Anyone just do dinner hours

With my location, I don’t think lunch would be worth it. Anyone have success just doing, say 3-11 during the week, lunch/dinner Sat and Sun?


We now open daily from 5pm through to 9.30 (10pm if we’re busy) Sunday to Thursday. Friday we open to midnight and Saturday to 10.30pm.

No lunches or early afternoon. We do get the odd customer knocking on the door at 4pm and if we are all set up and fully prepped we sometimes open early.

We do the high $9K’s and are just starting to hit $10K.

Soon we will be opening from 11am - 1.30pm for lunch on a trial basis for Thursday, Friday and Saturday and if successful we will extend it to everyday. This plan depends on staffing which is a major problem (read other posts).


I don’t know your situation, but when I open I will keep your hours. I have a five year old so it would allow me to spend all day with him till mom comes home, and then I could go in at 4:30 and do my business and make my $$$.

When son gets older and is in school all day maybe I’ll consider lunch, but I really dig the half day thing. If I can earn what I need to F#$%^ lunch time.

I’d be willing to bet that your trial period of lunch ends up just as that. If you don’t commit to it, you’ll never see the sales to justify it. A few weeks or even months will not sway your decision to be open just evenings. It takes long periods of time to build up different time periods, especially lunch. My suggestion is to either stay with the evening hours or commit to lunches, without looking at it as a trial. If you open, do whatever it takes to make it work and be profitable.

I’d be willing to bet that your trial period of lunch ends up just as that. If you don’t commit to it, you’ll never see the sales to justify it. A few weeks or even months will not sway your decision to be open just evenings. It takes long periods of time to build up different time periods, especially lunch. My suggestion is to either stay with the evening hours or commit to lunches, without looking at it as a trial. If you open, do whatever it takes to make it work and be profitable.[/quote]

I guess that is why I’m doing a trial as to see if it will be profitable.

To me it is better to burn a little rather than a lot and in the end of the day we will open when trade is there and not for the honour of saying we are open everyday and going broke doing so.

At this stage the Thurs - Sat are the busy days for lunches where we are situated (an outside shop of larger suburbian shopping centre ). These are the days where the current food shops in our centre (Subway, Fish & Chips, Chinese restaurant and Noodle Wok) do the bulk of their trade. Only Subway has a steady trade every day all year round.

We will be doing pizzas, pastas, ribs, Shanks and probably Calzones (we currently don’t do these) and possibly Soup in winter. We don’t do subs or many of the lines mainly done in the US due to either conflict of interest clause (Subway) or not the market for it in Australia.

To me it’s different strokes for different folks.


I concur that committing to the plan is as important as having the plan to begin with. That plan should always, in my estimation, have a review period at the end of which the effectiveness and success of the plan and implementation is assessed. Without assessment, there is not a ‘plan’. So a ‘trial period’ could simply be a full steam effort for lunch sales that has a short assessment period of maybe 4 months. Measure success, compare to the initial goals, and decide if modifying the plan can make better progress towards goals.

So, how long do I take before saying lunch is not profitable? Two years for lunch, and my median sales for lunch are $73.51. My marketplace has maybe 100 people in town working jobs during the week. Some stay-at-home parents and some retired and unemployed types. We kept lunch up this long primarily as a ‘customer service’ and service to the one employee it takes to run the kitchen for lunch. We mostly break even on it, and get to meet more customers to convert to the dinner side. Almost like a no-cost marketing plan.

We know lunch will be profitable when we get more in-town traffic, commerce and labor force, but right now, city hall and city employees just cannot spend enough to make lunch profitable for us. We see it as a two year out sort of thing in our market of 2500 people, 1200 households . . . bedroom community mostly.

We are in a small summer resort town and will be open 1 year July 15th. We’re walking distance from the public beach on Lake George. Our business plan called for lunch but we never even attempted it. We have exceeded our conservative projections with hours of 4:00-midnight, which usually turns into 1:00-1:30 (we have a bar). We have no plans to do lunch although people ask us about it all the time.
I would look at your numbers first to see how you’re doing and then factor in the “quality of life” issues. We have 2 kids and they already get the short end sometimes. Plus my wife closes the bar and gets home at 2:00 am. The thought of managing the lunch hour is not in her plan.
We have thought about a seperate crew but then you’re into the whole “help” thing and finding people you can trust and depend on…

Good luck, C.


