Those of us who’ve been in the restaurant business for any length of time know that Sunday is often the most challenging day to work. But for restaurant owner/operators, restaurant critics and restaurant consultants, it is the ideal time to truly evaluate the operational execution of any restaurant.
Because on Sundays it seems that if it can go wrong, it will.
For those uninitiated to the restaurant industry, just remember that Sunday is typically either a relatively slow day that follows the two busiest days of the week, or (depending on your restaurant’s offerings and market positioning; think brunch) it is the third busy day in a row following blockbuster Friday and Saturday nights.
Either way, you face multiple challenges from all angles that can easily become overwhelming for your management team. Left unaddressed, your restaurant’s Sunday service can become disappointing for guests, discouraging for employees, and disastrous for owners. Here’s just a few:
- Tired staff. Your employees have been worn down by two busy and stressful days in a row, they’re tired, and (if you know anything about restaurant employees) probably hung-over from a long night of after-hours cocktails next-door.
- Lack of leadership. Many owners and GMs decide that Sunday is the best day for them to take a well-deserved day off. But if you haven’t built a solid and capable leadership team around you, then you need to expect some mistakes and poor decisions. Remember: The true measure of a leader is what happens when he/she is not there.
- Low inventory. Even the most seasoned veterans can get caught off guard occasionally by a run on a particular product or ingredient. Perhaps a vendor missed a Saturday delivery. Any way you slice it, if you are going to run out of a product, odds are it will happen on Sunday before your Monday morning deliveries.
- No repairs. Unless you’re willing to pay sometimes exorbitant fees for after-hours/weekend/emergency repairs, anything that breaks or needs to be serviced will often have to wait until at least Monday. Is the ice machine down? It’ll have to wait to get fixed unless you want to pay double or triple for an emergency service call. And of course, according to Murphy’s Law, that’s precisely when something will break.
- Unique guests. Those of us in the restaurant industry know that many guests who dine out on Sunday are often a different type of guest from your average Friday or Saturday night diner. It is imperative that your team treat these guests with as much care and respect as every other guest. This can be a challenge when combined with all other opportunities Sundays provide.
Sundays are a challenging day in the restaurant industry, to be sure. But whether your Sundays are high-volume or low, they can provide valuable insight into the health of your employee culture and the consistency of your operational execution.
If you approach these opportunities in a proactive instead of reactive manner using preparation, encouragement, collaboration and a sense of teamwork, your team will rally together to delight your guests. In fact, if executed well, Sundays have the greatest potential to turn first-time guests into loyal brand ambassadors.