Seasonal adjustments


I’ve been trying to use a gift card from one of my favorite restaurants for several weeks now. The problem isn’t finding the time to go there. Rather, it’s been so cold here in Chicago lately that you’d be a little nuts to venture out during dinner hours. With the sun already setting by that time, any trips outside are best restricted to must-have items, and dining out usually isn’t one of them.

Gift card or not, I think every restaurant faces this problem in the winter. During the coldest months, people probably aren’t as willing to go outside at night. Breakfast and lunch, of course, should provide a solid alternative, since it’s warmer during the daytime. But in my case, the restaurant doesn’t serve lunch on weekends.

If you have a restaurant or other local business where sales tend to fall in the winter, a simple experiment is in order. Either modify your hours to be open during the warmer part of the day, or if you already have long hours, try emphasizing them in your marketing. Once people realize that they can stop by without the weather penalty, they might make a habit of showing up more regularly in the winter.