Weekends are the bread and butter of the restaurant industry (pun very much intended). People are just more likely to go out to eat on the weekends, and as a result that is when your restaurant is busiest, and where you make the vast majority of your money. The unfortunate result of that is that your weeknights are often slow. Without enough customers coming through the door on a Monday or Tuesday night, you might actually be looking at losing money on labor and energy costs.
One strategy is to close your establishment for a night where you know you’re not going to get a ton of business anyway. But a more enterprising entrepreneur will look for ways to entice more customers in the door. There are a lot of different options. You could try having some live music, or a bar trivia night, or if you’re feeling brave, host some karaoke.
Solutions like this can be very effective in the right settings with the right customers, but they can also be gimmicky, and require you to pay an outside party to come into your establishment and provide entertainment for your guests. So the question is, how can you entice customers in using only the resources you have?
As always, PJP has the answer.
A great way to engage your customer base with something unique that not many restaurants are offering, is to host a regular cooking class or demonstration. This can be an amazing way to draw in customers, and it doesn’t have to cost you anything extra. Bringing in your chef, or even hosting it yourself, allows you to introduce your team to your customers, and show them how you prepare some of your famous dishes. Or if you don’t want to give away your culinary secrets, your classes can be about things like how to pair wine with different dishes, or about general best practices in the kitchen.
Whatever your subject is, pick a few and then you can rotate through them semi-regularly, inserting new content into your curriculum as the various classes get stale. The attendance may start slow at first, but if you advertise appropriately and make sure your staff talk about the classes with your customers, before you know it you’ll be hosting a restaurant full of people every week who turned up just for your cooking classes.
The best part about hosting cooking classes is that it brings people into your restaurant and gets them interested in your food. But as an added benefit, you can actually turn those classes into a revenue generator by charging for them. People are willing to pay a modest ticket price for a quality culinary education experience, and before you know it they’re staying after the class to eat or drink with friends.
Hosting cooking classes in your restaurant is an amazing way to engage your customers, build brand loyalty, and make more money.