14 Ways To Increase Your Restaurant Sales And Grow Your Business

April 17, 2024

In today's competitive food industry, keeping customers coming through the door is crucial. While it is natural for your business to go high or low, it’s hard when your restaurant sales are always down and cutting into your profits. 

The quality of your food, the service you provide, and the ambiance of your restaurant are what makes your business succeed in the wrong. However, many times when people are desperate enough, they tend to ‘brand drift’.

Brand drift is when you change most of the things that made you original and profitable in search of better sales outcomes. The result is mostly a loss of brand identity and customers.

So if you too are looking for answers on how to grow your restaurant business in the long run, then Kouzina has a list of strategies that might work for you!

The Importance of Increasing Restaurant Sales

There are many reasons why increasing restaurant sales is important.  Stronger sales figures allow you to reinvest in your business, improve the quality of your offerings, and create a more enjoyable experience for your customers. This can lead to a positive cycle of growth and success

In addition, healthy sales figures can improve your restaurant's financial stability and make it more resilient in the face of challenges. Finally, strong sales can also help establish your brand as a leader in the market, attracting new customers and potential investors.

Overview of Strategies to Grow Restaurant Business and Boost Revenue

Overview of Strategies to Grow Restaurant Business and Boost Revenue

There are several strategies you can use to grow your restaurant business and boost revenue. Let's explore some of the most effective ones.

  • You should start by focusing on attracting new customers by utilizing social media platforms to showcase your food and engage with potential diners. 
  • Make it easy for people to order online through user-friendly platforms.
  • Regularly review your menu to ensure it's profitable and contains enticing dishes.
  • Technology can also be a powerful tool to streamline operations and boost sales. Consider online ordering systems, point-of-sale systems, and social media marketing tools.

Let us dive deeper into 14 specific ways you can grow your restaurant business:

1. Enhance Your Menu Design

Your menu is more than just a list of dishes; it's a powerful marketing tool that can tantalize taste buds, influence purchasing decisions, and boost your restaurant's bottom line.

Incorporate Profitable and Popular Dishes Prominently

By realizing star power and giving your best-selling and high-margin items a prominent place on your menu, you can shape your restaurant’s success.

Update your menu seasonally to feature fresh, local ingredients at their peak. This keeps your offerings exciting for returning customers and allows you to capitalize on seasonal trends. Also, try showcasing seasonal ingredients with vivid descriptions that mention their local origin. This not only elevates the perceived value of the dish but can also attract customers who are interested in supporting local farms.

Make it Better

Go beyond simply listing ingredients. Use descriptive language that paints a picture of the dish and tempts customers' taste buds. Do not shy away from using action verbs like "savor," "indulge," and "delight" to create a sense of anticipation and desire.

By incorporating these strategies, you can transform your menu from a static list into a dynamic sales tool that entices customers to order more and keeps them coming back for more.

2. Leverage Upselling and Cross-Selling

Now let us look into the two key strategies for boosting your restaurant’s sales: upselling and cross-selling, along with some tips for staff training to effectively implement these.

Upselling generally means encouraging customers to spend more on an item than they already intended on. For example, suggesting a larger size of their chosen entree or a premium cut of meat.

Meanwhile, cross-selling focuses on recommending complementary items to go with a customer's current selection. Think of recommending a side dish to pair well with their main course or a dessert to complement their meal.

Staff training on Suggestive Selling Techniques

This is where your staff plays a crucial role.  By training them in suggestive selling techniques, you equip them to confidently recommend upsells and cross-sells without being pushy.  Here's how the training can help:

  • Offer Recommendations: Train staff to make informed recommendations based on customer preferences and menu pairings. For example, suggesting a special wine that complements the flavors of the chosen dish.
  • Highlight Luxury Add-Ons: Train staff to showcase high-value additions that elevate the dining experience. This could be specialty cheeses for a charcuterie board or offering a decadent dessert option.

With Kouzina however, you can trust them to have all your staff and management training needs handled well to help you flourish in your food franchising journey.

3. Optimize Online Order and Delivery Services

In today’s digital world, optimizing online ordering and delivery services is what makes or breaks a great business.

Utilize Technology for Expanding into Online Ordering

Utilize Technology for Expanding into Online Ordering

You may utilize technology by developing your own ordering system, this offers full control over branding and customer data but requires investment in development and maintenance.

