Any restaurant owner always has one question on their mind - how to increase restaurant sales.
In such a competitive industry with thin profit margins, restaurants always need to do everything they can to maximize sales and revenue. Luckily, there are many ways you can action this.
Whether you’re focused on attracting new customers, exploring new revenue areas of your business, boosting sales on certain days, or driving more repeat business, here are some of the best ways to generate more sales. Experimenting with a combination of these strategies can make a big difference in your business growth.
What Diners are Looking For in Restaurant Experiences
To boost restaurant sales, you need to offer experiences that today’s diners look for. Of course, at the center of diners' requirements are high-quality food, excellent service, and good value. Beyond these essentials, though, there are certain ways that restaurants can innovate to offer a better customer experience.
A significant part of this is utilizing the right technology. For example, restaurants can offer an online ordering system, a platform for groups to make easy bookings, a space where diners can read reviews, and more. This makes it easier for people to find the right restaurant and access a seamless dining experience.
Restaurant industry technology is developing quickly, which means the kind of experiences diners expect from restaurants are constantly changing. By staying on top of these trends and offering the right experience, restaurants can attract customers more easily and increase sales.
Nine Great Ideas to Increase Restaurant Sales
If you’re looking to increase sales during slow seasons, explore new revenue streams, or beat the competition, here are some of the best strategies to boost restaurant sales.
1. Private Dining Events
Hosting private dining events is an excellent way to diversify what your restaurant offers and attract new customers. You can organize special events with themes or attractions (like live music, new menu ideas, or a speaker), or simply open your restaurant venue up to private group bookings.
Offering customizable private dining events can open up a major opportunity for new revenue. You can charge for booking out your venue. Or offer complete event packages, including menu creation, wait staff, a cocktail bar, or whatever else your restaurant can handle.
The great thing about this idea is that it’s really easy for any kind of restaurant business to implement. Using the right event management platform allows you to stay on top of all aspects of booking and managing events. This makes it a lot easier to engage with clients, reach new prospects, and keep your events well organized.
2. Focus On Customer Loyalty
It can cost up to five times more to acquire new customers than it does to sell to your existing ones. This is because your existing customers already know about and trust your restaurant, so you have a much better chance of getting them to come back.
So, when focusing on boosting restaurant sales, try to get your patrons to return. One of the best strategies to do this is by extending loyalty offers or discounts to returning customers. Get diners to sign up for a customer loyalty program, offer them loyalty cards, or even provide a discount code on their receipts for when they return.
Another effective way to encourage customer loyalty is email marketing or SMS marketing. Gather the person’s contact details when they make an online booking, and then target them with relevant discounts, news, or deals through email or SMS.
Doing this can help you offer attractive reasons for customers to return. It also helps keep your restaurant top-of-mind, which is essential for bringing in repeat business.
3. Offer Special Promotions
Running special promotions is always one of the best strategies to boost restaurant sales.
Most establishments will offer special deals or offers during their quiet times. This could be during slower shifts, quieter days, or slow seasons. There are endless opportunities to tap into here to maximize restaurant sales.
Some of the most common tactics include things like “two-for-one Mondays,” “Taco Tuesdays,” “free drink with lunch,” “three pizzas for $X every Wednesday,” special seasonal menus, a free dessert with all meals at certain times, and so on. The more exciting discounts and deals your restaurant offers, the more new customers you’ll be able to attract.
Offering special repeat deals like this is also an excellent way to increase your return customers, as they can make the weekly special a regular routine. Just be cautious of offering too many specials and discounts, as this might result in people only coming to your restaurant for the deal. This won’t help you make more sales; it will just end up with you maximizing sales when you run specials only.
4. Run a Giveaway
Restaurant giveaways are a fun way to increase your restaurant sales. You could offer a giveaway such as a Valentine's Day date night for two, a three-course meal, offering free meals from your new menu, or more.
While a giveaway might not increase restaurant sales directly, it will help attract diners to your establishment and encourage them to engage with your restaurant. Add those who enter the giveaway can to your mailing list, where you can send them strategic discounts or special offers. These people have already shown an interest in your restaurant, so there’s a good chance they will return as customers and boost your restaurant's sales after the giveaway has closed.
5. Offer Online Ordering and Delivery
Online ordering and delivery have seen a significant rise in popularity over the last couple of years. Offering this extra service can open up a new area of potential revenue for your restaurant business.
You can accept online orders through your restaurant website and fulfill them with your own delivery fleet. If you don’t want to manage this yourself, sign up for third-party delivery apps in your area.
This can be a great way to get your restaurant in front of a larger target audience and boost food sales beyond what your restaurant’s floor plan can accommodate.
6. Partner Up With Another Local Business
One of the best ways to get more customers through your doors and increase restaurant revenue is to partner up with other complimentary businesses. This works well when you collaborate and run a giveaway with a shared prize or if you partner up on a special event or promotion.
For example, you can offer a special deal with a wellness spa in your area, where customers can purchase a massage and lunch combo. Or, you can offer free coffee to customers of a local business in your neighborhood. When they come for their coffee, there’s a good chance they might order a meal too.
7. Boost Your Marketing Efforts
This may be pretty obvious, but if you want to boost sales for your restaurant, you should focus on increasing your marketing efforts. A smart restaurant marketing plan will help you attract potential diners and give people more reasons to support your venue.
As a restaurant owner, ensure you’ve got a strong presence on social media platforms, that your website is up-to-date, and that you have detailed profiles across local and online directories.
You could also focus on more traditional restaurant marketing tactics, like handing out flyers, placing chalkboards around your restaurant, taking out ads in a local paper, and more.
The more you focus on increasing your marketing output, the more people you can reach, and the more restaurant sales you should be able to generate.
8. Host Pop-Up Experiences
People love pop-up experiences, making this a fun idea for increasing restaurant sales.
Depending on your restaurant and space, there are all kinds of pop-up events you can host. Ideas include a pop-up market, a thrift store event, a pop-up event with new unique menu items, pop-up events featuring a guest chef, book launches, collaborations with a local design or homeware business, and anything else you can think of.
Running events like this can help you attract a new target audience to your restaurant. Not only will it generate great brand awareness, but bringing in more feet through your door will result in more sales.
9. Keep Your Menu Fresh
If you haven’t updated your menu in years, then it might be time. This can be a great way to ramp up your restaurant sales.
Try to update your menu as seasons change to make your food more relevant to what people seek. You can also include special items based on what food is trending and popular at the time.
Of course, also optimize your menu around what sells well and what doesn’t. If you have unpopular menu items, don't be afraid to swap them out with something new.
Even changing the names of your menu items or how your menu is designed can help bring in more sales.
Try experimenting with new menu ideas - like small plates, new food styles, or a greater focus on seasonal dishes. You'll discover what dishes your patrons like best by continually updating your menu and offering new things. This should let you continuously optimize and increase your restaurant sales.
No matter what kind of restaurant you run or who your target audience is, these ideas have been proven to help increase restaurant sales. Try a combination of them to see how they can maximize your revenue.
Whatever tactics you try, smarter venue management is key to boosting sales and enhancing the customer experience. Try out Perfect Venue for free to see how our event management platform can help you maximize revenue, improve operations, and increase customer satisfaction.