Closing a day

Does anybody have any experience with reducing their open days?

When I opened 8 years ago I had nothing but time. I was single, childless and living in an apartment. Unlike the VAST majority of independents where I’m located, I opened 7 days per week.

Go forward 8 years, and I’m now married with two small children (3 years and 10 months), have a house that needs taking care of, grass to mow, family responsibilities and a family I actually like spending time with.

I’m in a position now where my GM is leaving for a new opportunity. I’m starting to approach my end game (selling the restaurant) and think I will list it within the next 6 months. Because of that, I’m not going to hire a new manager. I’m going to just manage the restaurant with a shift leader or two. There’s really no point in spending the money and time to train an unproven manager for a restaurant I plan to sell.

Because of that I will of course be putting in many more hours; I expect it to be a lot like my first year over again (well, except for actually knowing what I’m doing this time around!)

With the significantly changed family situation from when I opened, I’m thinking it would be best for everybody if I close for a day. Monday and Wednesday fight it out for worst day at my store, but it seems strange to be closed in the middle of the week, so it would be Monday. Every indie in my trade area, and most regional chains, are closed on Sunday. That’s usually the third best day of my week since I’m the only one open, so that’s not an option. I should mention that MNF is a non-factor here.

We can’t take the hit of losing all of Mondays sales, and my numbers indicate we need about 70% of Monday sales to move to other days to break even on the decision.

Do any of you have any experience with doing this? How were your overall sales affected, if at all? Was there anything you did wrong when you did this? Would you do it over again if you could? Did you end up being more profitable because the Monday sales just shifted to other days?

Putting my business broker and business appraiser hats on… One of the worst things you can do when planning to list your business in about 6 months is make a change that might/will reduce the top line. One of the first thing any buyer will look at is recent sales and earnings trends.

Find a shift leader you can trust and let them run the show on Monday. You do not need a general manager to be open when you are not there.

Hmm… I actually hadn’t even considered that.

I agree with having the shift manager work. Even if you pay out in labor what you bring in in sales, it will look more appealing to a buyer with a bigger top line.

Not only that, but I’ve always looked at being closed on a day as giving your competition an opportunity to steal business. A faithful customer may want a pizza on that day, and if you are closed they go to the competitor, giving them a chance to wow them and turn them into a long time customer (a lot of customers order continuously from a place out of habit regardless of other options, or what may be better, until you give them a reason).

I was closed on Mondays from 1998 to 2008. (Finally got so busy it didn’t make sense anymore) But it was GREAT! My Tuesdays, which were almost as slow as the Mondays, actually doubled - So, net, I didn’t lose even one pizza sale. I do have fanatically loyal customers, tho.