Cutting/Changing Store Hours

Who has cut back their hours of operation due to the slower economy? How did you come to the decision? What day/hours did you choose?[/b]

Four months ago I started closing at 10:00 (used to be open to 11:00). I came to that decision by examining my sales for the past year after 10:00. I found that I hardly ever had any sales after 10 and that I was actually not even making enough to cover wages (even on the weekends). So it was a pretty easy decision for me.

Our “econonmy” changes four times each year when the tourists leave at the end of the winter and summer high seasons and when they come back.

Through the year we go from a high of 40-50K per week and an average of 25K during the winter to 4-6K in the Spring, back up to 10-12 in the Summer, down to 4-6 in the fall and back up to winter again.

Our hours are based on balancing consistancy with the business pattern. We open for delivery at 11AM all year but closing varies from 8PM to 11PM. When the ski resort closes in about 7 weeks we will cut hours back to 8PM on weeknights and 9PM of Fri/Sat.

Even more important than the closing time is getting down to one manager and a driver when dinner is over.

Even though I’m a new guy in town, I’m really considering changing my hours despite the saying that it takes about 6 months for people to be familiarized with your hours. We get NOTHING after 9 oclock, and when I get out at 11 I drive past about 3-4 other pizza places that have been closed for awhile, so that must mean something.

Our shop was open until 10:00 during the week and one of the first things I did was drop back to a 9:00 closing time even though most of the other places are open later. We may miss one or two orders a week, but I basically eliminate one part time employee position (more like it was one less PT employee I had to hire) and knocks off 10 days worth of running the oven over the course of a year, it just made sense.

I call it fine tuning. After a year in our location we modified our hours so that we’re not wasting time and money waiting for calls that don’t happen after a certain time. We simply cut back an hour and it’s worked out well.

Plus, it does save a little on the bills, every little bit helps.

Add me to the list of people who moved their closing time back an hour since opening. I think that makes four so far in this thread. Do we all overestimate the late night demand for pizza?

I think so. But I tell you what, I drive past 3 fast food places after we close too and they all have cars in their drive thrus. So I think late night and fast food go hand and hand.

When we first opened we were open until 11PM every night. Good thing we have a POS to tell us what is happening by the hour. Looking at actual sales, it made no sense to be open.

Our local business is OVER at 8PM. When there are a lot of tourists in town we stay busy a little later, but even when we are doing 4-5K per night during the holidays we are doing less than 10 pies per hour after 9PM.

I find there is a correlation between late pizza and cheap pizza. The two shops in our town that stay open late are also the cheapest places in town.

When we started closing earlier our bad checks dropped by 50%.

We’ve just started to open later at the weekend. We used to close at 11 and now we close at midnight. I’ve only started to do this as another operator in the next town on who runs a similar operation to mine has told me that he did the same and averaged approx 150 in this hour. I’ll get if a couple of months and see if its worth it. As long as I’m covering labour and food I’ll be happy.

Typically we are busy up to that time so normally we’re cleaning in the store till around 12pm anyhow, so if we are quiet and only use this hour get the store clean its no loss if not then its a gain! but as said by posters previously we frequenly look at POS and last years sales to review staff in/out times etc.

When I took over the shop we had opening hours at 5pm except Thurs/Fri/ Sat which were 4.30pm. Closing was 9pm Mon -Wed, 10.30pm Thurs, midnight Fri/Sat and Sun.

Friday late deliveries were almost all to far reaching areas for stoners and drunks and were costing us a lot more to deliver than the fee charged. Pick up sales were very few bewteen after 10.30pm and deliveries weren’t in great numbers either. When we reduced our delivery area these suburbs were dropped and so we closed earlier.

Saturdays were quiet after 10pm so we dropped closing to then and Sundays went to 9.30 as did Thursdays. The others stayed the same. Opening times all came up to 5pm as not many came in early and most calls were for wanting delivery later in the night. The 4.30 opening also put a lot of pressure on getting everything rolled out and set in time for opening.

But … we do stay open after the closing times if people are still coming in or phoning for orders. I’m lucky that I live across the road from the shop so I stay open and do the order taking, makebench and cutting if sales are there.

I know that with the reduction in times we reduced wages substantially and the bottom line was slightly better even allowing for the lost sales from the far out areas we dropped from deliveries. These were costing us money to do and were taking the drivers away too long, plus being stoners or drunks we had continual problems with them being asleep, not having enough money ar being agressive over the cost (even though they were told at time of ordering).

In the end of the day customers adjusted to the new times and sales continued to climb right up until the recent global financial crisis.


When I first opened I use to close at 10:00 pm every night. I’m down to 8:00, except for friday and saturday which is 9:00. I’m sure I have lost some sales over the years but I really don’t worry about it. I like these hours, as do my employees.

We changed our hours way back in our first year (this is year 5) to open a 30 min earlier, 5pm, and close earlier, 9pm . . . 10 pm on Fri/Sat. It made a huge difference in our staff morale, stablizing our order patterns, and that huge gaping empty hour at the end of the night with just one or two orders. Now, we have the town trained to order everything by 9pm on weekends and still preserve that huge gaping hou at the end :?

Really, this small town is like the others. Not much late action, and not much liklihood of change in the marketplace over the next year.