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Hungry for More Sales? 20 Simple Tricks to Fatten Up Your Restaurant’s Profits

Reading Time: 5 minutes

As research from Cornell University indicates, financial strain is one of the primary causes for restaurants going under, making increased revenue critical for running a successful dining establishment. However, driving sales has become more challenging than ever for the food service industry following the COVID-19 pandemic.

Fortunately, there are several things you can do to bolster takings at your restaurant: 1) attract new fans, 2) encourage existing customers to visit more frequently, and 3) persuade diners to spend more per visit. We’re sharing 20 of the top techniques for boosting restaurant sales, organised into those three key categories.

How to increase restaurant sales by reaching new customers

Here are several ideas to drive restaurant sales that involve spreading the word about your business to new patrons.

  1. Host a grand opening event to boost sales

If you’re launching a new restaurant, you need to announce it with a splash. Organise a grand opening event where you serve highlights from your menu.

Promote your grand opening on social media to reach potential guests, and invite journalists and influencers to generate buzz before, during and after the event.

In exchange for free entry, ask attendees to register for the event online. This way you’ll have their contact details in your customer relationship management (CRM) software and send them targeted marketing to entice them back.

  1. Establish and optimise a social media presence

It’s just as important to connect with guests online as in person. Create social media accounts for your restaurant on the most relevant channels: Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. If you’re feeling creative, you could even experiment with TikTok.

Optimise your presence by linking to your direct reservations and online ordering landing pages in the bio or about section. Post consistently, with high-quality photos, to keep your restaurant top of mind.

  1. Focus on SEO to increase restaurant sales

Search engine optimisation (SEO) can help your restaurant’s website appear at the top of search results for its name and related keywords.

Ranking for unbranded keywords is just as important as ranking for your restaurant’s name. If, for example, you run an organic wine bar in London, and its website appears at the top when someone searches “organic wine bars London,” that’s exposing your business to new guests.

While paying for Google Ads is one way to see your restaurant at the top of the results, this can be expensive and stops working when you stop paying. Instead, focus on organic and local SEO, which involves creating website content using the keywords you want to rank for in a useful way and optimising your Google Business Profile.

  1. Optimise your Google Business Profile

Research shows that 33% of diners discover and book restaurants through Google. By making the most of your restaurant’s Google Business Profile, you can drive guests searching for places like yours to make a reservation, join your waitlist, or place an online order.

Google automatically adds third-party delivery and reservation platform links to your listing. After claiming it, you can add links to your direct ordering and reservations platforms, designating your preferred links to help you save on third-party commissions.

Add photos, menu links, and tags to make it easy for guests to discover and choose your restaurant over others.

  1. Meet guests where they are

Using delivery and reservation marketplaces that your potential customers already use can help expose your restaurant to new clientele. Just be aware that many third-party platforms charge commissions, advertise your restaurant alongside competitors, and don’t let you access customer data.

To mitigate these issues, convert third-party guests into direct customers. Create inserts for delivery orders with discount codes for their first order through your direct platform. For third-party dine-in guests, create a check insert offering a discount on their next meal if they sign up for your newsletter. Then, email guests explaining the benefits of booking directly going forward.

  1. Run digital ads to increase profits

Use social media ads and Google Ads to reach new customers online. On Facebook and Instagram, target people living and working near your restaurant whose demographics match your existing customers.

Use Google Ads to reach potential customers searching for keywords related to your restaurant. For example, if you run a pizza place in Manchester, you could buy ads for “best pizza Manchester,” “Manchester pizza” or “pizza restaurant Manchester.”

  1. Run traditional ads

You can also create and run traditional advertisements like TV commercials, radio ads and magazine/newspaper ads. Traditional advertising tends to be more expensive than digital but can help you reach a wide audience.

How to increase restaurant sales by attracting repeat business

Follow these tips to boost restaurant sales by influencing existing customers to visit more often.

  1. Send guests targeted offers

Marketing to existing customers is straightforward with marketing automation software. Software like SevenRooms can send targeted offers – like a “we miss you” message inviting guests to make a reservation – via email or SMS to customers who have already dined with you.

  1. Cross-promote internally to increase sales

Drive repeat business by cross-selling delivery to your dine-in guests and booking a table for your delivery diners.

Encourage guests who always dine at your restaurant to order online by offering them a promo code for their first order. Set up an automated email campaign to handle this.

Motivate takeaway and delivery customers to make reservations by offering them upgrades via email, like a free glass of bubbly on arrival, when they join you in person.

  1. Introduce online ordering

If you haven’t already, add an online ordering revenue stream. However, don’t rely solely on third-party delivery platforms, as they take steep commissions and don’t let you access customer data.

With commission-free, direct online ordering, you can avoid per-order fees, never miss phone orders and generate revenue from customers even when they don’t dine in.

  1. Implement a loyalty programme to increase revenue

Implement a loyalty programme letting customers accumulate points for on-site and online orders, redeemable for free food, exclusive experiences and more.

How to boost restaurant sales by influencing customers to spend more

Follow these creative ideas to increase restaurant sales by convincing diners to spend more per visit and order.

  1. Sell reservation upgrades

Let guests pre-purchase birthday cakes, arrival champagne toasts, table flowers and more through prepaid reservation upgrades. With SevenRooms, you can collect payment upfront, secure extra revenue, and seamlessly build these upgrades into the booking experience so guests won’t feel upsold.

  1. Add special experiences to increase sales

Push past traditional dining boundaries by offering guests unmissable, unforgettable experiences. Organise special occasions, like chef’s tables, packages with kitchen tours, dining with live jazz and more, available at a premium. Use your restaurant management software to easily sell and manage these unique experiences.

  1. Offer prix fixe menus

Sell multiple courses as a prix fixe menu to encourage customers to spend more. Offer them year-round or for special occasions like Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day.

  1. Create takeaway bundles

Create the takeaway version of a prix fixe with takeaway bundles for online ordering customers. Offer multi-course bundles for takeaway and delivery, or large-format family-style mains you can charge more for.

  1. Make it bottomless to increase revenue

Offer bottomless or endless options – like bottomless coffee or mimosas, or endless chips or bread – to let guests upgrade their meals. You can charge a premium, but guests will feel they’re getting great value, even if they don’t consume as much as expected.

  1. Upsell add-ons

Boost incremental revenue by upselling add-ons to dine-in and online orders.

Train your front-of-house staff to recommend drinks, starters, desserts and side dishes. At quick-service restaurants, upselling could mean asking guests if they want to upsize their drink.

For takeaway and delivery orders, configure your online ordering platform to suggest add-ons complementing items in the basket.

  1. Cross-promote your full portfolio

If you run multiple restaurants, ensure guests know about every venue in your portfolio so that you can be part of more of their dining-out or ordering-in occasions. Create an automated marketing campaign letting guests know where else they can enjoy your restaurant group’s hospitality, incentivising them to book tables or place orders.

  1. Make personalised recommendations to increase profits

When you know your guests and their order history, you can make personalised recommendations that drive profits.

Let’s say you have a guest who always orders a £60 bottle of wine. Knowing this, your staff can start recommendations at that price level and go up.

Use your CRM to track guest data and leverage it to your advantage.

  1. Sell merchandise

Our final tip for boosting restaurant sales is to sell merch. Create merchandise featuring your restaurant’s branding – t-shirts, water bottles, aprons, cookbooks and even canned versions of your signature sauce; the possibilities are endless. Sell merchandise at your restaurant and online as an add-on to a

If all of this seems a lot to get to grips with, why not let Run, London’s fastest-growing restaurant marketing agency do the heavy lifting?