You probably know that how hard the restaurant business truly is when you came to this article. First, I want you to know that you’re certainly not alone and I personally know that feeling very well.
There are so many ways in addition to increasing sales and saving money that will keep more funds within your restaurant and they shouldn’t be overlooked in any circumstances.
Yes, maybe if you only use one aspect of a specific method then it wouldn’t make much of a difference but if you take most of these ideas that I am about to show you and implement them into your business, I will guarantee that there will be more leftover money at the end of each month than before.
Anyways, you didn’t come to see me blabber I understand, you want the methods! Without further due let’s get started!
- Keep track of the inventory
- Analyze restaurants data
- Attract more customers
- Price your menu right
- Reduce waste
- Train & motivate employees
- Focus on efficiency
- Organize your kitchen
- Upsell, Upsell, Upsell
- Invest in digital menu boards
- Offer online ordering
- Set up outdoor seating
- Get smart with the buffet
- Offer incentive customer strategies
- Make your brand more known
- Participate in your local restaurant week
- Sell branded products
- Be active on social media
- Use email marketing
- Host entertainment and events
- Think outside of the box
Keep track of the inventory
Keeping track of your inventory is really important for a lot of reasons. It can tell you how much you have in stock, what items are most popular so that you know what to order more of and it also allows you to see the things which aren’t selling well.
If you want to get the easiest and most effective method in use then you should use a POS system with an integrated inventory tracking system. This way you could see items that are low in stock, reports, analytics, and you can even set reminders of your choosing. This way you will never encounter problems that you can regularly see when ordering a lot of ingredients at once by yourself.
Analyze restaurants data
From your point of sale system, you can see data that is super valuable to your business. You can see how many customers you have at certain times in the week and what they are buying so that you know where to put more items or if there is a time of day which has a huge lack of traffic.
By analyzing this valuable data you can easily make adjustments to your business and even to the need of employees in a certain time which will save huge amounts of money, therefore your overall revenue increases!
Attract more customers
It goes without saying that attracting more customers will generate more sales and revenue. There are a number of ways to do this but the best way is by creating an unbeatable and memorizable customer experience.
For example, you can offer discounts, coupons, limited-time offers, and anything between. This will entice some people who would otherwise not have come into your restaurant to come in and order a bunch of foods and beverages.
If the customers have a good and memorable experience in your restaurant, the power of word to mouth shouldn’t be underestimated. In fact, many studies have shown that 64% of marketing professionals believe that word to mouth is the most powerful method of marketing, and that it results in a 500% increase in revenue when compared to paid advertising! If that doesn’t get you excited, I don’t know what will.
You have the traffic and the incredible meals to offer. Now it is time to price your menu right. The way to do this is to make a good balance between what is affordable and what is expensive. You want to make it so that people will be willing to spend more on the quality of your food.
Pricing your menu isn’t about how many sales you can get because that isn’t always the best indicator. The goal you should aim for is that what price range will generate the most REVENUE, not SALES.
The best way to price your menu accordingly is to think about your customer base. Are your customers high-class business, college students, families, or retirees? This has a major effect on what is acceptable to the customers and at what point they just won’t come to dine anymore.
Also, carefully inspect your competition’s prices as well and see how many people they are getting when compared to your restaurant, from the information you have gathered you should have a decent idea of what to do next.
Reducing waste is a surprisingly overlooked aspect even if it has a straight connection to the revenue. Reducing food waste, water usage, and energy will be absolutely necessary in order to keep your revenue on the rise
One way you can increase revenue is by not buying as many ingredients before they are needed and running out. Buying more often means there’s less chance that what you have on hand will run out and if they are kept too long in the shelves it could reduce food waste.
Reduce food waste
- Train your employees on food management
- Use the first in first out method
- Simplify your menu
- Sell the excess food
- Order imperfect ingredients
Lower water usage
- Upgrade to energy star equipment
- Install hand dryers
- Use low-pressure faucets
- Don’t defrost under running water
- Serve water only when asked to
Train & motivate employees
If the employees are properly trained and motivated towards their job, they will be able to provide better customer service. This is because the employees are more likely to care about their work and what they do on a day-to-day basis which means the customers’ experience will also improve.
This step can not only increase revenue, but it could also lead to lower staff turnover rates and you probably know how expensive it is to train a new employee that really doesn’t know what he or she is doing in the beginning.
Focus on efficiency
Efficiency is in a direct connection with revenue because if employees are able to do their jobs in less time, this means that more customers can be served and the company will have higher revenue.
This is because if a 3-minute task takes 4 minutes to complete, then the restaurant’s efficiency rate drops from 100% to 75% and you can only imagine the results if this pattern is repeated in everything. By focusing on efficiency rates, restaurants could see a rise in revenue.
