Deciding Restaurant Hours of Operation

Timing your business for success. 

A restaurant’s hours of operation can be influenced by a number of factors including the type of restaurant, location, target audience, and competition.

Whether you are in the planning stage or have been opened for 20 years, you should always be looking for the best way to serve your community. And sometimes, this may mean visiting areas that have already been set in place; this includes your dining hours.

How to Determine Hours of Operation

Hours of operation can be influenced by a number of factors, including the type of restaurant, the target audience, location, and competition.

Let’s take a closer look at these factors:

  1. Type of Restaurant. The type of cuisine and restaurant style (e.g. casual, formal) can influence its hours of operation. For example, a fine-dining restaurant may only be open for dinner. And a casual café may serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Additionally, restaurants that cater to specific customer needs, such as a late night diner, may choose to stay open later.
  2. Target Audience. Your target audience plays a role in your hours of operation. As an example, a family-oriented restaurant may choose to open early for breakfast and close early to accommodate families with young children. On the other hand, a restaurant in a vibrant area may choose to open later and stay open later to attract younger crowds hitting the town.
  3. Neighborhood. Like above, a restaurant in the heart of a nightlife district may want to shift hours to cater to their largest crowd. Busy commercial areas call for a business to have early hours. Residential dining in a more suburban area can certainly have more conservative hours.
  4. Competitors. If other restaurants in the area are open late, you may choose to stay open later to attract customers who are looking for a late-night meal. Give them the option they deserve and are looking for. In New Jersey, a restaurant does not have to try and compete with a 24-hour dining empire; it should take into consideration its specific type of dining establishment.

New York and New Jersey Restaurant Hours

Depending on where you are from, New York and New Jersey neighborhoods vary considerably. Therefore, it’s important to understand who your target diners. With this kind of consideration, your hours of operation will fall in line with the right audience.

In addition, seasonality may also play part. If your business is in a tourist area, shift hours to handle the influx of tourists. If your area slows down in the summer, take this into consideration and shave off a few hours off restaurant opening times.

While there are all these factors to take into consideration, you know your business first. Take the time to research your busy times. Listen to customer feedback. When making decisions about your hours, do what works best for your restaurant (and team).

Be sure to check out other restaurant industry tips from Bergen Linen.

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