6 Ways to Increase Small Restaurant RevenueAndrea Lewis
Increasing profits is always the focus of any business. Small restaurants have to work harder than ever to promote themselves to a larger audience and keep up with larger chains that have the resources to make themselves known. However, there are still several efficient ways a restaurant can increase sales while appealing to its loyal customers.
How to Increase Restaurant Revenue
Whether a small restaurant wants to create an Instagram to show off their fanciest dishes or they are looking to build an outdoor seating area with a unique ambiance, every business can benefit from learning different ways to increase revenue and retain patrons. Here are six ways to improve small restaurant revenue:
1. Create a Social Media Presence
One of the best ways to increase your revenue and restaurant sales is by utilizing platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to promote yourself to a larger audience. Small restaurants with a local reach might benefit from creating social media pages with updated pages that regularly keep their patrons informed.
Consider uploading pictures of your popular dishes to entice new customers and get people excited about eating at your restaurant. You can also use social media to post about special events or menu changes and additions patrons might be interested in. Facebook or Instagram are also great places to promote discounts, specials or coupons your online followers can use.
Social media is also great for connecting with customers directly through the comment section or direct message platforms. People can leave reviews and recommendations for what they think about your restaurant. Remember to acknowledge customers’ posted complaints or issues by apologizing for any inconvenience and offering solutions. By helping this kind of patron, you will help retain followers and increase overall sales.
It is essential to stay active on social media to ensure your customers are engaged. Stay updated with local news and connect with a broader range of customers by monitoring your social media growth and sharing photos and posts promoting your delicious menu and helpful service. You may persuade new customers to try your restaurant if they see your business cares about its restaurant staff, shares customer reviews and updates its pages regularly.
2. Optimize Your Menu
Another great way to increase restaurant sales is by optimizing your menu. You’ll want to design your menu to encourage purchases while placing dishes with the highest profit in a place where the customer may see them first.
A good menu should be easy to navigate while promoting dishes popular with patrons. It may also be a good idea to mix prices, popular items and niche dishes so options are not too overwhelming. Optimization can also look like renaming a dish or circulating options depending on the season to give the appearance of variety.
Many of today’s restaurants put a version of their menu online. You may have to be specific about the number of dishes you offer through online ordering, but online options can increase your restaurant sales. Focus your online menu on dishes that are easier and faster to make to help you satisfy more customers looking for reliable takeout options. Do your best to update your online menu with clear pictures and dish descriptions to make purchasing easier.
After optimizing your menu, you can make changes later, depending on how your patrons react to the design. Measure the profitably of specific dishes and adjust based on the popularity of certain items. Your menu’s success will determine sales, and you’ll see an increase in profit once it caters to your customers’ needs.
3. Embrace Upselling
Upselling is persuading customers to make certain purchases by offering more expensive or extra items when they order. This prevalent strategy among restaurants will increase sales if used correctly. Whether you give away free samples to attract customers or update your menu based on popularity, it is always good to listen to your servers and discover what does and doesn’t sell.
For upselling to work, train your restaurant staff on different strategies and encourage them to build rapport with the patrons. Servers can try different prompts to determine what works best for every unique customer. Have them suggest add-ons or modifiers to increase profit, or work with them to develop a script and detailed dish descriptions that entice the patron.
There are a few ways servers can remain subtle while increasing sales:
- Discovery questions: Ask the customer why they’ve come to the restaurant and a few details about what they’re looking for. This will give your servers more information to help them recommend the best options for that specific patron.
- Positive rapport: Customers are more likely to add items to their order if they feel the service is good. Encourage staff to build positive relationships with customers to increase the likelihood of upselling.
- Relevant recommendations: Patrons may only want items pertinent to their unique tastes and situations. Once your servers have asked discovery questions, ensure they recommend suitable dishes for each customer.
- Upgrades: Customers are more likely to buy extra items if they feel the recommended dish is a better deal or a slightly better upgrade to their current choice. Servers can recommend add-ons and upgrades that appeal to these customers.
- Enthusiasm: Encourage your staff to be enthusiastic and optimistic about their recommendations. Patrons are more likely to trust servers who are confident about their dishes and knowledgeable about the customer’s needs.
4. Increase Table Turnover Rate
Your table turnover rate is the number of customers you serve daily. Improving your turnover rate is bound to increase your revenue, though servers should still give thoughtful attention and care to each customer that walks through the door.
Table turnover rate can be increased in several ways:
- Fast service: Place orders as soon as you get them and make sure the kitchen starts working on them as quickly as possible. Consolidate table tasks by bringing drinks or dishes and answering customer questions on the same trip to save time. Have servers give customers their checks in a timely manner and collect them as soon as the customer is ready. Clear and clean tables as soon as the customers leave to ensure a faster turnover rate.