Organize your kitchen
Organizing your kitchen doesn’t seem like an aspect of the revenue but believe me, it certainly is. If all of your fridges, freezers, and supplies are just messy and there’s no organization to be seen, then it will decrease efficiency, increase food waste and make the overall service just much lower.
By organizing fridges properly and labeling the foods, you will have an easy time finding all the needed ingredients, and there won’t be any random containers spoiling in their second month in the corner. Also, when everything is organized the employees can function better and faster which will keep the customers happy and they are more likely to talk good things about your restaurant and remember, word to mouth is the most effective way of promoting!
Upsell, Upsell, Upsell
Upselling is the core for increased revenue and profits in a restaurant. There are many ways to upsell for example with desserts. Many people will order a dessert after they’ve finished their meal, so it’s always good to give them the option of ordering something sweet instead of finishing off with just a coffee or tea.
Another popular upsell is an appetizer, beverage, or some sort of additional dish before their meal. Depending on the type of restaurant, upselling may be harder in one than the other. Steak houses are the kings of upselling because there’s always a glass or even a bottle of wine or other expensive beverage, high-profit margin side salads, or snacks to go with the already expensive steak dish.
If you have ever tried to upsell anything to anybody, you will see huge differences between people and that some people are more willing to take extra items than others. Many people also dislike when a person tries to upsell more items to them, however, there are more clever ways to do it which brings us to our next method, digital menus!
Have you encountered a digital menu before? If not, you will within a couple of years because they are becoming highly popular and there is a good reason behind that!
In short, a digital menu is the full or even expanded restaurants’ menu which can be accessed via QR code by scanning it with your smartphone. This will lead your phone to an electronic menu page where you can see all the dishes, in addition to nutritional values, inciting pictures, and even videos.
Digital menus will increase revenue because digital menus upsell on their own if the design is made smart and easy to read and order from. If that’s isn’t enough from just a menu there are much more, for example, you won’t need to buy menu boards, print dozens of menu’s everywhere, you can connect it to the POS system end see how the customers are moving inside the menu and much more!
Offer online ordering
More and more people are ordering online nowadays which opens up new opportunities for the restaurant. By offering online ordering and partnering up with a reputable delivery company such as Postmates, or starting your own delivery service, you can significantly increase your revenue.
Not only will this save the customer’s nerves on waiting up in lines or your employee’s time and energy running around in a constant rush, but the restaurant can also actually take more orders in, and with that, the revenue will rise.
In addition, if you take up the online market you will get a HUGE amount of recognition by participating within the ordering platforms because hundreds, if not thousands of people that have never heard of you will be now staring at your menu.
Set up outdoor seating
There are multiple times more benefits on outdoor seating than cons. First of all outdoor seating will offer more seats for the customers which on its own will increase revenue. When the increased seating is mixed with a beautiful and sunny day, it opens opportunities like a beer garden or separate menu for the outside which would increase the revenue even more!
In addition, outdoor seating will offer more event and entertainment opportunities, decrease the stress levels from both customers and employees, offers a more inviting area for families and pet owners, therefore your customer base will be larger and more customers will flow in.
There are some cons to the outdoor seating though that you should know about. There are the aspects of weather which could bring problems and increased service needs as well.
Get smart with the buffet
We all that is working or has worked in the restaurant industry know the problems and opportunities a buffet brings. The key here is to be smart because everythign matters when it comes to the buffet setting.
First of all, you want to offer smaller white plates to the customers which will decrease the intake which will lead to smaller orders from your part. In addition, you should place the different foods in a such way that the less expensive ones come first so the customers will load up their plate with those foods first, which will again save the ingredients and increase the overall revenue.
Offer incentive customer strategies
There are many incentives that you can offer your customers in order to drive up the revenue, I have listed some common ones below that are highly popular and proven to be successful
Offer a loyalty program
Loyalty programs are an excellent way to increase customer retention and purchase frequency, which will ultimately lead to increased revenue for the restaurant. You can offer these rewards in a number of different ways: from free appetizers with every meal or drink up to large reductions off their next purchase.
Coupons can be a great way to bring in new traffic or reward your current customer base. You might offer it as a special promotion on social media sites or print out individual copies and put them on your tables where the customers could pick them and use them the next time they come to visit.
Offer a rewards program
Reward programs can be an effective way to increase customer loyalty and retention, leading to higher revenue for the restaurant. They often work best with other methods as customers would naturally desire further incentives if they are required to spend more money at your establishment. This is why a lot of restaurants reward customers with discounts for being regular customers or even just coming in on certain days.
