Restaurant owners and managers are always on the lookout for novel ways to get more customers. Among the fierce competition, great food or low pricing no more guarantees high footfall, and a local restaurant must think out of the box to remain a favourite for its existing customers and attract new diners.
If you want to increase your restaurant revenues, the following tips will offer you an insight into what you could be doing wrong and how to improve it.
1. Embrace online ordering
By getting onto the online ordering bandwagon, you’ll be able to increase your total sales without having to add additional tables or spend money on marketing to increase in-house dining. For beginners, avoid going DIY and sign up with the better food delivery apps in your area to take advantage of a ready-to-use order and delivery system.
However, before you start accepting orders online, empower your kitchen to handle the additional load, or you may end up upsetting your dine-in and online customers as well as your employees.
2. Train your serving staff in upselling
Training your best servers to upsell can help boost your revenues by gently encouraging customers to order more items. Even if half of your tables order one extra dish every evening, it would mean a significant increase in your overall orders.
Remember, however, that upselling really is an art that not everyone gets right. It needs to be done in a manner that doesn’t come across as coercion or intrusion to your customers. The server needs to come across as gentle, knowledgeable and merely suggesting an excellent dish rather than pushing the guest to order an extra appetizer or beverage.
When a diner feels that they can trust their server, they’ll be happy to try a side dish, dessert or cocktail suggested to them. Encourage your servers to master the art of upselling by introducing rewards for their performance.
3. Become active on Social Media
In times when restaurant meals are incomplete without online status updates, selfies and food photos, being present on social media is simply not enough. You need to be active on your social media accounts, post regular updates and check in several times a day to stay relevant to your present and future customers.
Having an active social media presence enables you to engage your customers on a one-to-one basis, keeps people up-to-date about any gigs, events or discounts, and builds a greater connection with your target audience. With or without advertising, social media is a powerful tool that can help boost your sales.
4. Upgrade the Interiors
If you take a critical look at your restaurant (or have an expert analyze the ambience and feel of the place), you may find some elements in the design and décor that could use uplifting. Dated, run-down, dull or boring interiors can drive customers away even when your food may be great and/or your prices low.
Unless you’re a modest street-side eatery that’s doing brisk business despite a simple décor, unexciting or poorly done interiors simply won’t do in a competitive environment where diners want great food served in a beautiful setting.
If cash flow is a problem, then target one thing at a time. For instance, change the inexpensive items such as cutlery, table linen, wall décor and lighting first and then get to the larger elements such as furniture and wall paint. Take time to research before you shop restaurant furniture in Canada to find a specialist seller that offers variety at competitive prices. An inviting ambience backed by great food and pleasant staff is sure to get you more customers in the long haul.
5. Entice diners with non-peak-hour offers
While the concept of happy hours has been around for aeons, it has mostly been about offering free alcohol and hoping that people would order food alongside. If you’re really looking for ingenious ways to increase your revenue without spending megabucks, try something radical such as introducing happy hours on appetizers and/or some main course items.
With more and more middle-income families and individuals looking for affordable dine-in options, you can significantly increase your total monthly sales by opening your non-peak hours to customers looking for good food at a bargain.
Before introducing any such scheme, however, do adequate research to figure out the best happy hours for your target customers, dishes that they’re most likely to order during those hours and the level of discounts you can afford to offer.
6. Start hosting Quality Events
You may already have local artists performing at your restaurant over the weekends, but you can do so much more to make people consider coming to your restaurant on other days. Aside from living gigs, consider stand-up comedy nights, cooking classes, private parties, sports nights, wine tasting, charity events, kids’ events, exclusive invites to regular customers to try new menu items, and so forth.
Depending on the diner profile you cater to, pick events and performances that would appeal most to your regular and potential customers. Hosting events is a great way to get people to choose your restaurant over another. Again, remember to first prep your kitchen and employees to manage the additional load.
7. Make day-to-day operations more efficient
If you’re not keen on spending a lot to increase your restaurant revenues, take a long and hard look at your existing systems and you’re sure to find a few things that can improve your efficiency and thereby your everyday sales. For instance, consider if your kitchen and chefs are well-equipped to turn out orders quickly. Do you have enough servers to take and server orders swiftly (without making the guests feel they’re being rushed)? Do you have an efficient seating system and proper space utilization in place or do you need to overhaul the seating arrangement? Do you have a mobile POS system so that guests can pay quickly right at the table? In a nutshell, push up your table turnover rate so that you can serve more people in the same hours. The answer to these questions can impact any restaurant revenues.
Overall, you can increase your restaurant revenues if you follow the above seven ideas. It would be best if you develop a plan and follow it through.