The Best Ways to Increase Sales in a Restaurant

Revel Blog | Revel Systems | June 22, 2021 |


13 Ways to Increase Your Restaurant Sales

The restaurant business is notoriously cut-throat, with entrepreneurs working long hours for years before ever turning a profit. Maintaining a restaurant in the face of ever-changing trends is a challenge, as is retaining customers vs. finding new customers. With that in mind, let’s examine how to increase restaurant sales. 

There are many ways to increase sales in a restaurant. Regardless of the cuisine you create or the community you serve, you have various options at your disposal to increase restaurant revenue. It all starts with a plan. You need to take actionable steps to build your brand and deliver a consistently memorable customer experience every time.

Here are 13 ways to increase restaurant sales.

1. Think Profit, Not Sales

Restauranteurs often focus on the number of sales they’ve made each day, week, and month. However, just because you’ve made a lot of sales doesn’t necessarily translate to big profits.

One customer may spend $100 dollars, whereas another could have spent just $30 dollars. Sales are only meaningful when they deliver a profit. Discovering the margins earned from each customer is key to planning for the future.

With a state-of-the-art point of sale (POS) platform, you gain access to this level of detail. By looking at the numbers, you can figure out which dishes generate the most profit, which staff is making you the most money, and when you’re making the most significant profits.

2. Upselling Your Customers

Wondering how to increase restaurant sales without advertising? One of the easiest ways to do this is by upselling your existing customers. Your POS can show staff how to upsell. It could involve pushing extra side dishes, drinks, or desserts. By looking at the data, you know which items are going to push up your bottom line.

Once you have enough data, you can test the waters by creating special deals and other promotions.

3. Diversify Your Services

The COVID-19 pandemic hit restaurants hard, as many were forced to close their doors or severely reduce capacity. These trying times also altered consumer behaviors, with many choosing to opt for curbside pickup.

Adapt and evolve your restaurant by diversifying your services. For example, add curbside pickup, consider adding delivery services, or even opening up a drive-thru window. Taking advantage of changes in consumer behavior now can add to your bottom line later.

4. Attract New Customers with Specials

As part of any action plan to increase sales in a restaurant, you need to attract new customers and begin building those relationships. An awful restaurant experience is second only to a forgettable one.

Consider attracting new customers with specials designed just for them. For example, give new customers a small appetizer or a free drink. Unique gifts for first-time customers can also attract new clientele, even if they wouldn’t ordinarily consider your establishment.

5. Retain Existing Customers

Like most businesses, restaurants rely on their regulars. Whether they come in once a month or more, your regulars will keep you afloat during difficult times.

Here are some restaurant sales building ideas aimed at retaining existing customers:

  • Create a customer loyalty card program.
  • Organize events, whether it’s a live music night or a quiz in the restaurant bar.
  • Get involved in the community. Customers are increasingly drawn towards businesses that give back.

Your POS can track regular customers and build up a profile on them, particularly if they provide their details by enrolling in a loyalty card program. You’ll be able to extract vital insights from your regulars, which can help you to refine your menu and decide on future changes.

6. Increase Table Turnover

Table turnover is a measure of how often your tables are busy during a specific period. Simply divide the number of parties by the number of tables to get the table turnover rate.

The industry standard for table turnover is 45 minutes. Train your servers to enhance the table turnover rate by following these tips:

  • Serve customers faster. A lot of time is lost to waiting.
  • Present the bill quickly. Customers wait for an average of 12 minutes between asking for the bill and leaving the restaurant.
  • Consolidate table visits rather than making multiple trips.
  • Ensure your servers work as a team to maximize efficiency.
  • Maintain a simple menu to quicken average ordering times.

Table turnover can be tracked with Revel's restaurant POS system. Over time, you’ll be able to figure out where the bottlenecks in your system are and the impact of any new changes.

7. Train Your Staff in Temptation

One of the most accessible options for how to increase restaurant business is to train your servers to tempt without pushing. Too many restaurant staff become pushy when trying to sell menu items with higher margins. Instead, train your staff to tempt your customers.

