So you have a steady stream of customers through the door at dinner? Or perhaps your breakfast menu attracts a line each morning? But come lunchtime, you just aren’t seeing the numbers and are left scratching your head while your competitors pump out orders. There can be a number of reasons that venues struggle at lunchtime, but with the right strategy this can become the most profitable time of day for your business.
Follow our 6 steps to taking advantage of the lunchtime rush.
Determine your Target Market
Before you start any strategy, you must first understand who your lunchtime customers are. Are they office workers who only have an hour for lunch, meaning you must get them in and out of your venue within 30-45 minutes, or even less? Are they stay-at-home parents looking for a family outing? Are they tradesmen, coming in slightly earlier than everyone else? Or perhaps they are a younger generation with limited cash? Determining a target market helps craft your messaging and will save you time and money from targeting the wrong group.
Dining-in: Create a Set Lunch Menu
If you want to encourage lunch diners to dine-in, you’ll need to think about their needs. Say you’re targeting businesspeople with one-hour lunch breaks, consider offering a set lunch menu with two or three courses that will be efficiently served in 60 minutes. The menu should be delicious, yet uncomplicated. You could advertise it as a “Power Hour Lunch Menu,” and emphasise that this includes the entire dining experience, from sitting down to walking out the door.
Taking away: Premade To-Go Containers or Express Design Your Own.
Of course, many lunch diners will want take away offerings to eat outside, on the go or at their desk. Offering take away options, with packed lunches ready to go, will make your venue much more convenient as your customers can literally grab and go. You don’t have to offer everything on your menu of course. Consider premade soft Turkish rolls filled with wholesome fillings, or allow customers to design their own panini and take away. Be sure to display the lunch to-go containers in an easy-to-see location in your venue.
Offer a Lunch Special
No matter the income bracket of your customer, no one can look past a daily lunch special. Each day offer one or two lunch specials that are easy to prep for and even easier to churn out. And make it a price so good, it’ll be the talk of the town. If you keep your price range between $10-$15 you will have regulars coming in from nearby offices to take advantage.
Make it Quick
It’s really important that you respect your customers time at lunch. The lunch crowd is more demanding than the dinner crowd; they have a limited amount of time to spend at your restaurant and are usually a little more stressed out. To fight long lines and long wait times make sure you have enough staff on hand to handle the rush.
Increasing lunch sales is all about making the experience convenient for your guests. If your venue has waiting times of longer than ten minutes, you may want to consider a special lunch menu that is designed for speed.
There’s no point doing all this hard work if you don’t tell anyone about it. Consider how you are going to market your lunchtime specials to your audience. There are the obvious choices of flyers at local businesses and on-street signage, but perhaps you need to think outside the box. Consider targeted social media ads around lunchtime. You can target potential customers from around 11am with ads directly on the Facebook and Instagram feeds. Use geo-targeting so only those close to your restaurant see the ad and include information on specials, promotions or just a gentle reminder you’re there for the lunchtime cravings.
How do you currently attract the lunch crowd to your café? Did we miss something? Hit us up on Facebook and let us know. And if you’re looking for some of the best lunch rolls for your lunch menu head here.