3 Questions to Ask When Optimizing Your Operating Hours

With options like all-day breakfast and late-night dining rising in popularity, many restaurateurs are tempted to be jacks-of-all-trades.

It makes sense: Expanding your dayparts can be a great way to increase revenue and attract new clientele. However, there are a few important questions you should ask yourself before attempting to optimize your operating hours.

Is there demand for more hours?

Venturing into new dayparts is effective if there are hungry diners waiting to try new options. For example, many restaurants have begun offering brunch on weekends after seeing increased demand. But that’s only profitable if there are eager brunchers willing to  spend their mornings at your restaurant. The same can be said for delivery and takeout operations. Has delivery demand increased from diners that it justifies additional manpower, or expanded operating hours? 

Before venturing into a new daypart offering, make sure there is an existing desire from real customers. Listen to customer feedback and check out where competitors have found success with new dayparts. Before committing, consider rolling out a few test runs to gauge what your patrons are looking for.

How much will a new daypart cost?

Though adding dayparts has the potential to usher in new revenue streams, they also bring on more costs. The cost of added labor and a wider menu can be prohibitive for many restaurants looking to expand their offerings, especially if some dayparts are less profitable than others (for example, breakfast can sometimes be less lucrative than dinner).

On the other hand,there are ways to reduce the cost of expansion while also ensuring new dayparts are profitable. By efficiently managing shifts, some restaurateurs are able to expand dayparts without even having to hire additional staff. Others incorporate ingredients from existing menus to keep costs down.

Which dayparts make sense for your business?

Increasing your operating hours can be a boon to business if you can do it well. Understand the strengths of your restaurant before deciding where to expand. For example, a casual burger joint might have more success expanding into late night hours than it would by trying to offer breakfast. Think about what makes your restaurant competitive, and expand from there.

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