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How to Increase Restaurant Sales

How to Increase Restaurant Sales

Last updated on 3/26/2020

Maintaining restaurant sales amidst fierce competition and rapidly changing trends can be challenging for any restaurant owner. Financial stress is a leading factor in why a restaurant fails, making it crucial to find effective strategies to boost sales and stay ahead of the competition. Attracting new customers, encouraging repeat customers, and promoting increased spending are essential for boosting restaurant sales.

Revenue Drivers for a Restaurant

A revenue driver is a direct action or variable that generates revenue for a business, and anything a business does to increase its sales can be considered a revenue driver. For restaurants, several key revenue drivers can impact the bottom line. We've listed some of the most important restaurant revenue drivers below.

  • Online reputation and reviews: Customers rely on online reviews and ratings when making dining decisions. Positive reviews can attract new customers and help build a loyal customer base, while negative reviews can be detrimental to a restaurant's reputation and ultimately lead to a decrease in sales.
  • Digital optimization: Restaurants need to ensure that their website is user-friendly, mobile-friendly, and optimized for search engines. This includes having an easy-to-navigate menu, online ordering capabilities, and an attractive design that reflects the restaurant's brand.
  • Brand identity: A strong and well-established brand can differentiate a restaurant from its competitors and attract a loyal customer base. Restaurants should focus on developing a unique brand identity, including a memorable logo, consistent branding across all platforms, and a distinct personality that resonates with their target audience.
  • Upselling: By training staff to upsell, restaurants can encourage customers to order additional items or upgrade their orders, ultimately increasing the average check size.
  • Managing restaurant capacity: Maximizing seating capacity and optimizing table turnover can directly impact a restaurant's sales. Restaurants should carefully analyze their floor plan, seating arrangements, and reservation systems to ensure efficient use of space and minimize wait times.
  • Marketing campaigns: Restaurants should utilize a mix of online and offline marketing channels to reach a wide audience and generate buzz around their establishment.

How to Boost Restaurant Sales

While there are many ways to increase restaurant sales, it's important to utilize a wide range of strategies for the best results. Implementing a combination of these techniques can improve your bottom line and attract more customers to your establishment.

1. Offer Takeout and Delivery

fries in aluminum pan

By providing takeout and delivery services for your restaurant, you can cater to guests who may not want to dine in but still want to enjoy your food in the comfort of their own homes or offices. Takeout and delivery services are not only convenient for customers, but they also save them time. With busy schedules and the need for quick meals, many individuals prefer the ease of ordering food to be delivered to their doorstep or picking it up on their way home.

When implemented correctly, takeout and delivery can often increase check sizes. Customers can browse your menu at their leisure, leading them to explore different items and potentially add more to their orders. These services can also lead to increased exposure and introduce customers to your restaurant for the first time. Continue reading for tips on how to effectively implement a takeout or delivery service.

  • Optimize your menu for delivery: Create a separate menu for takeout and delivery only and make it a simplified version of your dine-in menu. Choose items that are easy to prepare and travel well. Avoid delicate items that could fall apart or melt during transit.
  • Offer curbside pickup: For the quickest takeout service, you can provide curbside pickup to your customers. If you have a parking lot, reserve a couple of spaces near your entrance. Train your staff on the proper procedures for handling curbside orders and accepting payment.
  • Optimize your drive-thru window: If you already have a drive-thru window, there are ways to optimize your drive-thru service to make it the best it can be. Keep the area stocked with the items you need, such as napkins, plastic cutlery, and condiments. Verify that your speakers work and customers can hear you. You can also work with your drive-thru team to set expectations about how long it should take orders to be completed.
  • Partner with third-party delivery apps: Consider partnering with third-party delivery services like Uber Eats, DoorDash, or Grubhub. These services can expand your company's reach and simplify the online ordering process.
  • Create your own delivery service: If you don't want to partner with a third party, consider implementing your own delivery service. Hire your own delivery drivers and have customers place orders directly through your website, on an app, or over the phone.

