Late-night hours could help boost restaurant revenues

Many restaurants are looking for creative ways to maximize profits, reaching outside of their regular offerings to appeal to more guests and step away from the competition. While some restaurants are decreasing their hours to accommodate labor challenges, others are headed in the opposite direction, adding late-night options instead.

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Wendy’s, after focusing heavily on their breakfast menu these last few years, has decided to capitalize on late-night visitors, after seeing sales increase at night over the last quarter. Other companies are seeing success with this customer sector, too, as Jack in the Box reports seeing some of the best growth of all their dayparts with late-night in 2022.

This trend comes as a way (among many) to try and mitigate rising costs with better staffing levels, made more achievable into the night.

Wendy’s CEO, Todd Penegor, stresses the importance of focusing on efficiency, asking “How do you make it easier to close at night to provide a better opening in the morning so then they can really then continue to support your breakfast business too, to make it a vicious cycle?”

As post-pandemic dining trends continue to shift, studies show there has in fact been a greater diner demand for extended hours. According to OpenTable, in a survey of 55,000 restaurants and 10,000 consumers, more and more people are willing to book 8 or 9 pm reservations at their favourite restaurants.

Want to compete in the late-night space? Here are a few tips to get you started:

  • Make your signage large and visible, using lots of lighting, so diners don’t miss your restaurant as they are driving by.
  • Advertise your new hours on social media, including live video at night so people are reminded to pay you a visit.
  • Create an ambiance. While many late-night options are available, your restaurant needs to stand out among the QSRs with décor, seating areas, and providing a space that will have customers coming back.
  • To encourage customers to visit in groups, create a shareable menu that couples or friends will want to order for the table. Keep your kitchen staff in mind by making these dishes simple to create late-night.

As many restaurants are expanding their revenue streams to attract new guests and get attention, late-night may be an option that will help your restaurant to stay ahead of the competition.