Eat.ch

Optimizing opening/delivery hours

Can’t decide on what your opening and delivery hours should be? Trust us to find you the best times for your restaurant, based on hard statistics...

Some time back, I read a book that had a chapter which used taxi drivers as an example to show how people weren’t very smart when deciding on the amount of money they had to make on a daily basis.

Generally, regardless of what business you are running, you most likely have a daily goal that you would like to reach. So in the case of the taxi drivers, they would generally have a certain amount they would like to earn on a particular day. If the days earning fell short of that value, it would be a bad day, and if it went over that amount, it would be a great day. On normal days, when the sun was shining and the birds were singing, people would choose to walk instead of taking a cab, which meant that the daily earnings of taxi drivers would usually not reach their required target and they had to work longer days. However, on rainy days when everyone wanted a taxi, the taxi drivers would very easily reach their goal and finish the day sooner.

Once the driver hit his daily goal on a rainy day, he would most likely choose to go home, while his potential customers stood outside begging for his services. On normal days, it would be the other way around. The author pointed out that a much more efficient business model would be to work extra on those rainy days and to work less on normal days, which would match profits made on the two days.

But you don’t run a cab service, so why am I telling this to you? Because it was after reading that book that I realised how this effect wasn’t only restricted to cab drivers. Restaurants do it all the time! Think about it, is your restaurant open when all other restaurants are not?

It most likely isn’t, and this leaves a huge gap of potential customers that you choose not to serve. Let me give you some statistics taken right from our website. On weekends, we normally see 20% fewer restaurants open, and on days with bad weather or holidays, there are around 30% lesser restaurants open, even though on these days, people order online 50% more. So, put all this together, and you have a prime opportunity when deciding which hours would be best for your restaurant. Double the number of orders, with a third of the competition.

Yes, your reasoning is understandable if you want to close your restaurant early on rainy days. I mean, on rainy days people aren’t exactly interested in having a great night out, and more focused on getting to their homes and straight into bed. So yes, you can expect your in-store traffic to be lower than usual. But online traffic is what you didn’t consider. See, if people want to get to their homes and dive straight into their beds, they may very easily favour delivery over cooking. Naturally, instead of checking restaurants one by one to see if they are open, your potential customer would use our app to type in their postal code and get a list of restaurants open at the time, which will help them get to a final decision. Believe me when I say this, but there are enough times when there are zero restaurants open, which means that your restaurant being open in a time like this would make you not only a top contender but possibly the only contender when the customer decides to order.

So how do you decide on the best hours to keep your restaurant open? Easy, just take a time of the day you think most of your competitors will be closed, then go on to EAT.ch and type in your postal code. You get to see all the restaurants that are closed and all those which are open. If you don't believe me, try ordering breakfast or pizza at 10:00 or 23:30.

If you see that there is only one or so restaurant open, then there is a big opportunity for you. Consider opening your restaurant with the minimum staff necessary, and doing a test. You can do this by moving shifts, and if no orders come in, you can use that time to prepare the ingredients for lunchtime -read more on optimizing your kitchen staff- .

On days like this, where the number of people walking into your restaurant is lower while the number of people ordering online is higher, you need to decide on the best methods to appropriate your staff. If there are lesser people walking into your restaurant, there isn’t much of a need to have a lot of waiters around. But it does make sense to ensure that you have as much delivery staff ready as possible. That way, no matter how gloomy the weather looks, your restaurant will always have a smile on its face.

Next comes the issue of closing hours with regards to delivery time. When you mention how long it takes to deliver on the website, we generally let the customer know that time by which he will be receiving his order.

So if your closing time is 22:00 and you said that you can deliver in 40 minutes, then you should expect delivery drivers to work until 22:40, since you might have customers who are placing an order at 22:00 hours. If you expect to work and release your staff at 22:00 hours, then you have to think about those last minute orders, you might want to close your restaurant at 21:20 so you have 40 minutes to deliver the last few orders placed and your staff is ready at 22:00.

Just think how you do this inside your restaurant. It’s quite likely that you close your kitchen 30 minutes before you close your restaurant. So obviously you’ll have customers inside that you just can’t kick out the second your kitchen closes. You might get someone to go out and say “we are closing in 30 minutes” so that they can prepare to leave.

How do you achieve this online? Well, you need to decide until what time you want to receive orders and make sure that it would be your closing time on our website. NOT the moment you actually close your restaurant.

The same phenomenon occurs with opening times. If your restaurant opens at 10:00am but you are not ready to deliver until 11:00am and your food preparation time is 30 minutes, then you should set the opening time at 10:30 am (so that the first orders can be delivered at 11:00am)!

If this all too complicated? Not sure what to do with the opening hours? No problem, we have all the data you need to select the best opening hours and help you configure the system to optimize your orders. If you are unsure and want to open for longer periods just call us, we will help you optimize your opening hours and suggest how you can get more sales in your area.

So please adjust your closing times according to this information so that neither you nor your customer is left hanging, let’s give our customers the best experience!

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