Public Holiday Season is Coming

What’s your strategy to stay profitable?

Public Holiday Season, it’s a thing. As April is fast approaching, many foodservice venues face a dilemma; to open or not to open on public holidays. With the Easter long weekend, closely followed by ANZAC Day (which falls on a weekend this year) this period can be a tricky time for business. Especially for owners who need to pay higher wages and might not necessarily experience higher revenue.

There are a few strategies you can employ over the public holiday season to make sure you remain profitable (and make sure you pay your valued employees the correct rate). Here we explore the pros and cons of each:

Add a surcharge to your menu

This is probably the most popular strategy to deal with extra wage costs on public holidays, and it’s one that works really well. But only if the surcharge you add actually goes towards your staff’s wages. Customers are becoming wary of business owners who add a surcharge but don’t pass on the extra revenue to kitchen and wait staff. It is also worth calling out on the menu clearly, so there are no upset customers at the till after dining. 

Run with fewer staff

If you’re a relatively small operation it is often manageable to carry out service with your normal weekday staff levels (rather than weekend levels) to save yourself staff costs. This is something you should broach with your staff beforehand, so no one feels like they’ve been short-changed a weekend shift. Honesty is always the best policy and if that’s the difference between opening and closing, most will understand.

Run a special bookings-only event

If you’re unsure of how many staff to roster on because you have no idea how busy service will be, perhaps you should consider organising a ticketed event. This way you will know exactly how much food and drink is needed (so no waste) and how many staff to roster on so the event runs smoothly. It also means you can budget according to wage increases and keep everyone happy, knowing exactly what to expect. Your customers will appreciate the invite to an exclusive event too. 

Of course, it can be difficult planning (and staying profitable) around public holidays, but keep in mind that you can do any combination of the above strategies. Chat to your staff (and friends and family!) so you can make a decision that is best for everyone.

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