Nowadays, the restaurant business is no longer just about running a simple cafe and earning money. With time, things have changed, demands have changed, and the biggest of all, expectations have changed.
People eat in or order food online, and going to a restaurant to eat lunch or dinner is more about luxury than a requirement.
With the advancement of technology, the restaurant business has a taken huge hit with huge competitions, not only from restaurants in the surrounding areas but also from online offers and sales.
While the above sounds a curse to the simple food business, it is also a boon as it has now opened new opportunities for you to increase restaurant sales, and also tap into a market which until recently was not even considered as a segment of customers.
Here are nine tried and tested ways to increase restaurant sales:
1) Offer Online Ordering
As I mentioned above, the food business has changed drastically in the last couple of years with people preferring to eat ‘fancy food’ at home than going out.
With the arrival of food service apps such as Swiggy, Zomato, and FoodPanda, ordering food at home has become even more simple and as a business, you need to be on this online list or lose out on a huge chunk of customers.
Further, when you offer online ordering, you also clear up the lines at your restaurant doors as the guests won’t be forced to wait around just to be served. This will allow your kitchen staff to complete more orders in less time.
What’s more, you get on an average 10% and 30% more sales with online orders, and 95% of those people who order from a restaurant online return to that restaurant again later on and thus you build customer loyalty.
2) Millennial Customers
Remember, a major chunk of your customers are millennials and there are studies that have indicated that millennials are loyal but don’t care about loyalty programs as long as they are getting a frictionless experience.
This is also the group that has not seen an era where there was no smartphone or internet. They have grown up with online shopping and everything being available at a click of a button.
The millennials thus think that the whole world works like that and if it doesn’t, it is outdated.
Thus it is important to have your presence everywhere be it in real life or online, or on the App because you are “outdated” if you don’t.
3) Social Media Presence
As mentioned in the previous point, you need to exist in every space and a strong social media presence is crucial to that.
Please note that when I say social media presence, I don’t just mean a Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. page for your restaurant but also a strong social media presence of your employees and your customers or influencers.
These days treating employees well is as important as providing good food. You need to thus highlight your employees more and show it to the world when they shine.
So don’t forget to post those employees-of-the-month posts on social media and promote your employees when they get a promotion, graduate from college, or do something that you are proud of.
This will not only help you build a strong relationship with your employee but also make your audience feel like a part of the family.
These employees also promote your company in their social group and when you share their achievements, they share yours and act as huge influencers.
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4) Stay Updated with Technology
Technology is ever changing and just like trends updates every few years if not months. It is thus really important to stay on top of things especially when it comes to technology.
Things change in a matter of minutes and the restaurant business is not any different. What was considered “new” a few years back is already a “must have” now and how people ordered food earlier is already outdated.
These days you not only need to have wi-fi in the restaurant for your customers but also have a line of delivery boys near you so they can take food as soon as they can.
Online payment is not an option you can’t have and payment via cash is an option which is slowly declining.
Thus, you need to stay on top of things and technology and read the change before it starts off you will lose a huge edge over your customers.
5) Run coworking at your cafes
With more orders online and comparatively fewer people in your restaurant, offering coworking facilities at your cafe is a huge way to increase restaurant sales and build loyal customers.
Many of these places not only offer Free WiFi and other coworking benefits but also gives free tea and coffee to people who work out of there.
Offering such coworking space to young entrepreneur and freelancers creates loyalty and brings your cafe regular customers.
These people further recommend your name to others and help bring you more customers and when talking to business clients have a semi-formal place where they can bring them.
This gives your restaurant a customer that comes daily, stays there for hours, brings other customers and most definitely order food from your place while he/she is working there.
What’s more, even if these coworkers just sit and work out of your cafe, you relatively empty real estate generates revenue plus creates a positive and busy image for your food business.
Want to run coworking at your cafe/lounge? Connect with myHQ here.
6) Influencer marketing
As I mentioned earlier, social media presence is no longer the best or only way to have an online presence and you need to be on top of the technology game to bring in more customers.
The best way to increase restaurant sales is by Influencer marketing or getting known people to promote or influence your market audience.
When I say this, I don’t mean by advertising via TV, Radio or online Ads but promoting via local celebrities.
These local celebs can be anyone who is known in your area, people with large blogs and/or social media followings (“influencers”), or local sports person or actor who just posts a picture of a food item from your restaurant and boasting about it on Twitter or Instagram.
This is a modern form of word of mouth marketing which gets you, local customers.
So reach out to the top food bloggers in your city and invite them for a special menu item. Let them know you’re interested in being featured on their blog or social sites if they like you and give them the best of the best food and experience that they can get.
Such positive reviews and promotions work wonders for many restaurants and their social image.
7) Hold special events
While it’s important to stay on top things with regards to technology, it is also important not to forget the old successful skill of meeting people personally, especially when it comes to the food business.
To increase restaurant sales, along with your online customers, you also need to think of your customers who are regularly visiting you.
Even people who come to use your coworking space benefit need a break from work and hosting regular events helps in this.
You can thus hold plenty of events on a monthly or bi-weekly basis and give your regular and new customers something to look forward to.
These “special events” can be organized without putting stress on your finances or confusing your staff.
Simple themes like games night or celebrating friends or siblings love/rivalry can be organized where they can not only celebrate the event but also get deals for bringing their sibling or friends.
Further, good old half-price Tuesday and Happy Hours has always worked to attract customers and can run on a weekly basis.
8) Increase prices but ever so slightly
You need to remember that you are a business and to stay at the top of your game, you need to keep in pace with the growing prices while maintaining profits.
In the food business, the ever-changing cost of food items and taxes doesn’t help and rather you end up paying the brunt of it when the prices and taxes have gone up but your sales have not.
Thus it’s advisable that you keep up with the market rates and slowly increase prices on a regular basis. You should do so in a manner that doesn’t create sticker shock for your customers and they don’t leave because of it.
The ultimate goal in this is to find an optimal balance as you progress so you can continue to run a healthy operation while creating minimal friction for your customers.
9) Construct Your Menu Carefully
Last but not least is to create your Menu carefully and have something as your USP.
Every customer of yours needs something memorable to remember you by and thus menu can play a huge role in.
It’s important to think of your pricing model carefully and offer something same yet different that the customer wants to buy them despite having tasted before.
So start with menu engineering and also creativity. Offer the same food differently and creatively, be it on menu creativity, plate or cooking, offer something which is different and thus tempts your consumers to buy and remember you by.
These small things will not only be loved by your consumers but they will also make them more people to you and thus in the process increase restaurant sales.
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