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Hump day

Outside of foodservice, a standard work week is Monday through Friday. Many people look forward to close of business on Wednesday... "hump day." With my eye on the weekend, Thursday and Friday were relatively less painful.

In the restaurant business, I think of "hump day" as the day in the week when you break-even. Historically, restaurants lose money from Sunday night until Thursday night. Then, they scramble to make it all back and turn a profit from Friday lunch through Sunday brunch.

Depressing as it may be, it's a good idea to track your business this way. I used to challenge myself to get to breakeven earlier in the week than my competitors. Here's one of my marketing ideas to boost mid-week sales.

Regular menu item specials
Every restaurant has a couple of higher priced entrees that most customers can't afford on a regular basis. To encourage mid-week dinners, I promoted a regular menu item at 100% cost… be sure to include accompaniments: the starch, vegetable and garnish. One item only. All others are at full price. We offered limited quantities, so diners had to come early. For example, Monday was Prime Rib, Tuesday was Fresh Salmon, Wednesday was Alaskan King Crab Legs, Thursday was Australian Lobster Tail.

We'd promoted our mid-week specials by including a flyer with guest checks on weekends. As with all "discount" programs, the question is: are you cannibalizing your regular sales? In this case I don't think so. I believe a program like this drives new trial, rewards regular customers, and is profitable. Typically only one person in the party ordered the special.

We've designed a sample flyer to include with your weekend guest checks. Download it for some inspiration on your own weeknight specials.

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