Starkville restaurants avoid the summer slump

STARKVILLE, Miss. (WCBI)-  Industry insiders will tell you that the restaurant business is a tough game to play.

It can be even harder to turn a profit in a college town when students leave for the summer– or so you would think.

One thing’s for certain, there’s no shortage of places to eat in Starkville during the school season. During the summer months, however, there can sometimes be a shortage of customers.

It’s the week after final exams, and Starkville is lacking its usual hustle and bustle.

Streets that once held bumper-to-bumper traffic are now barely used. This is something area businesses are used to.

“It actually gives a chance for your locals to come in and your out-of-towners that know that the students are gone,” said Stromboli’s owner Tim Turman.

“We get a dip on the weekends. The weekends it dips. Weekdays are not too big of a drop for us because our biggest clientele are business professionals during that time and they’re still in town,” said Central Station Grill general manager Terry Long.

A dip in customers means a dip in staff for some restaurants.

“You’ll lose some during the summer, which we have. One to graduation and two to summer because it’s summer and either they live in the dorm and they have to move out because they’re closed or they go back home for family. Maybe they had a job during the summer before working here, and they go back to that job to be at home and work at that job as well,” said Turman.

Long said this trend won’t last long.

“May is a pretty good month for us because you’ve got the college graduations, the high school graduations throughout the entire month and it’s also wedding season. You get a lot of rehearsal dinners and receptions and stuff like that and when the baseball team is doing as good as they are you get to host a regional and maybe a super regional and get all the way into summer with that,” said Long.

Long said they sometimes have to get creative to fill the tables during slower months.

“We try to give people a reason to come to the Grill if they are going to go out. We do open mic nights and live music. We do jazz brunches. We’ll do some cocktail parties. We’ll do wine dinners and mystery dinner theater, stuff like that. Just to give people a reason and something to do while they’re in town,” said Long.

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