2. Start a Restaurant Loyalty Program

A restaurant loyalty program rewards repeat customers for their continued patronage, encouraging them to choose your establishment over competitors. You can implement these programs by issuing a membership card that customers can swipe or scan during each transaction, having guests sign up using their email address, or offering an option through your restaurant's app. With a carefully structured loyalty program, you can boost customer retention rates and track customer behavior and preferences to tailor your offerings and marketing efforts.

  • Repeat business: By offering rewards and benefits to loyal customers, you create a sense of exclusivity and appreciation that encourages them to choose your restaurant over competitors.
  • Increased average transaction values: Loyalty programs can also contribute to a higher average transaction value for your restaurant. Offering rewards based on spending thresholds or encouraging customers to try new menu items motivates them to spend more during each visit. Moreover, loyalty programs often encourage customers to explore the full range of your menu, leading to additional purchases and higher overall spending.
  • Enhanced reputation: When customers feel appreciated and valued, they are more likely to speak positively about their experiences and recommend your restaurant to others. Word-of-mouth advertising is a powerful tool in the restaurant industry, and a reputation for excellent customer loyalty programs can set you apart from the competition.
  • Customer data and feedback: Implementing a loyalty program allows you to collect valuable data about your customers. By gathering information such as contact details, dining preferences, and frequency of visits, you can develop targeted marketing campaigns and tailor your offerings to better meet customer needs. Additionally, loyalty programs provide a platform for customers to provide feedback, allowing you to identify areas for improvement and enhance the overall dining experience.

3. Enhance Your Mobile Presence

man ordering food online on mobile phone

In today's digital age, having a mobile presence is crucial for any business. With most people carrying a mobile device on them at all times, it is essential to establish and optimize an internet presence to reach new customers and improve your brand. There are several ways to do so, ensuring that your restaurant is easily accessible to potential customers on their smartphones and tablets.

  • Optimize your website for mobile devices: Your restaurant’s website should be responsive and adapt to different screen sizes and resolutions. A mobile-friendly website will provide an optimal browsing experience for your customers, making it easier for them to navigate your menu, find your location, and place orders online.
  • Develop an app: An app helps customers access your restaurant's information, browse your menu, make reservations, and even place orders directly from their smartphones.
  • List your restaurant online: Listing your restaurant on Google My Business, Yelp, and other similar sites is an easy way to increase brand visibility. These tools present a detailed business profile, including your address, phone number, website link, hours of operation, and customer reviews.
  • Establish a social media presence: Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter allow you to engage with your customers, share updates about your restaurant, and promote special offers. Regularly posting and interacting with your followers can increase brand awareness, generate buzz, and ultimately drive more customers to your restaurant.
  • Embrace mobile marketing: This involves utilizing various mobile marketing techniques such as SMS marketing, mobile ads, and push notifications to reach and engage with your target audience. Mobile marketing allows you to send personalized offers and promotions directly to your customers' mobile devices, increasing the likelihood of them visiting your restaurant or placing an order.

4. Invest in Advertising

Implementing an effective advertising campaign is essential for increasing restaurant sales. It's important to note that the type of marketing that works best for your restaurant may not be as effective for another. For that reason, it is essential to familiarize yourself with the common ways that restaurants advertise themselves.

  • Social media marketing: One of the most popular and cost-effective methods is social media marketing. Whether you're creating posts for your own accounts or running target ads on social media, this method makes it easy to drive traffic to your restaurant.
  • Email marketing: By collecting email addresses from your customers, you can regularly send out newsletters, updates, and promotions. This allows you to stay top of mind with your customers and remind them of your delicious menu items and special offers.
  • SMS marketing: This form of marketing is similar to email marketing, allowing you to contact customers if they opt-in to receive text messages. It's important to note that SMS marketing messages have a significantly higher chance of being opened than email messages.
  • Web marketing: Creating a user-friendly website that showcases your menu, provides online ordering options, and highlights customer reviews can attract new customers and increase sales.
  • Print marketing: Utilizing local newspapers, magazines, and direct mail campaigns can help you reach a more traditional audience who may not be as active on digital platforms. You can advertise special promotions, design seasonal menus, or create coupons that encourage customers to visit your establishment.

