The food industry has grown significantly in the last decade. Since millennials have more purchasing power, the demand for a variety of cuisines sprung up. However, this means that competition has become equally fierce.
If one Chinese restaurant in the area isn’t good, people will simply go to another one. That is why, as a business, you need to know what drives sales upward. Here are the 7 best tips on how to increase restaurant sales.
#1. Mobile-friendly websites
Source: Google Spider
If somebody is considering takeout food for the night, they aren’t going to use their desktops. They’ll simply search for the best cuisine in the area or look up a restaurant’s number on their smartphones. Why? Because a mobile device is much more convenient and faster and here are the statistics to prove it:
If your business has a site that is not mobile-friendly, users will simply abandon it. Around half your visitors will abandon your site if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load! Here are a few very important measures you should take to ensure that your website is mobile-friendly:
- Create a new mobile website instead of making changes to your desktop website
- Add a responsive touch feature
- Add a click-to-call button so that users can place orders easily
- Link your website to other apps such as maps so that users can view your restaurant’s location
- Make sure the functionality of your website is optimised for mobile i.e. readability on a small screen, zoom and easy navigation
If you fail to provide your customers with a good website experience, many of them will switch to other restaurants that provide them with more convenience. Click here to find the Top 10 web design companies in the US.
#2. List your restaurant on a food app
A big part of successfully increasing sales of a restaurant involves attracting new customers. And what better way to do that than through a food app?
Since there are so many food apps now, not all businesses can afford to sign up with each one. If you have a small business, conduct research on the apps that your customers most frequently use. Sign up with the Top 3 apps in your area and you’re good to go! GrubHub and Uber Eats fall in the category of the best food apps trending across the US.
You might also want to sign up with apps like Yelp and Foursquare. These apps are popular among users who are looking up restaurant reviews. Your goal should be to create an online presence and gain positive reviews so that potential customers are willing to try your brand.
#3. Retain loyal customers
Remember, your loyal customers are the ones bringing in 80% of the profit. Don’t take them for granted. To retain them, here is what you need to do:
- Engage with them
Customers will go back to a place where they feel appreciated and valued. Train your employees in such a way that they greet loyal customers. Recognise the customers who bring in revenue for your business and ask them if they would like to order their regular food item (this is commonly used for bars and coffee shops) or recommend new dishes that you think they would like to try.
Of course, it may not be possible for employees to remember such nitty-gritty details about customers, which is why you can set up a database through which they can access this information.
- Loyalty programs
The best way to make a customer feel valued is through loyalty programs. Instead of creating loyalty cards that customers can swipe to get discounts, use digital loyalty cards. Incorporating technology into your purchasing process will create convenience for your customers, thus improving customer loyalty.
Source: Stamp Me
With a digital loyalty card, customers can simply use their smartphone to add points to their card or avail discounts. They will not be tied to keeping track of their loyalty card which can be a real pain in case they don’t have their wallet on them.
Customers will not only look forward to the discounts they are being provided but also appreciate the ease of use that the restaurant is providing them.
#4. Provide in-store convenience
No one likes to wait in queues when a restaurant promotion is available. That, along with multiple other reasons, led to the introduction of self-serve through kiosks. With kiosks, customers no longer have to interact with employees (which is great for introverts). Moreover, if it’s a busy day at the restaurant, customers are likely to avoid a long line if they want to order. This might be the very reason they choose your restaurant on busy holidays.
From a restaurant’s point of view, reliance on employees is greatly reduced. You don’t need to panic or call in substitute employee in case a regular doesn’t show up. Simultaneously, payroll will also decrease; thus leading to greater profits. All the major food chains including McDonalds, KFC and Subway have introduced the concept of self-serve:
- Extended hours
Some restaurants have specific lunch and dinner hours. Unfortunately, this can be a nuisance for customers who have odd working hours or do not have time to visit the restaurant in the given hours. Similarly, some restaurants close down early for their convenience.
Weigh the pros and cons of keeping your restaurant open for extended hours. Longer employee hours mean higher payrolls, as well as overhead costs, but it also brings in a higher influx of customers. Test whether the profit that extended hours are bringing in are more than the costs of keeping your restaurant open.
