Restaurant sales

How to Increase Restaurant Sales: A Guide

Image source: Getty Images

Do you want to improve your restaurant’s cash flow? Find out how to increase your restaurant’s sales by providing great online and in-house experiences.

There are a million different ways to increase sales. Some, like a one-time promotion, will put a few extra dollars in your pocket during an off-season. Other tactics, such as launching a website, generate income throughout the year. Building a sustainable business takes a bit of both. Learn how to increase restaurant sales with these tips.

1. Give customers the experiences they want

Expanding options and giving customers more ways to order, pay for, and receive food and beverages is key to increasing restaurant sales. After all, your guests want two things: convenience and choice. These two things also give people control over their experience.

Before the pandemic, the National Restaurant Association reported, “About 60% of dining opportunities are now offsite in all forms, including drive-thru, takeout and delivery.” Of course, that number jumped during COVID-19. Although people are eager to return to in-person experiences, off-site dining will remain popular.

For each of the following experiences, ask yourself if you make it easy and offer customers multiple ways to do it:

  • Order food and drinks: Deliver seamless experiences through mobile and online ordering platforms, train staff to take orders over the phone, and improve internal ordering experiences.
  • Pay for meals: Accept a variety of payments, including credit cards, cash, gift cards, and mobile or contactless payment methods like Apple Pay or PayPal.
  • Get food: Give people more ways to enjoy your cuisine by offering curbside delivery, home delivery, in-store pickup, catering, drive-thru, outdoor dining, and pop-up events.

2. Invest in your people

Customers see your restaurant team when they walk through the door. Callers speak to a member of your team for orders, reservations, complaints or simple questions. And when your guests walk through the door, your staff will be their last contact.

Your employee’s words, actions, and facial expressions affect restaurant customer service in every instance. Help staff increase sales by providing:

  • General phone scripts to guide less experienced workers on calls
  • Servers with short tip cards showing natural ways to sell food or drink
  • Point-of-sale (POS) reminders, such as a brief list of items to recommend
  • Private comments that focus on actionable suggestions, not what they hurt
  • Benchmark timeframes, such as “Come back after two bites or five minutes”
  • Upsell incentives by tracking sales by employees and products in your POS system

Point of sale report showing restaurant food sales.

Filter point of sale reports by employee and date to see which team member sold the most items in your upsell competition. Image source: author


3. Take advantage of free marketing tools

Although advertising can increase sales, it is expensive. And few companies can afford to increase their advertising budgets when faced with pandemic restrictions or financial challenges. However, you can learn how to improve restaurant sales without advertising.

Start by reviewing your restaurant’s current marketing plan and identifying areas for improvement. Can you improve engagement rates on certain platforms or take advantage of free tools provided by third-party vendors or services?

Consider investing time in:

  • Google My Business (GMB): According to BrightLocal, an average of 398 people per month take an action by viewing a typical restaurant’s GMB page. Increase your sales by ensuring your information is up-to-date while frequently adding photos and encouraging reviews.
  • Yelp: People turn to Yelp to read reviews and find places to eat. In addition to maintaining your business listing, you can increase your sales by responding to reviews and rewarding customers with a special offer when they register with Yelp.
  • Facebook: It’s hard to increase organic reach on Facebook, but that doesn’t mean you should give up. Instead, keep your business page updated, add a menu, respond to reviews, and develop a consistent posting schedule promoting high-profit items.
  • Instagram: As with Facebook, organic reach is difficult on Instagram. Still, people love food photos, especially when they’re hungry. Post high-quality images during lunchtime and between 7-9 p.m. to grab attention.

4. Put technology to work

According to the National Restaurant Association, “customers are most receptive to consumer-facing technologies such as drive-thru improvements, order accuracy tracking, and frictionless mobile ordering.”

Your restaurant software, when used correctly, can increase sales. A point-of-sale (POS) system offers reports highlighting peak hours, top-selling food and beverage products, and staff performance information. This data helps you design promotions and menus that give customers what they want while guaranteeing profits.

Plus, simple technology tools like digital in-store menu displays make it easy to upsell menu items in your restaurant. Sales development ideas, such as adding TVs with mouth-watering food images and limited-time specials, capture diners’ attention.

5. Use a multi-channel approach to loyalty marketing

Your restaurant customers appreciate rewards, especially those looking for added value. Using a loyalty program is one of the best ways to increase sales in a restaurant. Boost your loyalty subscriber list by:

  • Design loyalty campaigns throughout the year to increase registrations
  • Sharing testimonials and incentive screenshots on social networks
  • Sending promotional coupons to mobile phones via text messaging
  • Train customer-facing staff to raise awareness and get sign-ups
  • Added table tents displaying your loyalty program benefits
  • Encourage loyalty members to share promotions via email with friends and family

6. Develop reproducible systems

Consistency is crucial for your business. But maintaining consistent service and food is a common challenge for restaurant businesses. The best way to ensure customers can rely on your business to deliver great experiences every time is to develop systems.

Improve restaurant sales by standardizing your:

  • Training framework: While each member of the customer-facing team has their own personality, it’s important to create service standards and develop an ongoing training plan around those standards.
  • Monitoring program: Owners and management should communicate with guests after negative experiences or organized events. Design a timeline for follow-up, list outreach platforms, and track responses in your customer relationship management (CRM) system.
  • Revision strategy: Responding to reviews shows you care about customer service. Create a list of review channels, develop customizable response templates, and set a weekly reminder to check and respond to reviews.
  • Marketing of restaurants: You want people to know your brand, so it remains a priority. Drive awareness by developing brand guidelines that specify your colors, fonts, and tone.
  • Kitchen: When people know what to expect, your sales increase. Ensure consistency of experiences by controlling portion sizes and recipes. Additionally, encourage quality checks by staff and management.

7. Make your website stand out

Although websites are the norm for many businesses in the food and beverage industry, small businesses with strong local sales may not have spent the time and money building websites. of restaurants. However, the pandemic has highlighted the importance of a digital presence.

Put your site to work and start growing restaurant sales by designing a mobile-friendly website. Restaurant owners can:

  • Take advantage of website services provided by your point-of-sale system, such as a mojoPOS site
  • Use services like ChowNow, which provides an optimized site and online ordering capabilities
  • Increase your sales by using pop-ups and banners promoting your latest special dish
  • Add plugin like RestroPress to your WordPress site to accept online orders

RestroPress WordPress plugin showing restaurant order history.

Take control of your WordPress site using a plugin designed for restaurants. Image source: author


Meet and exceed customer expectations

There are hundreds of tactics you can use to increase your restaurant sales. But managing customer expectations and meeting them every time will yield high returns. Satisfied customers recommend your business, they spend more money and come back again and again.

Unfortunately, some restaurants fail because customers see no reason to choose your establishment over local competitors. Combat this by clearly defining what sets your restaurant apart and consistently meeting those expectations.

Create a plan to increase restaurant sales

Whether you’re diversifying your revenue streams or leveraging customer retention, strategies to increase restaurant sales must balance customer needs with your budget. A one-time marketing ploy won’t have the same lasting results as ongoing multi-channel efforts designed to drive sales and increase brand awareness.