Restaurants have the opportunity to ‘own Sunday’ with a much higher share of a consumer’s wallet on that day than any other.
While Sunday used to be a day of rest, it’s certainly not any more as anyone who has visited a Westfield Shopping Centre will testify!
Instead it’s rapidly becoming as important for restaurant owners as Saturday (though our Restaurant Insights Report data shows this still remains the most popular day to eat out, closely followed by Friday).
Why is this then? Much of the reason it seems is that our culture is changing as we become a generally more secular society.
Prior to the Sunday Trading Act of 1994, buying and selling on a Sunday used to be illegal under the Shops Act of 1950. As a result, people tended not to go out that much at all on a Sunday – and certainly not that much money was spent.
However, a combination of the introduction of Sunday trading laws and a relaxation of drinking laws has meant that it is now much easier than ever before for restaurants to attract customers on Sunday. As a result, shopping centres and high streets are now much busier on that day while the proliferation of entertainment – whether that’s sport, theatre or the cinema – it means there is much greater footfall for restaurants than ever before.
Importantly, restrictions on Sunday trading (large shops can now only open for 6 hours a day on Sunday between 10am and 6pm) have also actually benefited restaurants too. That’s because while there are now more people out and about in shopping centres and high streets, there are fewer hours where they can actually spend money in shops.
This has meant that restaurants have attracted people either waiting for the shops to open in the morning, or in the evening after 6pm when they have to close.
Indeed, our exclusive data shows that restaurants claim just over £4 out of every £10 spent on a Sunday (40.5%), compared to just £2.30 the rest of the week.
Sunday is also the key day for people getting takeaways, perhaps because they want to treat themselves or can’t be bothered to go out and eat at the end of a busy week.
According to Paymentsense’s research, demand for takeaways rises each day throughout the week, peaking on Sundays when it is 54% higher than on an average weekday.
5 ways that restaurants can boost Sunday sales
- Provide breakfast options – with shops typically not open until around 11am or 12pm, Sunday breakfast is the perfect opportunity for many people to eat out. Indeed, research from Paymentsense suggests restaurants should market breakfasts and brunches to a younger demographic and couples with young children, who are the most likely groups to eat out in the morning.
- Use social media marketing – research from Sprout Social shows that while engagement on Facebook is relatively low on Sunday, Twitter is particularly popular throughout the weekend with the highest levels of engagement between 9am and 3pm on a Sunday. Restaurants should therefore consider reaching out to potential customers on Twitter during these hours if they want to help drive sales.
- Offer a traditional Sunday lunch – the tradition of everyone in the family eating together for a roast dinner at home may not be as strong as it used to be, but people (especially older groups) still want a traditional meal on a Sunday, especially during the winter months.
- Develop your takeaway offering – obviously Sunday is a much more active day than it used to be, but people do still like to relax – perhaps more so than on any other day. For many, this means not doing their own cooking and ordering a takeaway instead. It’s imperative that restaurants have a strategy in place for dealing with the increased demand for ordering either via their own website with a secure payment gateway, or through those of third parties (Uber Eats, Deliveroo, Just Eat etc.).
- Create a distinctive customer loyalty program – Sunday is the one day of the week where restaurants have the biggest share of consumer spending. So it’s important to build on that in order to boost sales on the other days of the week. One way of doing this is with a customer loyalty program. According to a Forbes article, a customer loyalty program can help boost sales by up to 30%.
To find out more about how to improve restaurant sales, read our 6 top tips here.