Maintaining restaurant sales in what seems to be an upcoming recession, tight competition, and constantly changing trends has become more challenging for the restaurant industry over the last two years. As more restaurants reopen for on-premise dining recently, many customers are still opting to eat off-premise for safety reasons. That's why it is now more crucial than ever for restaurant owners around the world to practice tactics that will help them boost overall sales by finding a balance between keeping existing customers and getting more new customers.
In this article, we'll discuss some of the effective marketing strategies and how to increase restaurant sales & improve restaurant profitability by creating plans and breaking them down into actionable steps. Continue reading!
Redesign your restaurant
Redesigning a restaurant from the bottom up may be costly, especially for small restaurant owners. However, there is always the opportunity of making little modifications here and there to improve the appearance of the restaurant. Installing digital menus, for example, will improve the quality of services and provide you with a competitive advantage. Additionally, you may want to update to customize beverage dispensers or enhance the dining experience with a huge TV in the dining room so guests can enjoy their mealtime. Adding a video wall and changing incandescent lights and fixtures might help improve the ambiance as well.
Offer signature packages
Your restaurant's intricately designed menu is a combination of your brand's concept, exclusive offerings, and vision.
Signature dishes in your restaurant may have the potential to become the largest source of your revenue. This one-of-a-kind, delectable signature dish has the opportunity to convert new customers into regulars, create a new realm for your brand, and generate higher price points and profitability. In addition to increasing sales, your signature dishes may generate further word-of-mouth marketing, enticing new consumers to travel long distances to taste them for themselves.
Optimize your menu
Think about your menu offerings, is it something just a mishmash of appetizers, mains, and desserts? If so, it’s about time to reconsider optimizing it. According to statistics, a menu redesign can serve to increase your profits by over 15%. Remember, a well-optimized menu will capture people's attention and help you keep ahead of your competitors.
Consider updating menu items on a biannual or even seasonal basis. Applying the menu engineering process will provide you with an excellent insight into the dishes you will offer and where you can boost your profit margins on per-dish items. Different strategies can also influence even the smallest features including the dish’s title, the item it's positioned next to, the pricing, and the visual accompaniment.
Throw a themed event
There are several unique events that your restaurant may throw to bring in new event clients and guests such as celebrating a "Not-So-Popular" holiday. Hosting events at your restaurant will get people talking about it and bring more customers to your venue.
Restaurant events are an incredible strategy to excite and encourage guests while also improving the overall guests' experience and increasing your restaurant sales.
Secure a social media presence
Social media platforms are widely used by the majority of your target customers. That means, your social media presence is critical to the success of your restaurant business. This will help you expand your customer base and convert first-time visitors into repeat customers.
Make sure to create social media accounts such as a Facebook business page, Twitter account, and of course Instagram account; and that you are familiar with these platforms. These are excellent sites to promote your daily deals and share drool-inducing photos. Once you’re a certified social butterfly, set up a free social media management tool (such as Hootsuite) to monitor the activity and engagement on your channels. You may also leverage your strategy by paid advertisement.
Sell branded products
Selling branded merchandise of something you're renowned for is a proven strategy to establish an additional revenue stream and boost restaurant sales. There are so many restaurants that offer merchandise to increase brand exposure and loyalty.
If you've invested a significant amount of time and money on your design and branding, just printing T-shirts may benefit your business. You may sell these branded items or give them away as a gift on special occasions or during promotions (this also serves as free marketing for those who wear them!)
Partner with popular delivery services
In today's app-driven society, delivery is a time-honored pillar of the foodservice industry, and that is, convenience is king.
You don't even need your own delivery fleet as third-party delivery services become a more popular option than in-house delivery. Partnering with reliable third-party providers is an extraordinary alternative to increase your restaurant sales. It allows you to streamline your ordering process, attract new customers, and delight regular customers all from the convenience of their smartphones.
