empty glass of wine

Both experienced restaurateurs and those wanting to become a restaurant owner know one thing to be true: successful, highly profitable restaurants are no accident. They begin a great concept, then cultivate signature menu items, garner an impeccable reputation, and constantly evaluate their business.

In trying to keep up with restaurant industry trends, some restaurateurs can feel desperate and turn to gimmicks and “hacks” to keep the doors open.

But here’s a secret: paying attention to seasonality and the impact on your business is the easiest way to avoid all of that and remain successful all year long.

Vegetables, fruit, seeds, cereals, beans, spices, superfoods, herbs, condiment in wooden box for vegan, gluten free, allergy-friendly, clean eating or raw diet.

Seasonality In The Restaurant Industry: The Facts

The restaurant industry shares 47% of the food dollar. What a great time to be in this business!

Here’s the thing though, facts are still facts and running a successful restaurant is certainly not a piece of cake… but we don’t have to tell you that.

In 1955, when folks weren’t dining out as much as they are now, it meant fewer restaurants. In 2016 and beyond, dining habits will continue to change and continue to drive how you run your restaurant.

Right off the bat, here’s what you need to know about restaurants, your guests, your staff and the year to come:

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Seasonality is one food trend you can put your money behind - seasonal menus see 26% more orders, after all. Learn the ins and outs.

Download The Guide
  • Life as we know it: Half of consumers say that going to a restaurant is an essential part of their lifestyle (As it should be!)
  • Guests’ choice: 8 in 10 say that going out to eat is a better use of time than cooking and cleaning at home (Duh!)
  • Jobs for everyone: 1 million restaurant locations will employ over 14 million Americans this year (What labor shortage?)
  • Solo biz: More than 7 in 10 restaurants are single-unit operations (Variety is the spice of life, after all)
  • Highs and lows: Over 60% of restaurants notice a dip in guests during seasonal events such as holidays (Is everyone too busy?)
  • Pass the menu: The theme of “seasonal” on your menu brings in 26% more orders (So that’s how we get them in the door?)
  • Sales dips: Seasonal events can drop sales as much as 20% for a restaurant (But there’s a strategy to avoid that!

summer restaurant scene

How Seasonal Factors Impact Restaurants

At the end of the day, you can develop the perfect menu and reach every potential guest with the best marketing campaign around… but you can’t change seasonality.

You can, however, change how your restaurant deals with it. To help you with that, we analyzed the impact on seasonal factors like winter, summer and even the holidays on the restaurant industry. What we found will change your outlook in dealing with the lows and highs of seasonal impact.

We chatted with two top industry professionals in a webinar to talk about just this. 

  • Understand how changes in the season can impact your guests, and ultimately, your restaurant
  • Learn a strategy for seasonality and staffing, menu and sales
  • Gain insight into how to plan for success no matter the season

Sneak Peak: 5 Things To Know About Seasonality

“I’m not sure where to start!”

“What can I do right now though?”

We hear you. You’re busy. That’s why we recommend if you’re diving into this for the first time, you start with these 5 things.

  1. Forecast Your Sales: Understanding seasonality, in general, is great. Knowing when your restaurant experiences lows and highs are better.
  2. Review Your Menu: Whether or not you opt to add a seasonal menu, it’s important to review your regular menu often to ensure it’s meeting guest expectations and bringing new guests in the door. Menu design does not have to be overwhelming, if you want a more detailed guide, check this out. 
  3. Train Your Staff: How often do you host formal training opportunities for your staff? The power of an upsell during a seasonal low is immense. The turnover in the restaurant industry is on the rise, in fact, it’s hovering around 70% this year.  There are things you can do no matter if you run a seasonal restaurant or a full year restaurant. Here’s a guide to help. 
  4. Assess Your Marketing Campaigns: Are you regularly marketing in your local community? Take a minute to review which ones are bringing guests in and ditch the ones that aren’t working. Restaurant marketing is hard, but it has a high ROI.  For more restaurant marketing tips check out this.
  5. Understand Your Community: The best thing to do when it comes to predicting highs and lows in restaurant dining is to take survey of what is going on year-round in your community. Lots of events going on in a specific month? Expect more guests than usual.
Check out Upserve’s guide to seasonal restaurant trends!

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In a perfect world, Theresa would spend her days reading good books and writing all the time... and she'd own all the shoes her heart desired. When she's not on the hunt for shoes, you can find this Rhode Island transplant on the hunt for food that comes close to "Long Island". Her favorite? Caffe Dolce Vita in Providence's historic Federal Hill.