Although some food and beverage establishments enjoy crowds year-round, many businesses struggle with seasonality in some form.
For some, it can be extreme seasonal swings, says Stephen Zagor, a restaurant consultant, former restaurateur and current dean of culinary business and industry studies at The Institute of Culinary Education in New York City. For example, at beachfront restaurants in the Northeast, there may be a high season of three to five months, then a stark drop-off as vacationers leave town, Zagor says. Other areas, such as ski destinations, may have waves of seasonality with plenty of guests in winter and summer, but few in between. Then there’s urban seasonality, Zagor says, which can happen in spots like New York City when locals go on vacation.
Whether your small business experiences major seasonal swings or just some summertime lulls, here are 11 tactics to keep your finances on track during the offseason and avoid restaurant failure.
1. Learn your area’s seasonality
First and foremost, it’s vital to do your homework and understand the seasonality of your area, preferably before you lease or buy the property, Zagor says. Avoiding such surprises and knowing how to plan for seasonal dips is key to your bottom line’s health.