So what. American Idol is kicking your butt. Last night your customer base was home watching Simon sweet talk the lookers and insulting the rest. But, that shouldn’t concern you. You have no control over that unless you wanted to have a weekly American Idol party at your restaurant, have your customers vote their own winners and give away free mini hot dogs to keep the crowd drinking.
That actually could work. Of course you wouldn’t pick the real winner. But if you picked someone in the bottom six, you could get them to come out and sing at your restaurant. It may be something to look into. It certainly could boost sales on these ever-so-slow Tuesday and Wednesday nights. And, we know that Sunday will be a bust because of the Oscars. So what do we do?
It is the perfect time to start doing those small cleanup projects that have been haunting you for so long. Both of your bathrooms need painting. Close the one your painting- a sign on the door will suffice, letting customers know your springing into cleaning-and paint it over the course of the next week. When it’s done, paint the other one. On weekends put some flowers in the bathrooms- both of them- it shows you care about the small things. I always used to put a selection of cheap perfume in the lady’s bathroom, and four or five bottles of cheap after shave in the men’s room. One night, in Carmel, a guy was so drunk he came out of the bathroom smelling like the quality control manager at the Old Spice factory. He cleared the bar.
You know that line cook who you have cut down to almost zero hours? Well, if he’s like so many other talented cooks, who has his eye on the place down the street, you may want to get him to paint the kitchen at night. But make sure you clean the hood first. It probably could use a bit elbow grease now that it’s been working overtime all winter.
If you happen to have more than one dining room, and you feel a quick cosmetic remodel would help, close one, paint it. Use fans and leave a sautéed pan of garlic gloves in the room to alleviate the smell of the paint- it works.
If your lucky enough to have an old, worn, wooden bar, now may be the time to refinish the top. You can have the bartender perform this task just before closing, on a slow night. Preferably Monday or Tuesday, so when the real bar people show up on Friday, the rail will be ready for action.
I was in New York’s JG Melon one night in the mid 1980’s. Billy Connelly was manning the stick. As the hands on the clock approached 3:00 a.m.- they were more steady than anyone else´s in the place, BC sprung into action. Suddenly, the smell of saloon burgers hissing on a grill was replaced with the aroma of spar varnish.
BC had lightly rough sanded the west side of the bar and was quickly and meticulously applying a thin coat of varnish on the ancient, if only it could talk, mahogany.
The following night, the east side of the bar received a little love. BC took care of that bar as if he were the captain, and it was his deck.
Spring is just around the corner, put a shine on your restaurant. The customers will notice, and they will be glad to be back.