How to Prepare Your Restaurant for Blackout Wednesday
A new cultural phenomenon has been gaining popularity among the restaurant industry this time of year. It’s being called Blackout Wednesday (or Drinksgiving, for the pun-lover out there), and it spells serious business for bars. Blackout Wednesday is the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, when folks traditionally head out to bars and restaurants to indulge in some pre-holiday boozing. Thanksgiving Eve drinking is traditional among college students home for break who are likely reuniting with friends they haven’t seen in some time. Plus, hardly anyone works on Thanksgiving Day, so a hangover isn’t as painful to endure.
According to data collected from 3,000 restaurants by the restaurant management platform Upserve, in 2016 there was a 23% increase in overall restaurant sales on Thanksgiving Eve when compared to the week prior. And upon further distillation, they found overall beer sales increased by 270% and liquor sales were up by 114%. Food orders only increased by 28%, which paints a pretty clear picture of where patrons’ dollars are being spent.
It’s no question Blackout Wednesday is a real thing, and a trend your restaurant should think about fully embracing. Here are some tips to get your business in shape for the biggest drinking night of the year.
Ditch the Good Barware
Big crowds of thirsty thirty-somethings are a recipe for spilled drinks and shattered glass. It might not look as classy, but plastic drinkware is the way to go when Blackout Wednesday rolls around. It won’t prevent spills, but it’ll certainly keep your floor free from anything hazardous (and if you’re concerned about bar fights, a plastic cup packs less punch than a glass tumbler).
Bring in the Bouncers
If you don’t typically have bouncers at your establishment, hiring a couple to help out on Thanksgiving Eve isn’t a bad call. It’ll give your servers and bartenders the peace of mind they need to focus on their customers rather than worry about who’s getting rowdy or drinking too much. Leave the fight breakouts to the professionals.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, over 800 people have died in alcohol-related car crashes during the Thanksgiving holiday (defined as 6:00 PM Wednesday to 5:59 AM Monday), making it the deadliest holiday for U.S. roadways. Work to keep those stats down this year by posting numbers for local cab companies, even though most customers will likely have Lyft or Uber ridesharing apps on their phones. Another option is to have cabs waiting outside after last call so customers can just walk right out the door and into a safe vehicle.
Stock up on Cleaning Supplies
We already established that crowds and tipsy patrons are synonymous with broken glass, but they also create big-time messes. Make sure you’re set with cleaning supplies, and have your staff check out the bathrooms regularly to keep them equipped with toilet paper and other essentials. Tackling messes early and often will prevent your staff from having to stay later than necessary cleaning up, and it’ll make for a better customer experience as well. Remember, not all of your patrons will be drinking copious amounts of booze on Thanksgiving Eve, and they deserve clean facilities regardless of the drinking crowd’s antics.
With the kickoff to the holidays almost officially here, make sure your restaurant is ready to bring in the revenue! You might need to hire a few extra hands or place an additional liquor order, and having the cash on hand to jump on these tasks is imperative. Contact ARF Financial today to chat with one of our expert loan consultants. They can walk you through our quick and easy funding process, where applications are approved in as little as 24 hours! We’re ready to get you the working capital you need, when you need it.