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7+ Ways to Improve Non-Rush Hours in a Restaurant

Ways to Improve Non-Rush Hours in Restaurants

It’s no secret that most restaurants are full during the busy times of 12 to 3 for lunch and 6 to 9 for dinner. Other than that, most restaurants are relatively quiet.

We at KlikNRoll have been working with many restaurants for over a decade at this point and we’re confident that we can help you with our data and knowledge.

Without further ado, here are some ways to sell more during non-peak hours!

Focus on Online Delivery Platform & Catering

If you want to grow your restaurant sales during non-rush hours, try and focus more on other sources of revenue for your restaurant like online delivery platforms and catering!

The easiest win is easily online delivery platforms. According to DoorDash, off-peak ordering is on the rise, with a staggering 30% increase for breakfast and an even more impressive 36% spike for late-night orders in the United States, in 2023.

This is a good opportunity to take advantage of this trend and keep busy during non-rush hours!

Takeout is not just convenient; it’s convenient for you and your customers. It’s a simple and effective way to keep the cash flowing during non-rush hour periods

Now, let’s talk about the big player – catering. While you usually need quite a lot of preparation and manpower, it can be profitable if done right.

The easiest way is to start by featuring catering services in your advertising material, reaching out to the local community through Facebook groups, and placing name cards in your restaurant.

Let your customers know that you’re not just a restaurant; you’re their go-to for special events and gatherings!

Facebook restaurant marketing sample
Facebook groups are great if you’re looking for catering gigs!

Facebook groups are awesome as well as underrated for connecting with locals. Use this platform to network, share your catering services, and potentially secure gigs.

You can also engage with the community, participate in discussions, and grow your reputation. Word-of-mouth within these groups can be a powerful tool for finding more clients organically!

For more information, feel free to check out our other article on improving restaurant takeout service to learn more!

Diversifying Your Restaurant Traffic to Increase Restaurant Table Turnover

Understanding the flow of customer foot traffic is really important for maximizing your restaurant’s potential during non-rush hours.

Say, if your restaurant caters predominantly to corporate office workers, it’s no surprise that there might be slowdowns from 10 to 12 and 2 to 5, given their fixed lunch hours. This is why diversification is important.

In this example, try expanding your reach beyond the corporate crowd. Target new customer segments such as families with kindergarteners – who often finish school around 3 PM.

This timing provides a great window for them to dine out, making them an ideal market to tap into during non-peak hours.

You can also consider tourists as a valuable customer segment during slow hours. Tourists tend to eat out a lot during their trips!

Collaborate with tourism tours, and travel bloggers and leverage local tourist Facebook groups to promote your restaurant.

Another untapped market is college students, who tend to have a more flexible schedule.

Look out for local Facebook groups catering to students and collaborate with the admins. We’d advise you to always seek permission before posting in these groups to avoid the risk of being banned!

Push for Brunch, Tea Time, and Supper

During non-rush hours, it’s pretty important to push for lighter food options that customers typically have during these times.

Think sandwiches, croissants, or slices of cake – the kind of food that doesn’t weigh them down but satisfies their cravings. So, you can try to push for snacks, tidbits, and desserts!

For the brunch crowd, maybe have a dedicated menu that includes avocado toast, acai bowls, or a classic Eggs Benedict. You can also experiment with different brunch specials during non-rush hours – which allows you to lure a different crowd than the ones you might be used to!

Tea time is another opportunity to captivate customers looking for a pause in their day, particularly if you’re located in the UK! Go for classics like crumpets, scones, and finger sandwiches paired with a variety of teas.

The late-night crowd is also a segment that you can consider catering to. Usually, this revolves around finger foods. The most popular options are burritos, cheeseburgers, pizza, Pad Thai, and quesadilla, according to Taste of Home.

A Loyalty Program For More Table Reservations and Walk-Ins

A well-crafted loyalty program isn’t just a perk for your customers; it’s a strategic tool that can bring some life during off-peak hours!

A robust loyalty program is quite literally the key to unlocking brand loyalty. Think of your members as not just customers; they’re dedicated diners of your brand.

You can use this loyalty to your advantage by incentivizing them to choose your restaurant during non-rush hours.

For example, a point-based loyalty program allows you to encourage off-peak visits by offering members more points when they dine during specific hours, such as from 10 am to 12 pm and 2 pm to 5 pm.

You can also add exclusive perks to go along with that. Consider offering access to a private dining room and complimentary items! This transforms a regular visit into a special occasion, establishing a real connection with your members!

Referrals can also be beneficial in any loyalty program! Allow your customers to bring their friends and family during off-peak hours, and reward them generously. Maybe extra loyalty points, tempting discounts, or a combination of both?

Remember to align the extra benefits, promotions, and exclusive perks strategically on slower days. This ensures a more even distribution of customers!

At KlikNRoll, we bring over a decade of expertise to the table. Our robust tracking, gamification features, and unparalleled customization options make us leaders in the loyalty program industry!

We are trusted by major clients like Haagen Dazs and the Murray Hotel in Hong Kong, we don’t just stop at loyalty programs.

Plus, we also offer a comprehensive online booking system and a voucher management solution, which you can use to sell and track vouchers conveniently, physically, or digitally!

