Get a beer license.
It has a liquor license currently. The renewal for 2012 was over 5k.
Beer specials. $1 domestic drafts noon to 6pm (or noon to whatever hour your normal alcohol sales pick-up per your records and per the day of the week.) Don't got a bar? ... change the table cloths, table cards and menus in a section of your seating and make it your bar seating during that period. (Get a bar if you don't have one ... you've got the license.)
Put an A-frame sign trumpeting your dollar drafts out on the sidewalk ... and make sure it’s out when your neighbors are doing all their business.
Have well priced food specials available at that "dollar drafts" time period for patrons. Hit them with advertising at the same time ... while you got their attention, let em have it ... posters, table-cards, chalkboards, printed specials on the wall over the urinals ... everything .......... weekend specials, Valentines specials, Chinese New year party (hey, it's in a couple weeks from now) ....... give to those patrons who come to your "dollar drafts promo", coupons for cheap whatevers at some other time (select something: pitchers, appetizers, dinners, whatever) coupons valid only at certain times during your slack periods.
For deals on that promo item you need to keep good records on what sells when, what your volume is, what your turnover is etc - to do this obviously ... the point is to patch up your slack periods ... better to have a customer buying just a so-so margin food than NO customer buying your good margin food. Obviously you want to make that promo food (the "whatever" one) an item that is attractive, low prime cost to you (that is, food cost and variable labor in making it) and has at least a little profit for you too ... but still at a really, really great price.
In fact, you should *always* be keeping tight records and trying to specifically patch up your slack periods.
And alcohol specials are particularly useful if your restaurant neighbors don't have booze. Besides, if you can get a drinking crowd of some sort that starts giving you business other than your dollar drafts, that’s some of the best margins out there.
Tapas? Fine. Have a tapas and margaritas special ... don't have a booze blender? - get one. Have the special right in the middle of your neighbors busy period and have a mariachi band playing on the sidewalk (ok, I'm only half serious on that idea ... but I am serious about pairing the tapas and margaritas ... a good mojito with fresh mint is another popular drink right now too)
Another thing, you serve sushi ... the demographic that loves sushi is currently 16 to 25 year olds. I’m not sure what sort of younger people you have in the area, but assuming you are a restaurant that would happily serve that demographic ... run some sushi specials and advertise the hell out of them at local colleges.
Hey ... how about a Cold Sushi & Hot Sake special (man, I love sake).
Oh and by the way ... the old owner only served dinner, right? ... and you're now also serving lunch, right? ... you DO have a GIANT "Open for Lunch" sign out ... right?. Just sayin.
<message edited by Sonny Funzio on Tue, 01/10/12 12:39 AM>