When you own a waterfront seafood restaurant, there is often a busy season and an off-season. During months when the weather is nice and everyone comes on vacation, you get plenty of business. During months when the weather is not so nice, business might slow to a trickle. So, how can you manage to stay open and profitable during that off-season? Here are a few tips.
Pivot Your Menu
Take a good look at your menu, and pare it down considerably as you head into the off-season. Take off any dishes that do not sell like hotcakes, are hard for your staff to prepare, or don't have a good profit margin. This allows you to do two things. First, it allows you to keep fewer ingredients in stock, so you go through more of the ones you do have and end up with less waste. You may even be able to have trucks deliver less often, which can save you some cash. Second, it makes it easier for you to cuff back on staff. You can run your kitchen with a smaller crew when the menu is shorter and there are fewer customers to cook for, which reduces the cost of staffing.
Only Serve Local Seafood
During peak season, you probably had seafood trucked in from elsewhere, either in order to keep up with demand or to include items on the menu that could not be caught locally. During the off-season, though, it is wise to pivot away from this. Only buy and serve what can be caught and sold from the local waters. This keeps costs down, as local seafood tends to be far more affordable. It also allows you to advertise that you only sell locally caught seafood. This is a good marketing tactic that can help bring in more customers when things are slow. Local seafood is widely seen as more ethical and eco-friendly, and that has an appeal to customers.
Shorten Your Hours
People often think of seafood as something nice to enjoy as a treat. They are less likely to go out for seafood on a weekday, for example, than on a Saturday or Sunday. If you're not getting business during the week, consider closing mid-week and only opening on the weekends. You'll save a lot on staffing and utilities.
With the tips above, you'll have an easier time keeping your waterfront seafood restaurant profitable in the off-season.
For more information about running a waterfront seafood restaurant, contact a local company.