- Optimize layout: Ensure your servers and customers can move easily throughout the restaurant and have many different tables available to seat different party sizes.
- Have an available team: Hire enough staff that can be available to assist with a more significant number of customers throughout the day.
- Ask for time constraints: Ask your customers how long they might stay to gauge how fast your turnaround time may be.
- Seat complete parties: Incomplete parties may take longer to ask for orders and take longer to leave.
- Encourage “campers” to leave: Customers that sit at tables for extended periods should be kindly encouraged to pay and exit.
5. Create Unique Outdoor Spaces
Outdoor spaces can be a great way to draw in new customers and seat a more significant number of patrons. An outdoor seating area or decorated patio may be just the way to expand your restaurant design while simultaneously increasing sales.
Adding an outdoor space to your restaurant lets you design seats to your liking while adding extra decorations that enhance the space. Additions like bushes, shrubs and flowers make use of the natural setting. You can always try out unique lighting fixtures and movable seats so your guests can easily sit in larger groups or eat during the evening.
The more seating space you have, the more customers you can serve. This gives you the chance to reduce wait time and satisfy more patrons who want to eat at your restaurant. An outdoor area will also help improve the traffic throughout the building. You can draw in new customers while encouraging patrons to utilize the extra space, especially during holidays or warmer months.
A new space may also be a chance for new revenue streams. Consider renting your patio for live performances by local bands, or offer to host birthday parties or special events in your outdoor tent.
However you choose to design your outdoor seating area, you will likely increase your customer base by appealing to parents, pet owners and social patrons. Parents can eat without worrying about their children bothering other customers, and pet owners can bring their animals with them while enjoying a nice dinner. More social patrons can sit with groups of friends without worrying about the volume of their conversation, and it even lets customers enjoy live music and entertainment without fear of disturbance.
6. Expand Your Services
Restaurants can also increase sales by offering different services and menu options. Many customers look for unique items and deals that appeal to their needs, and offering takeout or delivery options has become a necessary part of every restaurant service.
If you want to offer takeout services, consider designating special parking spaces in your lot so customers can easily access the restaurant. Mark an indoor area as the designated takeout space where customers can find and pay for their food.
Some restaurants may want to offer delivery as a part of their service. To test whether this may be a good option for your business, try partnering with companies like DoorDash or a local third-party delivery service to see if delivering will increase your sales by a significant number.
Other unique services may include special offers, gift cards or meal deals. Sales may increase during the holiday season, and your business can sell relevant dishes or items that attract more customers. Gift cards are another great way to attract new patrons, as many customers tend to buy more than what is given to them on the gift card, increasing the amount of money you receive and building relationships with future customers.
Some restaurants promote special meal deals or bundles to attract thrifty consumers. Consider offering combo meals that pair low-selling items with higher-profit dishes. You can also run a catering service or offer family bundles of large quantities of food.
The Value of Increasing Small Restaurant Revenue
It is essential to evaluate if your attempts at increasing revenue are successful. Consider running reports and setting monthly KPIs to focus your attention on growing the business and gathering sales.
Read reports on specific periods and areas of sale, from bar sales to online orders or takeout customers. You can also track which areas of your restaurant saw increases in revenue, such as your outdoor patio, bar or indoor tables. Apply this same method to specific servers to see who makes the most sales.
After running reports and tracking your growth, use this information to see the value of increasing revenue for your small restaurant. Establish a plan for the following year and continue checking your financial health while predicting how much you’ll make in specific areas throughout each season.
Benefits of Creating Outdoor Spaces at Restaurants
As more restaurants utilize their outdoor spaces to increase sales, exploring the various positives of outdoor seating and what it can do for your restaurant may be beneficial. A well-designed outdoor area can be one of the best ways to increase revenue and bring in new customers who want to try your delicious food and experience the service. Here are a few benefits of creating an outdoor restaurant space:
- Increased capacity: The more seats available, the more customers you can serve. You can also satisfy more customers by reducing the time spent waiting to be seated.
- More advertisement: Outdoor areas attract customers walking by, including vacationers, families and couples. An aesthetically pleasing space can use open-air dining or shade structures to advertise a welcoming atmosphere, while delicious-looking and smelling meals can entice people to stop.
- Better experience: Patrons can enjoy a refreshing drink or delicious food while soaking in the fresh air and natural landscape. It also encourages larger parties and friend groups to return more often.
- More revenue: Outdoor seating can appeal to many different types of customers while increasing the number of sales for your business. You can also encourage large parties to rent the space for special events and seat more customers throughout the day.
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