- Offer home delivery for broader geographical regions
I absolutely hate it when a restaurant tells me they cannot deliver to my area. Customers may even be willing to pay extra delivery charges if it means getting food from their favourite restaurant.
If it’s too difficult for your business to deliver to faraway locations, you can always partner with apps like Seamless and Delivery.com. This way, your business will be applauded for providing customers with the convenience of delivering food to their area.
Source: The News Region
#5. Use upselling techniques
This is all part of employee training. You will have to rely on your best employees to sell more food items to your customers. The concept of upselling is when waiters successfully convince customers to upgrade their current purchase option. Some effective upselling techniques include:
- Selling an entree or drink
When customers are seated, they might ask for a water bottle. Describe to them your range of drinks or mocktails so that they may be enticed to buy one. However, don’t be too pushy. With the right type of convincing, you could end up selling an expensive drink instead of a water bottle.
- Help them make choices
You need to be careful about this. Some restaurants just advertise their most expensive dishes as their best to make maximum money. However, it is a risk as many customers may not end up liking the taste of the dish. Ask your customers which category they would like to choose from, whether they prefer spicy or mild flavours and then suggest dishes that they should eat. An honest opinion will make your customers trust you more, thus upgrade their order.
If you see that your customers are pleased with their food, advise them to try a good dessert. Pictures and videos can help you in this case. Some desserts look very tempting and, as some would say, ‘Instagrammable’. Millennials love to spend money on presentation and are likely to try desserts that look creative.
#6. Maximise table turnover
As the name suggests, this technique is used to generate the maximum amount of sales by using table seating effectively. You can do that by:
- Keeping your serving staff on schedule
Hire enough staff to promptly serve your customers. You can’t control how long they will dine in, but you can speed up the process. Make sure drinks are served before or with the meal. Send the bill as soon as the plates are removed from the table and send the change back promptly. A speedy service will not only lead to happy customers but it will also lead to lesser waiting time for the next customers.
- Adapting to technology
Use Point of Sale mobile systems. This way, waiters do not have to run back and forth to cashier registers in order to bill the customer. Moreover, this also allows billing to take place directly in front of the customer; thus, putting them at ease. A good POS system that you can use is SquarePOS, as it offers additional features such as credit card processing.
- Setting the right environment
Some restaurants are fashioned in a way that makes customers want to stay there all day. While your ambience should be inviting, make sure your customers do not hog tables that could be put to better use by seating new customers.
- Having an organised seating system
If customers show up without a booking, try to seat smaller parties at a table with less capacity. This way, you can save seating space for other parties.
Furthermore, make sure you set tables in such a way that you make maximum use of seating space. You don’t want to make your restaurant look stuffy, but you also don’t want to waste space that could have been used for an extra table.
#7. Leverage the power of social media
The restaurant industry is one that can use social media to its advantage the most. Some of the best restaurants gained fame with the help of social media and that’s a fact! According to Restaurant Dive, 45% of consumers have tried a brand due to social media. Here is how you can use social media effectively:
- Photos and videos
Ever heard of Nusrat Gokce? Famously known as Salt Bae, he is a Turkish chef and the owner of a steak house called Nusr-et. After one of his videos went viral with 15 million views, even A-list stars like Ben Affleck and Rihanna began to appreciate him. The restaurant owner is now expanding his business to London. Here is the Instagram video that brought him his fame:
- Interact with customers online
Wendy’s sets a beautiful example for others to follow. It hired customer representatives to interact with customers via online comments to show them that the business genuinely cared. Here’s proof:
Source: Robben Media
While Wendy’s does not fall in the food industry, it is an example for restaurants to learn from. By interacting with their customers one-on-one, they will feel like the business truly values them and thus, forgive any mistakes that the business may have made and become loyal customers of the brand.
I hope you learned and received valuable information on how to increase restaurant sales, because sometimes, it’s all the little things that make a difference. Creating an emotional connection with customers and staying committed to providing them with the best service will lead you to success in the long run.