We all have different views of what holidays really mean. Being in the restaurant business and working on those days take on a whole different meaning. Holidays are tough in our business. The weather plays a large role in the day. There have been times that we planned to be super slow, cut staff and hoped for the best. Of course those days always turned horrible, as it suddenly began to rain and the place filled up and we had zero help to take care of the guests. Other times, we would expect large business and staff to the moon and have only 10 guests all day. So 12 servers each made 5 bucks each and ruined their holiday.
I am very put off by those large restaurant companies that remain open on holidays and force staff, especially young ones to come to work and be miserable. I have never understood how the powers that be think that staffing the restaurant, and only doing a tenth of normal sales is profitable. It’s really not, but the executives who are all off that day, playing golf or hanging with their families never seem to understand how this does not work. "The shareholders expect us to be open" I actually heard this. Good restaurant chains always remember those in the trenches who have to work.
Have we ever thought of opening late on holidays? This brings in a small number of employees, for a limited time, in which the hope is your diehard fans will seek the restaurant out and still come in. I think this makes more sense, as it is a win win for everyone. I was also told that it’s up to the store management to ensure staff morale is intact. If I had the power to close a restaurant on a holiday where guests are not going to come, then I would certainly hold the power to boost morale.
Even though I have written a similar article about restaurants closing on holidays, I really felt it was important to revisit this. As summer approaches, a whole new bunch of holidays become active. In the summer months, it is even harder to get guests into restaurants on holidays. (Unless it’s for the air conditioning. ) Restaurants should consider partial closing or full closing on popular holidays. Make the staff happy. Give the guests a tighter window to visit. Fill the restaurant for a short time to pay the electric bill or cover some labor. I also think it should be mandatory for executives to visit their restaurants on holidays. I don’t mean operations level employees either. I’m talking CEO, CFO, Director of Marketing, Vice Presidents etc. This will give them a real time view of what’s going on.
Close for the holidays. Do the right thing. Make your employees happy. Show respect to the fallen on Memorial Day.