There may be a loss of daytime business across various industries as the holiest month of the Islamic calendar is upon us. The working day is reduced, many food and beverage (F&B) venues are closed during the day, but stay open later than usual to make up for the loss time and to cater to those who are fasting.
While Ramadan is commonly perceived to be “low season” for many industries, it certainly is not “off season” and does not necessarily equate to a loss of revenue or demand, and quite to the contrary, could possibly be the busiest times for the F&B industry.
How do venues survive Ramadan?
Established F&B outlets, as well as hotels, start planning months in advance for special Iftar menus to generate (what could be) a year’s revenue in the few weeks leading up to Hari Raya.
Smaller eateries, as well as newer ones, should explore different ways to sustain the business in case of a dip. Ramadan buffets are a hit with Malaysians and while it is a popular option to head to a hotel, smaller outlets may adopt similar promotions to appeal to residents nearby.
Busaba Thai in Sunway (Image credit: venuescape.my)
Apart from a buffet dinner, restaurateurs may opt to promote set meals instead.
Busaba Thai located in Sunway is offering set meals for 2 pax at RM189++ and RM399++ for 4 pax. The set includes an appetiser, a soup, three main course dishes, steamed rice, a dessert and a drink.
While it is a nice touch to offer an extensive buffet dinner, an outlet’s Ramadan menu should depend on the customers it is targeting and not stray too far from their speciality.
Although there may be slow days, there will be definite peaks in business during the second and third week of Ramadan. Therefore, it is crucial for venues to communicate Ramadan promotions to key corporate companies who host Iftar dinners for employees and clients.
While F&B outlets can play to their strength of having food, event spaces suffer the fate of off season during Ramadan but these venue spaces can entice event planners by offering attractive promotions, some go as far as offering its space at a 50% discounted rate.
Cornerstone in Wisma Selangor Dredging’s event space is ideal for various events
Cornerstone, an event space located in Wisma Selangor Dredging offers its space which comfortably accommodates up to 250 people at only RM5000 for a whole day’s use during Ramadan instead of its normal RM10,000 per day rate. This promotion is a real steal especially for companies who are looking to host their Raya Open House for clients and employees.
The secret to surviving is to ditch the mindset of being a seasonal business as different customers have different needs at different times. The sooner this is realised, the easier it will be to successfully find a way to penetrate and cater to these needs.
Another good way to keep the momentum going, albeit only at night, is for venues to host a Ramadan event.
An event organised by Yayasan Artis 1Malaysia (YA1M) and Hot Dish Concepts promotes our local musicians who will showcase their talents by performing at Maestro, a music-themed restaurant located in the Opera Clubhouse in Symphony Hills Cyberjaya, for the whole month of Ramadan and Syawal. The initiative, aptly named BukaPuasa@Maestro offers patrons a delicious buka puasa buffet dinner with live performances by artists each night.
According to their website, Dato Nash, Malaysia’s rock star is set to take the stage at Maestro. BukaPuasa@Maestro buffet dinner is priced at RM95 nett per adult and RM45 nett per child and will conclude on July 21st.
This initiative generates excitement on all angles as it not only promotes the artist and our Malaysian music industry but it also provides the artists with an avenue to make that extra income during the holy month as well as increase their much-deserved fan base. At the same time, the event creates a hype about the venue and provides a steady revenue streamline for the restaurant. And for all, a delicious spread accompanied by tunes belted out by our homegrown talents.
Let’s discuss two other aspects which will attract customers to this event. First, the venue on its own deserves a mention as Maestro is an outdoor restaurant located by the poolside with a modern design open kitchen where customers can have the satisfaction of knowing what happens behind closed doors. According to a study carried out by Harvard Business School, the best food would seem to be served in restaurants where chefs and customers can see eye to eye.
Secondly, a quick Google search on BukaPuasa@Maestro revealed various ways to purchase seats for the dinner including a website, contact numbers, and many complimenting articles about the event. Easily accessible and convenience is always an added bonus when attempting to increase foot traffic.
The key is for venues to know their customers and identify ways to generate revenue throughout the year. Venues need to be well prepared, start planning at least 3 months before and leverage on offering seasonal specials. If that does not work, prepare for the next season.
Ramadan Kareem to all!
Ravena Hundal is Content Director for Venuescape, a Malaysian-based venue sourcing platform for events. For more information, visit www.venuescape.my