Offer complimentary appetizers
Freebies are always an effective way to attract new business and generate revenue. If you’re running a restaurant, free food is probably your best bet at this point! Offer free appetizers with every meal that they order. This will not only up-sell your customers but also increase revenue from the individual orders. In addition, many people will gather up a group and come to dine in the restaurant so they can take advantage of this incredible offer.
Yes, you will ”lose” money to the freebies but your overall revenue will be way higher than if you wouldn’t use it in the first place.
These ideas are just the tip of the iceberg and you can come up with unique ones or use from the dozens that are already in use and pick the top ones that would fit the most in your restaurant.
Make your brand more known
Think about McDonald’s, RedBull, Dunking Donuts, and all the other highly recognizable brands around the world. Investing in your restaurant’s branding will ultimately result in loyal customers that will pick your establishment no matter what.
There are various things to make your brand more recognizable for example you could create a unique exterior and interior to the restaurant, come up with a memorable catch fraise, present your food in unique ways, make your takeout packaging easily recognizable, among other things.
This way people can even spot your restaurant from the people that are eating takeout in the nearby park’s bench!
Participate in your local restaurant week
Nearly all areas have a restaurant week once a year and making an appearance there with a dashing food stand where you would cook the delicious meals to the community will make your restaurant respected and adored.
In the restaurant week, you can promote your special offers, talk about your restaurant’s values and how it did get started, etc. After the week you will have hundreds of more customers that will consider your restaurant when they are deciding where they will eat their lunch.
Sell branded products
Selling branded products can have a really big profit margin if you do it right. The chances are that not so many people would be interested in buying t-shirts with your restaurant logo on them so you need to choose the products with care.
There are some products that will have really high margins. Do you have a cafe and roast the beans yourself with a coffee roaster? Sell those beans in a neat package with your brand logo on it! Do you brew your own beer or make your own wine? Sell them with your logo on them! The same principle goes in just about anything such as bread, baked goods, spices, or virtually anything. Try and find out!
In the modern world, everybody, and I mean everybody is on social media and so should your business. Being active on social media will not only allow you to engage with your current clients but also attract new ones.
There are various platforms and methods of how you can participate and market your restaurant and the main ones you should definitely focus on are Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
There are other means of online marketing and videos are growing in popularity by the day, therefore looking into YouTube can be a huge shortcut for exponential success, however, I understand that YouTube isn’t for everybody.
Then there are of course the restaurant’s Website and Blog that can get your word out in a very effective way and you definitely shouldn’t ignore Email Marketing which brings us to the next method in the article.
Use email marketing
Email marketing is an old-school technique, but it hasn’t gotten out of style. Do not make the mistake to think that email marketing is outdated and you should focus on other forms of communication like social media or text messages because even those are valid means of marketing that should be also used, email marketing is much more personal and yields way higher results.
You can promote different things in the emails such as the specials for the day, discounts, upcoming events, and other valuable information that the newsletter subscriber may be interested in.
There are a couple of things to know before starting email marketing. The first aspect is that they should be consistent. Imagine if you got an email from a restaurant that you subscribed to 6 months ago, you would instantly unsubscribe because it wouldn’t be relevant anymore. Second, you should add additional value such as stories, recipes, upcoming events, and some happenings that you are doing, not only promotions and offers.
The best way to collect emails within a restaurant is to have them fill out a contact form on the website. This can be connected with an autoresponder so that you know when they subscribed and how to send future emails to this person. Another equally effective way is to have a signup form on a display or a tablet near the entrance of the restaurant where people could sign up for the newsletter.
Host entertainment and events
Entertainment and various events are very popular and will help with your restaurant’s revenue. A really good idea is to have weekly or monthly events that are free for customers, therefore many will attend, bring new people with them and order a bunch of items from the menu and you can see the revenue skyrocket the rest of the day.
There are also paid events that will bring in even more customers such as a famous band, high-quality theme party, or anything between. The revenue generated from these can be used to partially cover the cost of hosting them and the rest and way beyond would be covered from the orders and different services within the event.
However entertainment doesn’t’ always need to be a big thing, you can include various evergreen entertainment ideas to the restaurant such as a pool table, board games, dartboard, and many others. Many of these are exciting to the majority of the people and when there are more people, there is more revenue.
Think outside of the box
In the end, there aren’t any rules that you must abide by in order to succeed because you are a creative human being with unique and innovative ideas that many people would be glad to see and benefit from.
In my experience, the most successful restaurants that are today have some kind of a unique element to them which separates them from the noise and insanely aggressive competition that is the whole restaurant industry. Don’t let it discourage you but make it an opportunity and the ideas will flow.
The best thing about trying new things is that if it isn’t a success you can always remove them and be proud that you try different things that many aren’t willing to try! In most cases, the big revenue comes from personalized and memorable experiences.