Friday, November 3, 2006

Time for a sales boost

When the government does something that’ll likely boost sales, you’d think the restaurant industry would throw Capital Hill a parade. Yet, despite the pointed reminder of last weekend, the trade has been quieter than the Mark Foley re-election campaign.

Last Sunday, you’ll recall, most of us turned our clocks back an hour, officially ending Daylight Savings Time. Largely unnoticed was the larger significance of the occasion: It actually marked the end of DST as we know it.

Starting next year, we’ll be getting that extra hour of daylight for 34 out of 52 weeks, rather than the present 30. The whole nation will spring ahead in March, and stay on that schedule until November.

Proponents say the move will save the United States about 300,000 barrels of oil that would otherwise be used to generate light. What should interest restaurateurs, especially ones who cater to families, are the objections of the critics. They contend that the fuel saved from generating less electricity will be offset, if not eclipsed, by the additional gas that consumers tend to use during DST. The detractors point to indications that a later dusk tends to draw more people onto the roads for a longer stretch into the night. That’s why, they say, the alteration has been supported by places like amusement parks, malls and retailers.

Presumably, if those families are using the extra daylight to be out and about, they’re likely to grab a bite from establishments like yours rather than prepare something in their kitchens. It may not be a factor that makes or breaks the year sales-wise, but it could be an instance of the tide rising an inch or two, to float all boats that much higher.

If you're wondering how the extension of DST came about, you can credit Washington. The provision was slipped into the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which President Bush signed into law in August 2005.

2 Comments:

Anonymous mbrady said...

I'm not sure what the fuss is over a measley 300,000 gallons of oil. For each restaurant that reduced thier energy usage by 10%, 200 gallons of oil would be saved per year. Do the math, it adds up to 300,000 pretty quickly. What's more, not only does the environment benefit, but bottom line profits for the restaurant owner increase as well.

November 6, 2006 at 10:47 AM  
Anonymous mbrady said...

I'm not sure what the fuss is over a measley 300,000 gallons of oil. For each restaurant that reduces energy usage by 10%, 200 gallons of oil would is saved per year. Do the math, it adds up to 300,000 pretty quickly. What's more, not only does the environment benefit, but bottom line profits for the restaurant owner increase as well.

November 6, 2006 at 10:49 AM  

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