It’s easy to fill up tables at your restaurant when you’re a James Beard-nominated chef like Mashama Bailey. But if you don’t have instant name cred and you’re a pedestrian restaurateur, how can you boost sales in an industry that already has notoriously slim profit margins?
Let’s take a look at some winning strategies….
Are you tracking all of your ad spending? Are there any advertisements you’re not seeing a return on your investment? If that’s the case, pull the plug on any negative-performing campaigns. If you have any marketing budget, try at least one new advertising source such as Nextdoor.com.
If you’re not familiar with Nextdoor, it’s like a Facebook for local communities. Residents post messages on Nextdoor asking for recommendations for babysitters, plumbers, dog walkers and the like. Set up your own personal profile, making sure to include your restaurant in your profile. Start interacting with members of the community. You can also try placing ads on Nextdoor. Track the performance of the ad by offering a special that’s only available if a customer mentions the Nextdoor coupon code.
You can also try other forms of local advertising on social media. Social ads allow you to target specific demographics, such as zip code, age, income, etc.
Test all forms of advertising and stick with what’s working. You may find that digital ads perform poorly while postcards are a robust revenue generator (or vice versa).
[Suggested Reading on our blog: How to Get New Customers to Try Your Restaurant]
Every restaurant should try to increase their cover average by offering irresistible appetizers. Many restaurants have the same apps year in and year out on the menu. While it might be a good idea to keep best-selling apps on the menu, try rotating other apps. Feature seasonal foods in your apps, such as butternut squash in fall. If you notice that sales of your apps are flatlining, it’s time to switch things up. (A best-in-class restaurant point of sale [POS] system can easily crunch the numbers for you.)
But that’s not the only app you should consider offering your customers. If you have a fast-casual dining establishment, you may want to consider having more robust order ahead technology such as the ability to order through a mobile app. The experience of ordering food should mirror everyday life. Consumers are busy and don’t want to wait for their food to be cooked.
Loyalty = Royalty
Does your server staff acknowledge frequent customers by greeting them with a friendly welcome such as “Great, to see you guys again … welcome back!” And take it a step further: can your staff greet frequent customers by name? And even though profit margins are slim in any restaurant, frequent customers should be treated to a free dessert every now and then. Are you giving the green light to servers to offer free dessert once in a while to loyal customers?
In addition to having your staff going out of the way to make frequent customers feel welcome, are your loyal customers being rewarded in other ways? Do you have a rewards/points program? Does your POS system have a loyalty app that enables guests to scan a barcode on their printed receipt and earn loyalty points?
Increase Table Turnover with Tablets
Rare is the person who has never experienced waiting a long time for a server to take a drink order. Imagine how much quicker your restaurant’s turnover would be, especially during busy times if you invested in tablet ordering. Instead of sitting for 10 minutes waiting for the server, your customers can at least order their drinks and apps on the tablet. In addition, tablets allow for greater table turnover by allowing customers to pay for the tab rather than waiting for the check.
Want your restaurant to increase profitability and efficiency? Contact us today for a point of sale (POS) demo.