In a sign of the difficult times, restaurant owners are adopting aggressive promotions, such as offering a 50% discount on many dishes, to attract customers during a certain period of the day.
This is especially the case for Le Cosmos restaurants in Quebec. Since mid-September, the menu is 50% off from 4pm to 6pm Monday to Friday. This is a solution that was put in place to avoid layoffs.
Co-owner Lewis MacNeil was inspired by a strategy he observed in Western Canada.
“When I came back, I looked at my ratings and the ratings for August were very bad,” he added.
To cope with the decrease in traffic
In August, passenger numbers fell by 35%, a historic decline. Mr. McNeil attributes this significant decline not only to the weather, which was not very favorable, but also to rising interest rates that forced many families to tighten their belts.
This Quebec restaurant owner is satisfied with the public’s response. He even plans to extend this promotion beyond the holiday season.
“We may end up offering it year-round,” he added.
“We will make less money, that’s for sure. We are losing money somewhere, but at least we don’t have to cut our staff. That was the main goal.”
Pick up somewhere else
By attracting more customers, Mr McNeil believes he can expand elsewhere, including selling alcoholic beverages and sweets.
“You have to have the means to do that,” he added.
“We are strong and we had to do something. We had to act fast.”
Without mentioning a specific case, Robert Dion, director and founder of the specialized magazine HRImagIt is estimated that this strategy is not without risks.
“In the days when profit margins were around, on certain days you could do specials and make it up on other days. […] Now it’s very difficult, because the margins are so small. »
Mr. Dion cites the example of a restaurateur in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu who recently advertised a $4.99 lunch (two eggs, potatoes and choice of meat), with the purchase of a drink, on Mondays and Tuesdays.
“This is not a strategy I agree with. This is not how we will create wealth among restaurant owners. We will not repay the loans at the end of the year with such a low profit,” he added.
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