Or you may partner with popular third-party delivery platforms such as Swiggy and Zomato which have an existing strong user base, simplifying customer reach for you. However, you will have to incur some commission fees and potentially share customer data.

Consider Platform Fees and Potential Sales Volume Increase

When choosing an online ordering system, carefully weigh the platform fees (commission charged per order) against the potential increase in sales volume. Here's what to consider:

  • Commission Fees: These fees can eat into your profit margin, so compare rates across platforms and factor them into your menu pricing.
  • Sales Volume Increase: Delivery platforms can expose your restaurant to a wider audience, potentially leading to a significant sales increase. This can offset the commission fees if managed well.

4. Capitalize on Social Media Marketing

Regular Engagement and Updates on Platforms

Social Media is a powerful tool if used in the right way. For regular engagement be more active on your online platforms.

Creating a strong online presence requires regular posting of engaging and meaningful content.

Aim for at least a few posts per week, spread strategically across peak times when your target audience is most active.

Remember to respond to comments and messages actively to engage with your audience. This fosters a sense of community and shows you value their feedback.

Use Photos, Menus, and Relevant Hashtags to Attract Customers

  • Visual Appeal is Key: People eat with their eyes first! High-quality photos and videos of your mouthwatering dishes are essential to grab attention and entice social media users.
  • Showcase Your Menu: Make it easy for potential customers to browse your menu offerings through social media. Consider posting clear pictures of your menu or using social media's built-in menu features.
  • Harness the Power of Hashtags: Strategic use of hashtags can significantly increase your reach. Use a mix of popular food-related hashtags and location-specific hashtags to target local customers.

5. Create Signature Dishes and Offers

Develop Unique and Special Menu Items for Branding

Signature dishes differentiate your restaurant from competitors. These could be innovative creations by your chef, dishes with a unique twist on classic favorites, or offerings that showcase local ingredients.

Promote These Signature Offers on Online and Offline Channels

Utilize your social media platforms, website, and online ordering platforms to showcase your signature dishes. Use high-quality photos, enticing descriptions, and highlight special promotions. Don't neglect traditional marketing either. Feature signature dishes on your printed menus, table tents, flyers, and even window displays to grab attention.

6. Host Exclusive Events and Experiences

Plan Themed Events, Pop-up dinners, and Special Prix Fixe Menus

Host events with specific themes such as a murder mystery dinner, singles night, or a wine and cheese tasting to create buzz amongst the customers.

Offer special prix fixe menus for holidays, and occasions, or to showcase seasonal ingredients. These fixed-price menus provide a curated dining experience with a touch of exclusivity.

Market Events Effectively to Attract Both New and Regular Customers

Don't just blast out a generic message. Tailor your event marketing to attract both new and existing customers.

New Customers: Utilize social media advertising, local event listings, and influencer partnerships to reach a wider audience.

Regular Customers: Promote events through your email list, loyalty programs, and in-restaurant signage to keep your existing base engaged.

7.  Implement an Effective Loyalty Program

Repeat customers are the backbone of any restaurant's success. A well-designed loyalty program incentivizes them to keep coming back.

Offer Rewards for Frequent Customers to Encourage Repeat Business

Design your program to reward desired customer behaviors, such as frequent visits, trying new menu items, or spending a certain amount.

Offer rewards that are truly valuable to your customers. This could include free meals, discounts, exclusive menu items, or priority reservations.

Utilize Different Loyalty Programs to Boost Customer Retention

  • Points-Based Programs: A classic option where customers earn points with each purchase, redeemable for rewards.
  • Tiered Programs: Offer increasing benefits as customers reach higher spending thresholds, like exclusive discounts or event invitations for high-tier members.
  • Punch Card Programs: Simpler option, often used for specific menu items or deals, like "Buy 10 coffees, Get 1 Free."
  • Gamification: Integrate game mechanics like challenges or badges to make the program more engaging and interactive.

8. Offer Promotions During Off-Peak Hours

This section tackles the challenge of attracting customers during times when your restaurant is typically less busy.

Develop Happy Hour Deals or Special Offers for Low Traffic Times

Identify Slow Periods: Analyze your sales data to pinpoint the specific days or times when customer traffic dips.

You can then develop special promotions to attract customers during these specific off-peak hours.

A few popular options include happy hours, early bird specials, and some lunch specials as well.

