Lunchtime trade has taken a kicking over the last 18 months as Covid had people working from home and turning to homemade lunches or treating the family in the evening instead. The grey pound, which for many of you will be a significant part of your business, has also been heavily hit and continues to be today as confidence still hasn’t quite returned.
But, to be fair, we can’t put all the blame at Covid’s door, lunchtime trade was already suffering well before the pandemic. Consumers these days have more choice, whether it’s a quick sausage roll at Greggs, a pie and a pint in the pub, or even a £3 meal deal at Boots, which when I last looked was a chemist! This has not only taken a toll on footfall, but average spend too, pushing it down from the £5,6,7 that lunch goers were once willing to spend.
Not surprisingly, many of you chose to close mid-day and focus on your evening trade, but with customers gradually swapping their slippers for their work shoes, glimmers of lunchtime trade beginning to pick up again are appearing.
So how can you lure people back into the habit of enjoying lunch out while making it worthwhile putting those extra hours back in? The important thing is to understand your core market and establish whether you have a lunchtime trade that just needs some more time and a little bit of coxing or, actually, it wasn’t as signifiant as you maybe thought and any attempts to rescue it will be futile.
Either way, we’ve put together a few pointers here: