To whom it may concern,
you don’t know me but i am a patron of your business. unless you’re arby’s (sorry…just not a fan), then i have been at each of your restaurants (franchise or whatever) recently. so as an active supporter and patron of your restaurants, i wanted to write this post to help you make some extra money and in turn help some people out (who, i just checked on, are hungry).
you see, it’s 11pm on thanksgiving night. i just got back from a movie (changeling if you must know) with my sister and we enjoy driving by places like best buy or the mall to see all the “crazy” people who start lining up at 6pm the night before black friday so that they can be the first ones to get their hands on the “hot items” of the year. as much fun as it is to go “people-watching”, i started thinking about these people and how long of a night that is. i realized that, because the line is shifting throughout the night, someone in each group or party that is sitting in front of these stores has to stay awake, unless they were to wake up farther down the line because they lost their place. i can’t speak for every store, but i can say for most best buy stores, people are there from 6pm on. that’s 12 hours of waiting. that’s 12 hours of NIGHT…waiting. when most people are sleeping, they are waiting in line.
what does this have to do with you?
simple answer…they get hungry but no place is open.
everyone knows that denny’s and ihop are always open, but these places are not takeout places or drive-thru places where they can come real quick and get back to their group waiting in the line. it makes no sense to me because more people are out on thanksgiving night and black friday between the hours of 10pm and 6am than you would probably get for lunch for the whole week. i can tell you, there is a serious demand out there, but for some reason…there is no supply.
my friend told me that where he grew up (palm coast) there was a starbucks open during these hours and they made half a million dollars in that one night just because they stayed open. now, i can’t prove that dollar figure and give documentation about it, but let’s imagine a bit. doesn’t that make sense? people want something warm and something to keep them awake. it makes sense that starbucks would make a serious profit that night. in the same way, people are hungry and if you were to have your restaurants open throughout the night (on this night), people would not only respond with money and sales, they would respond with gratitude…gratitude for serving them in a time of need. you see, people understand why you are closed. they understand that you let your employees off for the day and they think of you highly for that, for letting them spend the day with their families.
but i think i have a plan that would impress them more. so for no charge, here it is:
- leave your business open that night staffed by a team with high morale
i would encourage you to open up your business on thanksgiving night somewhere between 6-8pm (definitely no later than 10pm). 8pm may be the best time. that way all your employees can celebrate thanksgiving with their families and even get some extra sleep…because they’re going to need it. but since this is a holiday, if your team doesn’t have an extra incentive to do this, you will be seen as a grinch or scrooge and the low morale will hurt you in the long run. my advice is to offer double wages for that night only (trust me, you will easily recoup any “extra” money you spend). have a talk with your team and cast the vision. focus on the need (serving people who are hungry) and the response they will have (thanks and money-both short and long term). i would suggest doing 2-3 hour shifts that night to keep the excitement and patience up. an eight hour work day is long enough without it being in the middle of the night.
- market in the lines
while you’re open, send a couple people to the local mall, walmart or popular store where everyone is waiting in line. give them some cards that simply say “we’re open all night tonight in case you’re hungry or if you need anything”. people are used to not seeing any restaurants open, so if you want to be seen, you’re going to have to get out there. all of a sudden, people will be going to your restaurant to pick up stuff for their whole group…because i promise you, come 1am, there will be a mutiny if the group knows there is food somewhere and no one will go out to get it. lol
- lightly sell in the lines
this one is going to take the permission of the store, but it doesn’t hurt to ask. maybe they will do a partnership deal or something. i would suggest sending a couple employees to wherever the lines are with a cooler filled with one of your products (ex. if you are chickfila, a cooler filled with chicken sandwiches) and then sell them for $2-3 a piece, cash. that way the people in line don’t have to leave (in case they’re by themself) and you still make money. i would strongly recommend that you do not overprice these products you’re selling. THAT will turn off your customers and though they may buy from you that night (for whatever reason), you will suffer in the long run.
i hope this helps. if some place were to do this, their testimony would change the face of pre-black friday morning. i hope it happens. if it does, i’ll stop in and say thanks. 🙂 your faithful young supporter, matthew manchester