Scheduling Your Restaurant Hours
Daily decision-making is a part of any restaurant business especially if the venture is newly undertaken. One of the most crucial items to consider is the operating hours of your restaurant. Limiting your restaurant hours can also limit your chance to turn a profit. If you are open too long, there may be periods of time when no one is coming in.
The overall theme and concept of your business can help you determine your restaurant’s hours of operation. Do you want your restaurant to be opulent or do you want it casual and family-friendly? If you are thinking of a bar, do you also want it to serve food like a brewpub?
Look around the neighborhood of your establishment and note what kind of businesses and potential customers are in the vicinity. Are breakfast places a dime a dozen or does the neighborhood need a restaurant that’s open early for morning meals? Is the customer traffic sufficient to prop up your business? In case you want to open a bar, what items in your menu will set you apart from other pubs in the district? Opening a bar also means checking with the local city hall the zoning regulations that may limit your business hours. Open your business near residential houses and you would have to abide with strict noise and crowd zoning regulations.
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Another consideration would be the kind of life/work balance you prefer to have. If your restaurant is open from breakfast to dinner time, you will be working from sunup to sundown and will need several staff to man several shifts. As a new restaurant owner, you may want to try first opening for breakfast/lunch or lunch/dinner only.
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Supplementary to the hours would be the days you intend to be open. Many restaurants take a break once a week which is normally a Monday. In any case, if most restaurants in your vicinity are closed on a particular day, open yours so you can pull in the hungry customers searching for a place to eat. If you are located right smack in the heart of the central business district and you serve breakfast and lunch to office workers, it may not be wise to open on weekends when no one’s around.
As your business gain footage from the limited operating hours you have, you may encounter customers who will demand longer hours. But before extending your hours, cautiously look at the consequences in terms of operation and manpower needs. Compute whether the supplemental profits you will earn from the additional hours are enough to cover the costs of extra utility and manpower. Valuate your breakeven point and adjust your opening hours as necessary.