Feel free to click on the button below and contact us – and we’ll handle the rest. No strings attached!

Find Out Your Restaurant’s Slowest Days & Boost Food Promotions

Slowest Days in a Restaurant Graph

Tuesdays and Wednesdays are often universally slower, but it can vary based on your location and target audience. For those catering to the corporate crowd, weekends might be your slow days.

Take a closer look at your business data to pinpoint the days that experience a dip in customer traffic.

Once you’ve identified your slower days, you can designate a unique promotion for each day of the week, featuring your best-selling item or a crowd-favorite dish on your slowest days.

By offering promotions strategically throughout the week, you can create a balanced flow of customers.

So instead of the inconsistency of an empty restaurant one day followed by a bustling one the next, you can establish a more consistent and predictable customer flow.

This not only enhances the overall dining experience but also makes sure that your kitchen operates efficiently, minimizing the stress of a sudden surge of customer traffic. This improves speed and decreases wait time during busy peak hours.

Encourage Flexible Customer Dining Hours

Off Peak Lunch Promotion Voucher Sample

Now, the goal here is not to attract entirely new customers but rather to shift the dining habits of your existing customer base.

Flexible hours have become increasingly prevalent in the working culture. With more employees enjoying the freedom to work at their own pace, lunch breaks aren’t confined to any specific time. This presents a golden opportunity to nudge your customers towards off-peak hours!

You can start by offering promotions or freebies for those willing to shift their lunch hours.

Imagine your usual lunchtime crowd at 1 PM – what if you could entice them to dine at 11 or 12? Offer a compelling off-peak promotion, such as a 15% discount or maybe a complimentary dessert with their meal.

The idea is to make adjusting their dining hours an appealing, rewarding choice that they can consider.

Officegoers usually eat meals with their colleagues. If you manage to convince a portion of your regular lunchtime crowd to shift to off-peak hours, you might find that the ripple effect is more than you expected!

Corporate lunch culture can work in your favor, potentially moving more people to off-peak hours than you initially anticipated.

Not everyone will take up the offer, but the goal is to diversify dining times and spread out the customer load during non-peak hours – which makes things easier for your restaurant.

Collaborate With Companies & Give Out Vouchers

Corporate food voucher
Singapore's Old Chang Kee Corporate Vouchers!

If you want to boost non-rush hour traffic, forging partnerships with corporations and business owners can be a game-changer.

Rather than just targeting individual office-goers, try collaborating with corporate management or HR executives to offer vouchers to employees.

Usually, companies will hand out vouchers or gift cards for occasions like birthdays, bonuses, and Christmas gift exchanges, which you can use to your advantage.

Get into contact with corporate decision-makers, leverage any networking opportunities, or liaise with Human Resources departments at larger companies.

After that, pitch an offer that is too good to resist, such as providing $100 vouchers for $80 or $85, with bulk purchases. This win-win scenario not only entices companies to participate but also brings in cash upfront for your restaurant!

Make sure that your vouchers have a relatively long expiry date, as this not only provides flexibility for employees to redeem their vouchers but can also benefit your restaurant in multiple ways!

It’s a little like the strategy that Starbucks has been using with their reloadable cards, where customers essentially provide interest-free loans for future purchases, in exchange for low-margin drinks and freebies.

The key is to maximize the potential of these vouchers by tailoring them to fit your restaurant’s non-peak hours.

For example, specify that customers can enjoy a complimentary item if they visit during the specified off-peak hours.

This not only encourages voucher redemption during slower periods but also helps you optimize your overall restaurant efficiency. The best part is that you can choose items that don’t cost much on your end – to maximize profit while doing so.

Some voucher recipients may forget to use their vouchers before they expire. This works in your favor, as you won’t have to fulfill the voucher’s value. It’s a subtle yet advantageous aspect of this strategy, which adds to your restaurant’s profitability!

Sponsor Local Events & Give Back to the Community

Giving back to your community isn’t just a good way to show that you appreciate them, but it’s a savvy business move.

Sponsorships, community events, and initiatives like food drives are great examples – and they’re great tools for nurturing customer loyalty and branding, especially in a local context!

During non-rush hours, why not channel your time and resources into supporting and catering local events?

This allows you to expand and diversify your business model, as we’ve mentioned in the first point. Remember, you can utilize this to position your restaurant and brand as a strong local player.

When you actively contribute to local events and give back your community notices. This goodwill will often lead to customer engagement, loyalty, and more customers overall!

Whether it’s sponsoring a local sports event, participating in street fairs, or organizing a food drive, these things not only benefit your community but also create lasting connections between them and your restaurant!

Plus, by doing this, word-of-mouth marketing spreads fast, which can in turn lead to more customers coming to your restaurant, even during off-peak hours – one of the best ways to increase restaurant sales without advertising!

The Bottom Line - Conclusion

Just by doing these things, you can improve non-rush hours in your restaurant, regardless of location.

Diversifying your target segmentation, collaborating with local businesses and encouraging your customers to change their eating habits are all very practical ways to increase non-rush hours customers in your restaurant.

Again, if you’re interested in investing in a loyalty program, or perhaps you’re looking for a voucher management system, we’re your go-to!

Click the button below to get started!

Last Updated by March 4, 2024
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