excellent opportunity for restaurants that choose to remain open that day as there is decreased competition.
And, as we discussed above, there is always the possibility you might pick up new regulars looking for a break in their usual routine.
Optimizing Restaurant Operations During Slow Days
If your primary consideration is saving money by closing on the slowest week, you might want to rethink that idea. There are a variety of ways to boost the rate of customer turnout on Mondays without spending a dime.
For example, you can create special targeted events on Mondays like family dinners, mother and toddler lunches, or Monday night football parties.
Likewise, you can create special offers and promotions on Mondays to bring in more customers. "Two-for-one appetizers," or "buy one, get the second one for half-price," are great incentives to boosting customer turnout on otherwise slow Mondays.
Better yet, the markup on beverages can't be beaten, so offering drink specials on Mondays is a great way to increase customer turnout while boosting revenue margins at the same time.
Last, consider only running delivery service on Mondays to decrease the amount of personnel required to remain open for business that day. A lot of people are tired and unmotivated on Monday and don't feel like getting dressed up to sit in a restaurant anyway. This situation is an excellent opportunity to take advantage of that fact.
In the final analysis, this is a decision requiring careful consideration on a case-by-case basis. As we discussed above, there are clear benefits to closing one day if week if you can afford the initial hit to your income.
On the flip side, if your finances are already stretched to the limit, it might make more sense for you to remain open seven days a week.
In the end, it is a personal choice, and we wish you the best in all your endeavors.