When your customers are unable to come to you, you may accommodate them by bringing your services to their homes. Consider collaborating with popular delivery services in your local community like Seamless, GrubHub, and DoorDash. These platforms may provide access to your restaurant's offerings to thousands of new customers, promote brand exposure in your location, and allow them to generate more sales for the off-premise business.
Be warned though. The cost of the transaction order is included in these platforms' pricing. They do, however, charge a significant percentage of the transaction order as fees.
So, depending on your pricing strategy and local platforms available to the area, you may need to raise menu prices or go back in order to discover a less costly platform so you can be profitable.
Embrace the power of upselling
Master the art of upselling to help your staff become exceptional salespeople. This is yet another excellent application for your POS system.
It can assist you to improve average check size and increase restaurant sales by encouraging waiters to recommend add-ons and emphasize price modifiers to the customers.
Organize a workshop
Is your pizza the finest in town? Are your customers often bragging about your killer cocktails? Demonstrate your abilities by hosting a virtual or in-person workshop.
Extending your restaurant's experience into hands-on engagement will not only help you generate some additional money with workshop fees, but it will also do wonders for customer loyalty. It's an effective way to boost restaurant sales without spending money on promotion.
Try new marketing strategies
All marketing efforts should be evaluated by your Return On Investment (ROI). This should cover your time invested and money capital, as well as what you get in return.
Running restaurant email marketing is a tried-and-true way of communicating with your customers. With the increased use of smartphones and faster access to email inboxes, email marketing is not only relevant but also a key component of today's restaurant digital marketing strategy.
Although direct mail is good, email provides more opportunities and is less expensive. Among the numerous benefits are the following:
- Reaching out to potential new customers to dine in your restaurant for the first time
- Show appreciation to your existing customers
- Keep customers returning
Additionally, you can also consider experimenting with SMS marketing. This makes sense given the high open rates of text messages. Start using an SMS marketing tool to empower your marketing strategy by sending your promotions in mass.
Make enticing deals and offers to get customers to subscribe, and then begin sending weekly deals to your growing list of subscribers. Your customers will be excited to get these deals which may contribute to customer retention.
Create a restaurant newsletter
The potential return on investment for generating a newsletter is tremendous. It's one of the most successful strategies to increase your restaurant sales.
A good restaurant newsletter is a powerful approach to engaging your customers. Newsletters have been reported to be more effective than social media.
As a restaurant owner, this will provide you greater control over your target audience and helps in delivering free resource and relevant materials that can increase your brand awareness that promotes return visits. The best part is that a newsletter can be integrated into your complete restaurant email marketing plan.
Host pop-up experiences
Pop-up restaurants are a growing trend in large cities and rural towns.
This concept has become popular in offering exciting menu concepts from fast-casual fusion menu items to high-end gourmet meals; a perfect place for foodies, millennials, and customers of all ages.
You could start hosting events like Tiki Tuesdays, complete with a special cocktail menu of tropical drinks regularly. Consider partnering with a potential visiting or emerging local chef who wants to set up in your space one night a month to make them work for your business.
Keep existing customers details in one centralized place
Customers' satisfaction generates revenue for your restaurant business.
Whether your customers are dining-in or ordering online, their experience of placing orders to receiving them impacts their decision if they will be returning again or not. The restaurant ordering system hence becomes an incredibly important part of a successful business.
Additionally, for instance, if you manage an events program at your restaurant, it's critical that you maintain organization. It is important to log as much information as possible into your event notes and establish a reliable communication channel so that you have a well-defined paper trail stating expectations for all parties involved.
Participate in your city’s restaurant industry events
Restaurant Weeks are a remarkable opportunity to attract locals and tourists alike to show off your signature dishes, and while also experimenting with new ones. You can also leverage them to get the word out about your private event services. Also, include details about your program in check presenters, and consider offering a special deal if someone books an event within a certain time frame. Most businesses who participate in the event enjoy an increase in traffic.
Adopt a loyalty program
Do you want happy customers to keep coming back? Include customer loyalty programs as part of your marketing efforts! There are several ways for rewarding repeat customers for their continuing business. Choosing the best one for you is often determined by several factors such as your budget, the type of restaurant you operate, and your personal preferences.
