5 Simple Strategies to Drive Revenue in Restaurants

Running a restaurant has always been your dream, but some days it’s less about showcasing your culinary creativity and more about keeping costs down and revenue up. Maybe you’re feeling the impact from increased competition, thanks to other restaurants along with food trucks, supermarket foodservice, meal-kit delivery and the next-big thing you can’t even fathom yet.

Or your financial stress is coming from rising food costs, location challenges, the tight labor market or trying to keep up with fleeting food trends.

We want to get you back to living the dream with some tips to drive up revenue in your restaurant. But first, let's break down restaurant revenue into its key components:

Number of customers  x  Number of items ordered  x  Price per item
= Total Revenue

These may seem obvious, but sometimes in your everyday hustle and bustle it’s easy to forget what makes you successful. You can drive incremental revenue by building strategies to increase each one of these, if not all of them, at the same time.

Let’s take a look at 5 easy-to-implement ways to make it happen:

1. Boost check size.

Training and incentivizing your staff to cross-sell menu items—especially higher-ticket items that also happen to be more profitable—is a quick way to see an uptick in sales. Make sure they are recommending appetizers, sides and desserts to go with entrées and raise the spend per customer. Your waitstaff should treat the cross-sell like a casual suggestion and not be pushy so guests do not feel annoyed when they spend more. Also, be sure to reward your best cross-sellers and ask them to train other staff.

2. Highlight high-priced menu items.

Now that you and your staff are cross-selling high-ticket dishes and drinks that are crowd-pleasers, make sure those items also sell themselves on your menu. Draw attention to them with boxes or other visual cues. Does its description set it apart from other things on the menu? It’s also a smart idea to ensure it’s easy for the kitchen to prepare these items quickly to guarantee a good all-around experience for your guests.

3. Offer more “specials.”

Increase the total spend per customer with special menus that focus on local or seasonal offerings from farmers or wholesale food suppliers, date nights around holidays or local festivals and restaurant weeks, or a fun theme night you invent. Create prix-fixe, four-course meals at slight discounts, knowing some customers would have only ordered one course at a much lower total bill.

4. Schedule a second happy hour.

Add a late-night happy hour if that’s a normally low-traffic time for your restaurant or consider doing an all-day happy hour on your slowest day of the week. The National Restaurant Association finds that more than half of consumers under age 35 make late-night restaurant visits several times a month. Also, 41 percent of adults younger than 35 say that late-night specials are an important factor in their decision to visit a restaurant.

5. Keep customers coming back with a loyalty program.

More than 80% of consumers say that loyalty programs make them more likely to continue patronizing a business, according to the 2017 Bond Brand Loyalty ReportGive customers a punch card to reward them for frequent visits (i.e., your 10th meal is free). Yes, you’re giving away free food but they will feel more appreciated—and return to your restaurant to spend more money.

Now are you ready to learn how to pair these revenue-raising tips with strategies that reduce costs? Check out “12 Innovative Ways to Increase Your Restaurant’s Profit Margin," including how FoodMaven, a new kind of distributor, can help you cut food costs as much as 50%.