It’s that time of the year again! If you’re a diehard football fan, then you know your weekends revolve around the big game. And if you’re a restaurant owner or manager, then you definitely know that you and your team need to be ready for the rush on game day.
The seasonal influx of football fans at your business can be a blessing, but if you aren’t prepared, it can also be a curse. With that in mind, here’s what you need to be thinking about before kickoff:
• How busy is your restaurant going to be?
• Is your inventory stocked?
• What specials are you offering?
• Is your staff prepared?
If you’re like us, you’ve been counting down the days for football to start, but you don’t want to wait until the last minute to fumble and miss out a rockin’ season! Don’t worry! We’re here to help you get your operation in tip-top shape before kickoff.
What will the crowd size be?
First thing’s first — knowing the time of the game is very important! Make sure you know what time the game starts, so you can prepare for traffic and have enough time to get to the restaurant. Your staff needs to be there well ahead of time to get everything in place and ready for the crowds to barrel in. You have to figure that guests will start arriving for pre-game coverage in order to get good seats, so you want your staff to be there when your guests are. Somebody should also be at the phone to take calls for reservations and guest inquiries (what time the different games start, when the restaurant will be busiest, directions to the restaurant, etc.).
Will you run out of any menu options?
Football fans tend to enjoy two things — beer and food, so you’ll want to make sure you have enough of both to keep everybody happy. Review your established pars for alcohol and food because you won’t know the crowd sizes arriving at your restaurant, whether they’ll stay for the entire game, or how rowdy they’ll get. Rest assured that most game days will see higher than normal business, especially if you promote watch parties or other team-themed activities. Make sure you check your budgets from previous events and review last year’s sales so you have an idea of what to expect both for sales and when the peak demand will occur. Ensure your orders are accurate, placed in a timely manner, and you bump your par levels up for the big games!
What about drink specials?
Most people are going to want to go to a place where there are specials. Check your past sales and see which specials were popular! Try starting out with $2 domestics and then switch to $5 domestic pitchers after halftime. Scope out your competitors and see what they are offering for game day specials and deliver the best value to your guests!
Is your staff battleship ready?
Are you under or overstaffed? Is your staff trained? Do they have their alcohol and food safety certifications? Reward your teams with special incentive contests for highest check average, highest number of appetizers sold during game day and many more. Let them have more flexible schedules during the week. See if any team members will switch shifts (and maybe send out a link to shift swaps in HotSchedules!) Schedule your all-stars on these busy weekends to ensure that your guests get a great experience. Will they be enthusiastic and engaged when working football Sundays (or college Saturdays!) or will they wish they were someplace else? Once your staff is scheduled to work, they need to be excited, energized and ready for the football fanatics that will be in and out of the restaurant for the next 20 weeks. You could let them wear their favorite team’s jersey on game days! Football is just around the corner, so you need your staff to be motivated for a great season!
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