Black Friday is not a nationally-recognized holiday, but 24 states observe “The Day After Thanksgiving” like a holiday for state government employees. Many non-retail employees and schools have Thanksgiving, the day after, and the following weekend off, which increases the number of potential shoppers.
As the busiest shopping day of the year since 2005, Black Friday also means sales potential for the restaurant industry! According to a National Restaurant Association survey, about 46 million people visit restaurants while hitting the Black Friday sales, and 60 percent of all shoppers plan on visiting a restaurant during the shopping “holiday”.
I say sales “potential” because many of the hard core shoppers don’t even eat – they run, sometimes literally, from store to store looking for the great deals. There are other shoppers, though, that are out to enjoy the day meeting family or friends and having fun. These are the shoppers that will visit your restaurant to start the day mapping their strategy, take a break in the afternoon to refuel, or end the day and review all the great bargains they secured. Be prepared! This is the time of the year where people are willing to try something new, to connect “in the middle” with other shoppers and friends.
As this is a great time for first impressions, keep these four things in mind:
Black Friday is a time to showcase your restaurant. Make sure you provide a fun and relaxing atmosphere for weary shoppers in your area. Staffing is key, so don’t get caught short.
Use a limited menu for quick bites or things to share. It is most likely that many shoppers will want something quick or something to share. Give them the best of the best in a limited-time menu. That way YOU get to choose the items and make them profitable as well.
“The customer is always right” means more now than ever. The holidays are a time for sharing, forgiving, and celebrating. Allow your customer that right, with no disagreements or explaining. Remember that it’s a popular time to try something new, so this may be the first impression – so make it count.
Thank your employees. As someone having worked this rush in the past, I can say the best way to end the shift is with a great big smile and thank you!
Although Black Friday is known a big day for retail, it could just as easily be a winning day to increase restaurant sales, if you play your cards right.