Surviving the Summer Slump: Tips for Saving Money and Increasing Revenue

In some Southern markets like New Orleans, summertime can be grueling for businesses, especially restaurants. As the temperatures soar, tourists opt for hot spots with cooler temperatures, and even your loyal local customers may choose to stay in their own air conditioning rather than brave the humidity.

In the summer of 2017 for example, 27 New Orleans restaurants closed, and anyone with a friend or two in the industry got an earful about the dead calm that is July in the city. It’s enough to make even the most unflappable chef break a sweat. Even so, your restaurant doesn’t have to be another statistic. Staying ahead of the summer slump is just a matter of making savvy financial decisions that benefit you all year.

Adapt your inventory

Even in the restaurant industry, adaptation is the key to survival, and that’s especially true when it comes to your inventory costs. Use past years to forecast summer inventory needs and adjust your orders accordingly.

For example, buying in bulk throughout most of your busy year may make financial sense. During slow summer months, however, buying in bulk may be a liability. Wilted lettuce and floppy carrots will turn off the loyal customers who continue to show up, and the stuff that gets thrown out is wasted money.

Avoid employee turnover

When the dinner crowds thin, your first instinct may be to thin your staff to lower costs. Though it may seem counter-intuitive, it’s actually cheaper to keep employees than to re-train new ones after each summer slump.

Interviewing, onboarding, and training staff is a costly endeavor. According to the Center for American Progress, the average cost of turnover for positions earning less than $30,000 annually is 16 percent of an employee’s annual salary. For example, the cost to replace one full-time minimum wage server would be at least $2,320.

Optimize your restaurant tech

Out-dated restaurant technology can slow down your operations and leave valued employees and diners frustrated. On the other hand, when you find a high-performing platform for your restaurant management needs, you’ll see an ROI that can ease the strain of summer slump.

Dynamic point of sale systems, for example, allow you to integrate online ordering, which keeps cash rolling in even when diners are taking out. The best models on the market also incorporate sales reporting, loyalty and gift card programs, and staff management software. By streamlining operations with a powerful POS, it’s possible to operate more efficiently year-round, which gives you more wiggle room during your slow season.

When you partner with Precision Payment Systems, we’ll help you find a POS system or other credit card payment solution that will make your restaurant more efficient whether you’re slouching through summertime slowdown or in the midst the Mardi Gras mayhem. We work with an exclusive portfolio of trusted payment processors, which empowers us to offer restaurants of all sizes lower rates while never forfeiting top of the line customer service. We're here to help you save time and run a smarter business - all year round.