Like you we had lunches in our plan but have yet to realise it.

Unlike you we close a lot earlier and my kids are all grown up and away from home … oopps my 24 year old daughter is back in the fold after her relationship breakup.

We will give it a try under the times and days I know the people will be around. If we get asked to open other days by enough people we will give it a try.

At the moment we are trading strongly with positive growth but are limited in how much more we can do on busy nights so looking at lunches is a potential growth area.

In Western Australia only Domino’s open for lunch and they don’t do that much even with their low, low prices and strong advertising, so going the lunch trade route will be testing new ground for indies over here.


I’d agree with Nick - we’ve been doing lunch for just under 2 years - ave 1200 over the week - but very unpredictable sale this week tues 240 and wed 5.45 (worst lunchtime ever!). But on the other side we’ve had quite a few big advance orders of 400-500 which we just wouldn’t have got if we weren’t open.

You really need to work very very hard to build lunch, you need to market very precisely, have 100% certainty your crew will turn up (what do you do if your day driver doesn’t turn up!!) that and you need to be in a location that is easy for lunch. If someone has to travel out of their way to get to you its more than likely that in their short lunch break they won’t bother.

You don’t think you can commit to it then my advice is not to bother.

You should also remember that day time opening whilst not always super profitable allows you to do cleaning, prepping in quiet times. You can bet my store was super clean on the 5.45 day!


We wouldn’t be doing deliveries as there are no factories or offices around us, but there is a lot of house building going on around us and lots of building industry workers come to the centre.

If I’m in the shop doing the banking or ordering we get people trying the door all the time.

Plus we have a major supermarket with about 60 staff looking for lunches, as well as staff from the other 27 shops in the centre.

Another thing going for us is that we have a coffee machine and a casual dining area so we could pick up the lucrative coffee and snack trade on these busy shopping days.

Staffing would be my manager who would also do prepping for the evening if it is quiet, plus I live across the road (about 200 metres) from the shop so I can get there in a couple of minutes.


We took over a pre-existing location that was 4-10 Mon-Thurs and 4-11 on Fridays and Saturdays, and closed Sundays.

My bright idea was to be open 11am-11pm, 7 days a week. I learned not do that again due the area I’m in. First, its a big church area, so, no pizza before 4 usually. During the weekdays, lunches were a hit and miss like anything else. but it averaged $50 per lunch time. Even with ads promoting lunch, flyers, and val pak. We dropped the lunches Mon-Wed and open at 4pm…our week is now Sun-Wed 4-10pm, Thursday 11am-10pm, and Friday and Saturday 11am-11pm.

Lunches are still hit and miss. But my sales are still the same, we never miss big orders because of our answering machine, and they usually call a day or 2 in advance. this way we can be at home with our family without really losing anything, and actually saving in gas and electric.

Our pizza place is in a neighborhood, so, not many people are home for lunch.

Surprisingly, I did the same thing. I dropped lunch Mon - Weds and now open 4 - 10, and lunches only Thurs - Sat. My sales have actually increased with me doing less hours, saving on utilities, and focusing more on marketing my evening deliveries. Like Nick, I serve a “bedroom” community, and have found this the best way to go. Sure, I think there are some days where lunch would make a “good day” a “great day.” However, believing in baby steps, for me the more consistent evening business deserves more focus than the hit and miss of lunches. I know one size does not fit all, and for those in dense business areas, a thriving lunch business adds much to the bottom line. Enjoy the thread, and Nick, good luck with your re-opening of the pizzeria.


Thanks, Bob. Swimming along nicely so far.

Small markets like mine and some others described by owners are truly anathema to the common wisdom of pizzeria operation. Some parts and philosophies work spectacularly . . . while some are just not even worth trying.

We served lunch from 1983 until 1997, when our state passed the mandated increases in minimum wage each and every year. It didn’t take to long to figure out that we made just as much money not being open for lunch because it took so much full time labor to run the store…but, there is a market out there for companies who have lunches and want our food…so we have marketed ourselves as being available for pick up orders as long as we have sufficient notice. Tell you what guys…there are many days we rack up $300 to $800 in sales before we open our doors at 4pm…and, one person and at the most two people can handle the whole thing…it’s really been a very pleasant surprise for us, but I can say we have increased sales 50% since we stopped lunches 10 years ago…IT CAN BE DONE!! We even accept on the spot small orders since there are two people already in store prepping for the night shift.