These days, there are many innovative ways to increase restaurant sales that go way beyond older methods such as expensive advertising and costly promotions. At the same time, the competition has never been steeper, and you can be almost certain that the other restaurants in your area are trying lots of creative means to drive their own sales.
Let’s look at five of the most effective strategies to increase restaurant sales in the current cultural climate, and you can start to implement them and see what works for your restaurant business.
1. Offer Online Ordering and Drive Takeout Sales
During the COVID-19 pandemic, many restaurants had no choice but to offer takeout or delivery in order to survive. Although restrictions are being eased in most places, many restaurants are opting to leave their takeout and delivery practices in place. What’s more, people are ordering takeout more than they ever did in the past, even as dining in person is becoming more prevalent once again.
However, it isn’t just about offering takeout anymore. People want to order from a service that is easy and convenient. That’s why an efficient and easy-to-use online ordering system is so important. A good restaurant ordering system streamlines the process from your website’s user interface to the kitchen and back to the customer.
In addition, you may want to consider participating with a delivery and ordering service such as Uber Eats. Many potential customers go there first to find a restaurant from which to order.
2. Use the Right Technology
Online ordering won’t do much to help you if your software and POS systems aren’t working for you. You may end up spending countless hours and creating tonnes of unnecessary frustration in using out-of-date technology that doesn’t do what you need.
Consider an upgrade to something that works seamlessly with online ordering. Again, people who order food online are looking for convenience, so that has to be a top priority.
3. Craft Your Menu
As a restaurant owner, your menu is the most important way to drive or destroy sales. Crafting and executing your menu involves sound financial analysis, artistic endeavour, and marketing savvy.
You need your menu to be crowd-pleasing and unique at the same time. The most important aspect is to know your niche in the market: what do you offer that sets you apart?
You also need to constantly seek to improve your profit margin against costs without sacrificing quality. It is a delicate balancing act. Many professionals specialise in helping restaurants do just that, so if you think that this is an area where you could improve but need some help, consider enlisting a suitable expert.
4. Take Advantage of Social Media and Take Control of Your Online Presence
Social media can be a tremendous tool for driving sales, creating a brand, and establishing loyalty among your customers. But if it is mishandled, it can hurt you more than it helps.
You should use social media to participate in a community with your followers. That looks different for everyone, but in general, you should share more than just images of food. Feature your staff and promote events that you have. Promote neighbouring businesses as well if you feel right about it. Always be sure to interact with followers by replying to comments promptly.
In addition to social media, you can claim your business on sites such as Google My Business and Yelp. These sites allow you to clearly indicate your opening hours show and update your menu. But also allow you to be part of the conversation about your restaurant and to hear valuable feedback. In the event that someone posts about a negative experience, you may have the opportunity to address it directly and make it right.
5. Reward Loyal Customers
These days, people love personal experiences. They want to feel as though they are VIPs. Establishing a loyalty program that rewards people for coming back and includes special perks, such as drink specials or discounted appetizers, can go a long way in doing this without costing you much money at all.
Be sure to collect contact information from your followers, such as their email addresses, so that you can stay in touch with them. Don’t wait for them to come to you.
Bonus Tip: Deliver the Absolute Best Customer Experience
At the end of the day, none of these tips will help if customers don’t have a good experience. Make sure to offer the best experience that you possibly can, every single time, to keep people coming back.