Closing Early

So, I am still a newbie in regards to ownership. 5-years in and our shop doing well…thank God!

So, here is my question…On a slow night when labor is creeping up and you are just ready to go home after a 13-hour day…is it OK to close early? It’s AMAZING how mad people get when you do and the 1st question is “Why you closing early?” I want to (and truth be told…have responded… l, because I wanted to.

I don’t like disappointing my Guest… but there are times after my Team and I get our asses kicked for several hours…that Im just done… and my Team is very appreciative of it…


We don’t close early unless the roads are terrible for the drivers OR it’s a holiday that we were open for and it just didn’t hit. That’s it. Certainly understand where you’re coming from doing open to close but most customers won’t because they haven’t lived it

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Thanks Steve!

I guess “early” could have a few different meanings too

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sorry but I totally disagree. Call me old school but whatever your posted hours are you should stick by otherwise you run the risk of pissing off your customers. We literally take orders up to the minute before we close even delivery. I know alot of places cutoff 30min before etc. but I feel that just creates confusion. If it is unusually slow a few times or the weather is really bad we would rather send employees home although I leave it up to them b/c I do not feel it is right to cut hours. When we are busy they work extra hard so it goes both ways.

Same here. Only if power is out or roads are too snowy (where the police tell us to close) do we close early. Confuses customers. If you are really that slow maybe you need to close earlier in general. Don’t forget, it is winter now. Busy for 3 hours during dinner and then dead the rest of the night. In summer the rush doesn’t start until 6pm and ends when we close.

Stick by your posted hours. Cut staff down and get the closing side work done. Walk out the door 5 minutes after close.

With that said, closing hours do not need stay the same forever. What does your POS tell you about sales by hour/day of week? Seasonal? There is no reason you can’t study the business and decide to close earlier Mon-Wed if that is what makes sense. Same goes for slower times of the year. Just post the changes.

Also, you NEVER want to give the idea to staff that closing early is an option or you will find the place closing early on your nights off!

JT isn’t risking it, he’s describing actively pissed off customers. A few more early closes, and he won’t have to worry about upsetting customers because they’ll have lost trust and will stop calling. That’s the beginning of the downward spiral. Earning customers in this business is so difficult and so expensive, do everything in your power to keep that trust.

My other worry is that when the staff sees the leadership cutting corners, they get into the mindset that “I’m tired of doing this (correctly) too, so I’ll do what’s easiest for me.” You’re creating and endorsing a culture of corner cutting. This makes it very difficult to get to the next level of “working on your business instead of working in your business” if that’s where you want to go.

Our posted “close” times are when we stop taking orders too. Simple way to prevent close times from inching forward.

Thanks for all of your feedback. Pretty clear!

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