Lyle's Blog

What to do with the evening shift

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

I realize that I have not posted much lately and apologize for that. On a positive side, one of the reasons is that I am getting some sleep. It seems that most of my posts are in the early morning hours.....wait a minute, just like this one!

I try and keep up with the news of importance to my business, so the recent articles of running a restaurant in Bend have been quite interesting to me. I glean two positives for Jake's from them. First off, a recent article talked of the fact that you need deep pockets to open a restaurant here in Bend. That speaks out of the uniqueness of Jake's in that we started up and then moved on the slimmest of budgets along with one of the smallest profit percentages around. This happened because a community and a crew stood behind Judy and I and still do to this day. I often times marvel especially on a busy weekend and am humbled by the amount of business and support. It seems sometimes that the more that I give back to the community, the more that the community supports me and I am truly and eternally grateful.

Secondly, the overall health of the industry here seems to be hurting. I here of other restaurants that are down as much as 25 percent. I am down only 2 percent so far this year but I do see a weakness that concerns me and that is the evenings. While the morning shift seems to hum along, the evening seems to falter, often times not meeting the receipt amount needed to break even. This has always been a problem but seems to be even more recently. I have done various things on various nights to continue to fight, only to find other nights falter.

Monday night is poker night. It is funny that it seems that the more people we get in to play holdem for habitat , the more diners we seem to get on the main floor. It is almost as if they come in the hear the hoops and hollers from the back room.

Tuesday night is Spaghetti night. All you can eat for a very reasonable price of $7.99 with the kids eating for $1 each. I meant this to be a night for families (especially ones that normally cannot afford to go out much). This seems to work but not as consistently as I had hoped for. I have considered maybe other items but the spaghetti is pretty popular, especially with some of the youths so I will continue with it.

Wednesday nights is hot rod night. Last week was by far the busiest of the season with so many cars in the lot that others had to park outside the lot. I am blest with additional parking outside of mine that clears up in the evenings when other business employees leave for the day. I am equally quite thankful for a core group of these local cruzers who support us even in the middle of winter. We call them the Jake's "cool kids" and have actually looked to try and get some tshirts made for them. I need to get back to my tshirt guy on that one to see if we have made any further progress there.

Thursday nights, we have started a steak night that we have coined "Thank goodness it's Thursday" (thanks to Lana, our day cashier, who came up with the name and by the way is a reader of this blog so when you read this Lana, Thanks!). We sell our hand cut ten ounce Black Angus Top Steak for under Ten Dollars (I don't know of another restaurant around who does that). It allows for that person who loves a good steak to have one without killing their pocket book. This has just recently started so I cannot gauge its popularity just yet.

That leaves Friday and Saturday which are usually fairly good nights. They have been a little quite these past few weeks and I kind of look to two things for the reason. First, with the rising fuel prices, people are just not going out as much as they used to and second, there always seems to be something going on around Bend in the warmer summer months.

Now that brings me to Sunday. Sunday is a funny day for me. The morning shift is the busiest shift of the week for us while the evening is the weakest. I have considered shutting down early that night and indeed have used it for the night to bring in the outside cleaners for the floor and hoods or any other maintenance that is needed. I have used it for special events such as the business Christmas party and the recent People to People Mothers Day Brunch.

So, I am left with soliciting ideas on how to make Sundays more viable and equally important, how to make them fun. I have asked the crew for ideas and want to open the idea thoughts to all of you also. If you are interested, please contact me at jakesdiner@bendbroadband.com and if I use your idea (and you are the first to come up with it), I will make it worth your while. It is consistently, the quietest night in most operations and I understand that. I just want to make it strong enough to justify it.

BTW, I put out public service announcements yesterday on our next big event. On the Fourth of July, we will be holding our fourth annual Veterans BBQ. It will be an all you can eat BBQ with ribs and chicken and all of the proceeds will be going to the Vietnam Veterans of America who will be working the floor in the BBQ area that night. We will also be entertaining with the "Taelour Project" once more in our parking lot from 6 to 8. Some people have asked why we stop the music at eight instead of going all the way to the fireworks (which can be seen quite well from our lot). I am sitting on the edge of a senior park and I don't want to bother them with the sound of the music after 8 as many of them go to bed at that time. Everyone is welcome to hang out in the parking lot and watch the fireworks that evening. Please, no alcohol or major fireworks in the lot.

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