Punch cards or vouchers can be used by casual establishments. Higher-end establishments, on the other hand, may rely on the app- or email-driven programs. Whatever technique you select, the point is to keep the process easy on the customer's end so that they participate.
Want to increase restaurant revenue? Private events and Tripleseat will help
Diversify Your Services
Learn to adapt the "Diversify & Thrive" principle in a variety of ways, including updating your human resource procedures and building solid retention strategies, experimenting with new menu offerings, and developing a unique customer experience. Staying relevant in an industry filled with turmoil and strong competition requires diversification.
Train Your Servers on Upselling Techniques
In the restaurant industry, there are many key concepts and techniques you can employ to focus your efforts on strategies that will improve your restaurant's sales and one of them is successful upselling.
Upselling is a crucial and efficient strategy to boost profitability in your restaurant. However, you don't want to risk losing a customer by aggravating them with constant upsell attempts, which is why experienced wait staff comes in handy. You may take advantage of the potential to improve sales and profitability for your business by training your staff in effective upselling techniques:
- Identify Which Menu Items Have High-Profit Margins
- Offer Extras
- Offer Specific Items
- Be Enthusiastic About the Items You Are Suggesting
- Know What Items to Upsell at What Times
- Do Not Annoy the Customer
- Mention Takeout Options
- Suggest Other Courses that the Customer Hasn’t Ordered
Maximize Your Table Turnover Rate
Serving more people on a regular basis while yet offering a fantastic dining experience that does not require hustling diners out of their seats is one of the most difficult challenges that most restaurateurs deal with.
Improving your table turnover rate means increasing the number of customers you will serve in a day to achieve increased sales. The logic is simple and clear: the faster the table turnover and the more customers you serve, the bigger revenue. This is beneficial to more than just restaurant owners, servers should strive to boost table turnover as well because happy customers leave larger tips. Overall, everyone gains.
To achieve this, ensure that all orders are instantly dispatched to the kitchen and that all prepared orders are to serve customers quickly. Also, make sure that checks are presented and collected on time. As soon as your guests leave, the tables should be bussed and reset. Get the proper mix of tables for your average dinner party sizes. Quick and efficient service allows you to impress your customers while also ensuring an increasing turning tables rate.
Focus on SEO to increase restaurant sales
SEO is advantageous to many types of businesses, but it is especially beneficial to the restaurant industry since it helps them gain more visibility. A well-optimized SEO website attracts visitors to your restaurant's website, which may help you increase restaurant sales in a variety of ways, including the following:
- Increasing traffic to your website
- Building a loyal audience that one day will turn into a customer
- Increasing the number of online ordering and bookings
- Building brand awareness
- Strengthen customer engagement
- Becoming a valuable resource in your community
Optimize your Google My Business Listing
With an ever-increasing number of customers using Google search to find local businesses, you need your business profile to come up ahead of your competitors. Rising through the search results will help your bottom line.
Make sure your restaurant is listed on Google My Business to broaden your reach and make it easier for your customers to locate you on the internet. It will improve your customer's experience if they see your restaurant on Google and can instantly contact or locate your business on Google maps. Encouraging your customers to submit positive reviews on your social media and business page can also help you attract more customers.
Run digital ads to increase profits
Knowing how to market to the target audience is indispensable for every successful business.
As the web has drastically transformed the way individuals connect with one another and with modern businesses, digital advertising is a must-have for restaurants. Digital advertising is definitely one of the most reliable techniques you can use to increase your restaurant sales and revenue. It allows you to communicate your brand to a huge number of customers in a fast and cost-effective way.
Build a solid online presence to open several opportunities to engage with potential customers. Run social media ads and Google Ads to reach new customers online. Target people who live and work near your establishment and whose demographics match those of your existing customers using Facebook and Instagram advertisements.
