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Can we have a little more information:
What type of restaurant?
How established are you in the community?
What is your area like, residential, business or a mix?
What are your strongest day parts?
What are your weakest day parts?
What type of marketing have you tried?
Can you handle but running the restaurant and catering at the same time?
I don't mean to pry or anything but this can help with the solution. You are right, this is one of the hardest businesses to run, I did it for a major chain for 8 years. Don't give up just yet.
It is a jamaican restaurant with really good jamaican food. The customers crave for the food and how good it is. We are well established and we also does some big catering. For example we cater for Isaac Bruce foundation and other well known places. Yes we have the man power to do the business but getting the business is the problem.
This restaurant is so unpredictable , you might go on a monday and think it will be slow, then you would not believe the amount of customers showed up.
The area is mix, we are established in the area, because we have been the paper several times. which brings out lot of people. I don't know we are looking different things to try to get people out there but it is so hard sometimes we just think of giving up
Boy I love good Jamaican food - some curry chicken and a beef patty would be great right now!
Two suggestions - are you near any office parks, a shopping center or mall? If so, print some cheap flyers and offer a limited lunch special. Maybe give people a free beef or chicken patty with the purchase of a lunch item and drink. The goal here is to remind your regulars of how good the food is and get new people to try it. Specials like this will give your restaurant at least a short term influx of business.
Next on the catering side, do you work with any event planners? If not you raelly should. Event planners are the ones that can offer your Jamaican cuisine as an option to their clients when planning parties, receptions, etc.
Hope this helps.
Contact the businesses in your area and let them know you are catering - do not just tell them! Drop off a sample, something to get them interested. The idea is to encourage them to schedule a day one or twice a month where they can have a great lunch catered in - either the employees can pay for it themselves or the company can. Do this with as many businesses as you can.
Get involved with local churches and private schools, offering to cater at a special price to help with fund raising. Contact the local fire stations, hospitals, call centers and see about providing dinner or lunch on a regular basis.
You can also think about a take home dinner service where people can fax, email, or phone in dinner orders that they can quickly pay for pick up and take home to feed the whole family. You have to make sure you have the meals ready when they show up without the food sitting too long or the customer having to wait.
I have done all of these with great results. Don't get discouraged, once you get enough steady catering customers, you will see it was all worth it.
Also, see Mobilemtng's comments on the "Marketing suggestions for Buffalo Wings and Pizza" post.
Two posts Two answers . First there is SCORE. SCORE is FREE and is a partner to Bank of America.
Tell us more. You are located in Missouri. Is the restaurant downtown?? Do you serve breakfast?? Lunch??
How long have you been in business?? Do you have an Accountant??
You can talk to a SCORE counselor in person or online.
Online, SCORE has 26 FREE courses including Marketing, Advertising, Promotion and many others to help.
Under Members you say "It is so hard to keep this restaurant going,
Lets see if we can help you succeed.
We are located in creve coeur, we are not down town. We do not serve breakfast, but we serve lunch and dinner. We have been in business now for 3 years. We also have an accountant. I am taking all these ideas and I will work on it. I really don't want to see this restaurant goes down because you rarely have anything like this around. Thanks for all your ideas, if you all have more just keep send them I will try anything.