Words by Carson Rich
Once a year comes the time when every sports fan’s worst nightmare comes back to haunt them … the dead season. This dreadful time is when most of the major sports have come to an end, and it seems as if life has no meaning anymore. The dead season also takes a toll on local bars and restaurants who rely on games to bring in customers
Owning and operating a local sports bar is a massive risk for business owners looking to get into the food industry. The money coming in during the season helps the place flourish, but maintaining that stability when a lot of the revenue starts to fade away becomes one of the biggest issues an owner can face. Cost management is the key during these months as bills still have to be paid, regardless of how much revenue is coming in. Rent, utilities and staff salaries are the biggest concerns but even after that comes the cost for inventory and any unexpected problems that just naturally go along with running a sports bar.
A fluctuating amount of inventory throughout each week can easily turn into a loss of profit for the company, as there is not enough traffic during days where games are not taking place for people to use up their resources. Sports bars can be very unpredictable if sports are not in season because there needs to be other ways to promote their business. A few ways to get around this can be weekly specials, happy hours and also trying to draw in as much attention towards the other sports that could be going on during the dead season.
Staffing can also affect not just the owners, but the entire team of employees. When it gets too slow and there are no new faces walking through the door, hours are hard to come by, especially for waiters and waitresses, whose paychecks usually rely on tips they receive to balance out their low hourly wages. For owners, labor cost becomes a main priority as they have to pay extra money so that the business does not have to keep their workers on the clock, and the only way to avoid that is to decrease the amount of people scheduled each shift. Downsizing during the dead season is a hard thing to do as the turnover rate rises exponentially, and seasonal employees are just about all you can advertise.
In the future, Jacksonville sports bars and should see a huge spike in revenue and traffic due to the renovations on TIAA Bank Field. The Jaguars’ success as a team plays a factor into it as well, as their entry into the NFL playoffs generated new promotions, and once again excitement for the following 2023 season.