How to increase restaurant sales by attracting repeat business
Only one of every ten bars or restaurants in a row operates well, while the others are empty or half-empty, and this implies that only the best will survive. Customers can be divided into new customers and repeat customers. Attracting new ones is extremely crucial, but because more than 60% of a successful restaurant's customers are return customers, it's clear where the emphasis should be directed. Follow these tips to learn how to improve restaurant sales by enticing your customers to keep coming back.
Send guests targeted offers
Using targeted offers in your restaurant marketing strategy will undoubtedly benefit you as a restaurant owner. This enables you to create campaigns based on specific customer data, which may result in customer engagement and perhaps additional customers who are more likely to visit and spend more that will lead you to make a better customer lifetime value and increasing restaurant sales.
You may use a marketing tool to automate the sending out of relevant messages and offers to your customers depending on whatever criteria you set. For example, you may send customized incentive offers to previous diners through email or SMS, such as a "we miss you" message encouraging them to book a reservation again.
Cross-promote internally to increase sales
Cross-promotion is a successful strategy for increasing a recurring business. You may cross-sell delivery to dine-in customers while also booking a table for delivery diners.
Encourage customers who regularly dine at your restaurant to order online by providing them with a coupon code for their first purchase. Let the automated email campaign do this for you. Motivate pickup and delivery customers to make reservations by sending them an email with an upgrade, such as a complimentary champagne toast when they come when they join you in person.
Introduce online ordering
Online ordering systems enable restaurants and food businesses to serve their customers via mobile app or a website.
Add an online ordering revenue stream to your restaurant if you haven't utilized it previously. It will greatly adds value in giving you a quick, convenient and 24/7 way to place orders without having to call or email your staff. This will benefit your customers in many ways; they can receive instant updates on the status of their orders and they will be more confident that their orders will arrive on-time amd with the correct items. A more efficient and convenient ordering process will increase your customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Consider implementing an online order management system that will improve your entire ordering process. However, don't rely only on third-party delivery systems because they charge high fees and restrict your to access your customers' data. You can employ a direct online ordering to eliminate per-order fees, prevent missing phone orders and generate revenue from customers even when don’t feel like dining in.
Implement a loyalty program to increase revenue
As part of your customer loyalty program, you can implement your own earn points mechanisms for your loyal customers for on-site and online transactions and have them redeem free meals, exclusive offers, and more.
Offer prix fixe menus
Prix fixe menus are a must-have addition to every restaurant. To entice your customers to spend more money, sell multiple courses as a prix fixe menu. Offer them all year or only on special occasions like Mother's Day and Valentine's Day.
Create takeout bundles
Create a takeout version of a prix fixe menu for your online ordering customers, along with takeout bundles. Offer multi-course takeout and delivery selections, as well as large-format family-style meals for which you can charge a premium.
Upsell add-ons offer to dine-in and online orders should be reasonable to increase sales.
Train your front-of-house (FOH) staff to provide recommendations for beverages, appetizers, desserts, and side dishes. Upselling in fast service restaurants may comprise asking customers whether they want to upgrade from a small drink to a big drink.
Customize your online buying platform to recommend add-ons that compliment the goods already in the basket for delivery and pickup orders.
Make merchandise with your restaurant's logo on it. You may include t-shirts, water bottles, aprons, booklets, and even canned versions of your famous drinks; these are all potential. Sell these merchandise at your restaurant and online as an add-on to a takeout order to boost sales.
You can also consider adding eCommerce features to your website to allow customers to purchase products even if they live outside of your food delivery range.
Increase beverage sales as addons
The best time to upsell beverages (wine or alcohol) is at the start of service. Train your service staff to provide appropriate pairing recommendations as diners order their main dishes (especially meats). This is one area in which you should become adept, as beverages or alcohol sales are a significant source of revenue for many restaurants.
Running a restaurant was difficult even before the COVID-19 outbreak. Profitability is critical for all businesses, that's why it is important to make an effort to improve your bottom line. We hope that after reading this post, you have a deeper insight into how to strategize to increase your restaurant sales while also ensuring a long-term and beneficial impact on your customer's experience.