Attract Customers during Typically Slow Periods

During off-peak hours, emphasize the value proposition of your promotions. This could be affordability, convenience, or a unique dining experience that is not available during peak times.

Promote effectively by spreading the word about your off-peak hour specials through social media, email marketing, in-restaurant signage, or even local flyers.

9. Optimize Your Website for Local Search

Optimizing your website for local search is crucial for attracting customers in your area.

Use Targeted Keywords

Integrate keywords that include your city, town, or neighborhood into your website content. For example, instead of just "bakery," use "best bakery in [your city]" or "[city name] artisan bread bakery."

Create a Google Business Profile

A Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business) is a free and essential tool for local businesses. Claim and verify your listing to ensure your restaurant appears in Google Maps and local search results.

Positive reviews on your Google Business Profile significantly enhance your local SEO ranking and build trust with potential customers. Encourage satisfied diners to leave reviews directly on your profile.

10. Improve Table Turnover Rates

Enhance Service Efficiency to Serve More Customers

Consider implementing restaurant management software to streamline tasks like order taking, payment processing, and table management. This can free up staff time and expedite service. You should also Invest in staff training to ensure your team is efficient and knowledgeable. Train your servers on menu recommendations, upselling techniques, and handling guest requests promptly.

Adjust Turn Times without Compromising the Dining Experience

The goal is to strike a balance:

A concise and well-organized menu can help customers make quicker decisions, reducing ordering time. Further, Implementing a system for staggered seating can help distribute customer flow and prevent overwhelming the kitchen during peak times.

11. Utilize Email and SMS Marketing

Send Targeted Messages to Keep in Touch with Customers

The aim is to nurture relationships with your customers, not bombard them. Focus on sending valuable content like new menu updates, special offers, event invitations, or loyalty program updates.

Personalized Promotions and Event Invitations

  • Personalization Matters: A simple touch like addressing customers by name in emails can significantly increase engagement.
  • Targeted Promotions: Use customer data to craft personalized promotions. For example, offer birthday discounts, recommend dishes similar to their past orders, or highlight upcoming events based on their interests.
  • Exclusive Invitations: Make customers feel valued by offering exclusive event invitations or early access to new menu items through email marketing.

12. Update Your Restaurant’s Online Profile

Accuracy is Key!

Ensure all information on your Google My Business profile listing is accurate and up-to-date. This includes your restaurant name, address, phone number, website link, operating hours, and any special closures.

Inaccurate information can lead to frustrated customers who may show up during off-hours or expect a different menu.

13. Expand Into Retail With Branded Items

Sell Packaged Goods and Branded Merchandise

Consider what products would resonate with your customer base. For example, you may provide bottled versions of your signature sauces, spice blends, or marinades used in popular dishes. You may also design and sell your very own merchandise that showcases your restaurant's logo and identity. 

Use Retail as an Additional Revenue Stream

Branded merchandise acts as walking advertisements, promoting your restaurant wherever customers take them. These items provide additional touchpoints for customers to interact with your brand beyond just dining at your restaurant.

14. Monitor and Respond to Customer Feedback

Engage with Reviews on Social Media and Review Platforms

Be Responsive: Make it a habit to regularly check social media mentions and review platforms like Yelp, Google My Business, and TripAdvisor.

Respond to All Reviews: Acknowledge all reviews, both positive and negative. Thank customers for positive feedback and express appreciation for their business.

Address Negative Reviews Promptly: Don't shy away from negative reviews. Respond promptly, professionally, and apologetically. Acknowledge the customer's concern and outline the steps you'll take to address the issue.

Use Feedback for Service and Menu Improvements

Customer feedback provides a goldmine of insights into your strengths and weaknesses. Analyze reviews to identify common themes, both positive and negative.

These reviews generally end up revealing popular dishes and highlighting areas where your menu might be lacking

Conclusion

This guide has explored a range of powerful strategies you can implement to increase your restaurant's sales and cultivate a thriving business

You should start by focusing on upselling and using technology to optimize your delivery system because this is in demand at the moment. Move on to having a strong social media presence to show off your signature styles and bring in customers for all your special events and offers.

Furthermore, make it a point to take customer feedback very seriously and engage actively with your audience to ensure success in the long run.

For all those excited about starting their own food franchise one day, Kouzina’s wide range of brands and offers await!

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