By Rieva Lesonsky
Jonathan Maze, an editor at Nation’s Restaurant News, recently noted in his On the Margin blog that restaurant sales have been “weak” for about two years now. He cites numerous reasons, but calls out two that are specifically impacting 2017 traffic: international travelers and fewer people going to the movies.
International travel, which was expected to be down this year, has decreased even more than predicted according to the U.S. Travel Association’s Travel Trends Index. Since tourists are prime restaurant customers, this is having a big impact on restaurant sales.
The second factor is one we mentioned a few months ago—hygge. Americans aren’t going out to the movies; instead, they’re nesting at home and watching movies there. Nor is this just a winter trend–MarketWatch says this was the worst summer box office in more than a decade. Overall, that means fewer people going out for dinner and a movie.
So, if you own a restaurant, you need to fight back. Obviously, reaching out to loyal and/or local customers is key. You likely need to offer more discounts and promotions to lure diners in.
Another solution, as we mentioned a while back, is offering delivery options. Whether you deliver yourself, outsource to a third-party service, or join forces with other restaurants in your area, food delivery is a growing profit center for many restaurants.