5. Engage with Your Community

group of young friends sitting together at a table in restaurant ordering food from a waitress

An essential part of maintaining repeat customers and building a connection with your guests is finding creative ways to engage with your community. Actively participating in community events, supporting local causes, and organizing special events drives interest in your restaurant and expand its reach.

  • Participate in restaurant week: Many cities and towns organize restaurant weeks, during which local eateries offer special deals and promotions. Consider creating a prix fixe menu, offering discounts, or hosting special events during the designated week to maximize your restaurant's visibility.
  • Contribute to local causes: Supporting local causes not only helps make a positive impact on your community but also enhances your restaurant's reputation. Consider partnering with a local charity or organizing fundraisers to give back to the community.
  • Organize live events: Hosting live events can be an excellent way to attract new customers and keep existing patrons engaged. You can organize live music nights, trivia nights, or other interactive events that align with your restaurant's theme or concept. These events create a lively atmosphere, encouraging guests to return and attracting new diners who are seeking entertainment along with their meals.
  • Allow large groups to use your venue: Offering your venue as a space for large groups or events can be a lucrative opportunity to increase sales. From corporate gatherings to birthday parties, providing a welcoming and accommodating space establishes your restaurant as a go-to venue for special occasions.

6. Embrace Upselling

Upselling is an effective method to increase restaurant sales and boost your bottom line. When executed correctly, upselling allows the customer to be in control of their decision and doesn't make them feel pressured to purchase more. With the right upselling techniques, you can maximize your restaurant's profitability while enhancing the overall dining experience for your customers.

Upselling Techniques

When it comes to upselling, several strategies and techniques can help your servers effectively increase sales.

  • Create a detailed menu description: By painting an enticing picture of the menu, you can pique the customer's interest and encourage them to explore other options, ultimately leading to higher sales.
  • Train servers to make suggestions: Encourage your servers to suggest upgrades or add-ons that complement the customer's chosen dish. This personalized approach makes the upsell relevant to the customer's preferences, increasing the likelihood of a successful upsell.
  • Emphasize timing: Timing is crucial when it comes to upselling. Your servers should be trained to identify the right moments to make suggestions.
  • Build upselling into your table kiosks: If you utilize table kiosks or self-ordering systems in your restaurant, incorporate upselling prompts into the interface. These prompts can suggest additional menu items or upgrades, encouraging impulse purchases.
  • Offer limited-time promotions: Create a sense of urgency and excitement by introducing limited-time promotions. Whether it's a special discount, a seasonal menu item, or a buy-one-get-one offer, limited-time promotions can entice customers to try something new or order additional items.

7. Maximize Your Table Turnover Rate

Seating more tables and serving more guests should equate to increased sales. While you can't control how long guests take to eat their meal, you can increase the efficiency of your service and get more tables seated per shift. By seating guests faster, you can reduce wait times and decrease the likelihood of walkouts, ultimately boosting your restaurant's overall revenue. Follow the tips outlined below to maximize your turnover rate and increase sales.

  • Create a timeline for service: Establishing a timeline for each step of the dining experience can help your staff stay organized and ensure smooth service. From greeting guests at the door to taking orders, delivering food, and processing payments, having a clear plan in place can minimize delays and maximize efficiency.
  • Invest in mobile POS tablets: Equipping your staff with mobile POS tablets allows them to take orders and process payments directly at the table without having to go back and forth to a stationary POS system.
  • Update your dining room layout: Efficiently arranging tables and seating areas can help you make the most of your available space and maximize the number of customers you can serve at any given time.
  • Design an efficient menu: Simplify your menu by offering a well-curated selection of dishes that can be prepared quickly. Streamlining your menu not only speeds up the ordering process but also allows your kitchen staff to work more efficiently.
  • Train your staff: Provide thorough training to your staff on efficient service techniques, including how to prioritize tasks, anticipate needs, and maintain a quick pace. Well-trained servers can handle multiple tables simultaneously and provide prompt, attentive service, resulting in faster table turnovers.

Back to Top

Restaurant owners are continuously thinking of ways to improve processes and increase efficiency. While there are many different types of restaurants, the same basic principles remain when it comes to building restaurant sales. By adhering to the information above, you can position yourself to increase profits and remain successful in a competitive industry.

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