Have them memorize at least three descriptions of high-margin items, such as appetizers and drinks. Describing such items as recommendations makes it more likely that customers will add them to their orders.

8. Prep Ahead of Time

You know that the key to upping your table turnover rate is faster service. The sooner your guests eat, the sooner they’ll pay the bill and open up the table for others. A key aspect for how to improve restaurant business is prepping ahead of time without sacrificing quality. Certain food items can be prepped without reducing freshness, flavor, and taste.

Pinpoint the most popular items on your menu by digging into the data provided by your POS. Then, consider how making these food items and drinks can be accelerated for faster service. Not only will you increase your bottom line, but you’ll impress your guests with the speed of your service.

9. Treat Guests Like Rockstars

What works at fast food restaurants won’t work in a sit down restaurant. To increase customer retention rates, you need to treat your guests like they are personal friends.

There are plenty of touch points that can be tracked and used to personalize the experience on future visits, such as:

  • The name supplied when booking a table.
  • Recommendations based on their previous orders.
  • Their payment preferences.

The right POS can track all these things and enable your staff to offer a unique, memorable restaurant experience every time.

When done correctly, this can elevate repeat business and allow your restaurant to rely on a growing pool of regulars.

10. Encourage More Business During Quieter Periods

In an ideal world, your restaurant would be full from the moment it opens to the moment it closes. Unfortunately, in the real world, figuring out how to improve restaurant sales during quieter periods is challenging. Too many restaurateurs focus entirely on the busy dinner periods without thinking about the rest of the day.

Come up with ways to attract clientele outside of your high-traffic periods. For example, if your restaurant is downtown, why not offer special deals on business lunches? Special discounts and happy hours outside of in-demand hours can add an extra chunk of change to your cash register.

11. Harvest the Power of Social Media

Opening the doors of a restaurant and expecting people to find you is not enough. You need to advertise your business. Social media can be one of the most powerful marketing avenues.

Posting high-quality, professional pictures of your meals, dining area, and staff is a great way to engage. You could also put up special offers with promo codes found only on Facebook or Instagram to tempt people into giving you a try.

Some other online strategies for promoting your business include:

  • Ensure your business is on Google with correct phone numbers, addresses, and opening times.
  • Take part in Restaurant Week if your town has one.
  • Network with other restaurants and become a mainstay in the community.

Finally, you may want to consider trying out paid social media advertising. While this is more in-depth and requires a certain level of expertise, this can be an extremely effective method of spreading the word about your brand.

12. Communicate with Your Employees

The key to how to increase restaurant sales is to communicate with your employees. They are the people interacting with your customers, so their firsthand knowledge is vital to boosting sales.

Whenever implementing a new change, explain to your employees why and how they can help. Your employees are your most important piece of technology. After all, they do the upselling and ensure quick and efficient service for your customers. Communication and establishing the leaders in your business will ultimately help your ship to sail smoothly.

13. Manage Pricing Carefully

If your restaurant is constantly full and receiving positive feedback, it may be time to raise your prices. However, raising prices is difficult because you may drive customers away. You also need to be mindful of raising prices in congruence with rising costs of operations. 

This is why you need to train your customers to expect infrequent price rises. If you raise your prices once or twice a year, be consistent with your increases. Doubling your prices from one day to the next is jarring and will put customers off. On the other hand, raising them by five percent every six months is less troublesome and won’t bother the majority of your regulars.

There are no hard and fast rules on this subject. Best practice is to raise prices gradually and never by too much.

Take Advantage of Your POS for Increase Restaurant sales

Knowing how to increase restaurant sales is complicated because this is such a competitive industry.

Central to determining the correct course of action is a cutting-edge POS platform. Revel's cloud-based POS platform can help you track your sales, monitor customer preferences, and gain valuable insights into the inner workings of your business.

If you want to learn more about restaurant point of sale platforms and how they can help you, don't hesitate to schedule a free demo with Revel today.