Business Resources

Setting Restaurant Hours of Operation: 8 Factors to Consider

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Whether it’s a 24-hour diner or a fine dining establishment that’s only open for twice-weekly dinner seatings, some major thought and even trial and error went into setting the restaurant’s hours of operation. That’s because your restaurant opening times and closing times can have a huge impact on your bottom line.

So, if you own or are opening a restaurant, you may find yourself faced with the crucial task of setting the hours of operation. This is something that requires serious thought, and how you proceed could have a huge impact on your restaurant’s viability and profitability over the long term.

Don’t worry, though—this blog post will help. Below, our team has compiled eight factors to consider if you’re setting restaurant hours of operation. Read on…

How To Set Restaurant Hours of Operation

Below are eight considerations to make when deciding on restaurant hours of operation. These questions will help you determine what hours of operation will be the most profitable for your business.

1. What Hours Fit Your Menu Best?

If you’re serving eggs, bacon, and pancakes, your restaurant’s hours of operation are more than likely going to be in the morning. But if you’re serving sushi, you probably don’t need to be open for a breakfast shift. (Though, breakfast sushi does sound pretty intriguing if you ask us…)

Let your menu do a lot of the work for you. Restaurant opening times should be guided by the reasonable first point in the day an average person might consider eating your food. 

2. Can You Maintain the Proper Staff?

You may be an ambitious restauranteur with eyes on a 24-hour dining empire, but do you have the proper staff to support an all-day, all-night establishment? If you think it has been tough to hire lately, you should know that experts believe the labor shortage is going to continue for the foreseeable future.

Hiring, maintaining, and retaining a restaurant staff of any kind takes a lot of effort, and if you can’t get enough people to work you may have to limit your hours of operation. 

Luckily, there are some innovative staffing solutions that can make filling recurring or last-minute shifts at your restaurants a breeze. Check out Qwick, a hospitality talent-matching network that allows you to tap into a network of qualified talent across the country. 

3. What’s Near Your Restaurant?

Is your restaurant just across the street from a movie theater? Then you might consider staying open late enough to catch the post-movie crowd. Are you serving alcohol within the vicinity of a football stadium? Then Sundays may need to be on the menu. Let your surroundings influence your restaurant hours of operation, and you stand to earn a lot more.

4. Do Any Local or State Laws Apply?

Some cities and states have laws that dictate restaurant opening times and how late alcohol-serving establishments can stay open on certain days and holidays. If your state has such a law on the books, then part of your decision will have been made for you.

5. Will You Need To Adjust Hours Seasonally?

If you’re opening a restaurant in a tourist town, it might be worth considering seasonal hours. This could include limited hours during the winter and longer hours during the busier summer months.

6. What Are Your Competitors Doing?

Setting hours of operation requires a lot of research and adjustments, but you can save yourself a lot of time and resources by taking a look at what your nearby competitors have chosen to do with their hours. They likely already did a lot of the research, and you can base your opening and closing times on theirs.

7. Are You Slower on Certain Days or Times?

If your restaurant is already open and you’re considering adjusting your hours, you can make the decision easy by looking at your slowest times of the day or week and reducing your hours during those periods. For example, many restaurants are slowest on Mondays and choose to close for the entire day.

8. What’s Your Restaurant’s Demographic?

Consider your ideal or typical customer. Who are they? Are they young or old? Fancy or casual? The list goes on, but the idea is to figure out who you’re primarily serving and set the hours of operation to fit what they want. For instance, if you primarily serve a college-age crowd, you may need to have late hours and limit your early shifts.

No Matter Your Restaurant’s Hours of Operation, You Can Fill Shifts With Qwick 

Your restaurant’s hours of operation can make or break your ability to turn a profit. But there’s another factor that can play a critical role in your success: Your ability to operate with a complete staff for every single shift you’re open.

In today’s landscape, that’s no easy feat. But many restaurant owners like yourself are finding a solution in Qwick. Qwick is a professional platform for the hospitality industry that specializes in matching businesses in need of staff with experienced hospitality freelancers.

You post your shifts, and—like magic—servers, bartenders, cooks, and other qualified individuals start claiming them. It all happens through an easy-to-use app designed to accommodate all types of hiring needs. So, what are you waiting for? Go ahead and post a shift and see what happens. We think you’ll like it! 

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