Keeping your restaurant business up and running amidst the fierce competition and rapidly changing trends can be challenging. Seasonality, the economy, and even trends, so many factors come into play for people to continuously choose your restaurant. But one thing is constant for restaurateurs: no matter how much you sell, there is always something you can do to level up the way you run your restaurant business to increase sales and improve overall customer satisfaction.
Long gone are those days when people thought that the only way to increase restaurant sales is by paying for advertisements. Even though it can make your brand be known, it is costly, and there is no guarantee that it will help you succeed.
In this article, we will walk you through some modern and practical things you can do to spice up the way you run your restaurant business today.
1) Offer a diversity of services
Competition is tight in the restaurant scene, and diners never run out of options when choosing where they can eat. So, in order to increase your restaurant’s sales, you’ll have to make it easier for your customers to choose you over a competitor.
If you offer online ordering, you clear up your phones and the lines out your door, and your guests will be happy not to wait around just to be served. This allows your kitchen and staff to accomplish more orders in less time. This feature also betters your online presence making you more discoverable and have a wider market reach. Besides, Restrictions on restaurants due to the coronavirus pandemic are limiting dine-in services in many places. With online services, your customers will be able to order right from their computers or smartphones.
Your guests want a convenient dining experience, not a complicated one. Make it easy for them and increase your sales at the same time by offering online ordering in your restaurant.
Other services you can try to diversify your services for your customers’ convenience would be offering delivery services and optimizing your drive-thru window. In implementing delivery services, you don't need your delivery team thanks to the availability of reliable third-party delivery services like Grubhub and Postmates. When your customers can't come to you, you amp it up by bringing your services right at their doorstep.
2) Work on your online presence
It’s no secret that more and more people have access to the web, especially on their mobile devices. Thanks to great free platforms for promotion and marketing such as social media, you can connect with your customers and increase your audience reach without taking much time out of your day. By leaving a comment on your fans’ posts, sharing photos of your food and staff, engaging with your loyal customers, and putting out exclusive offers for your followers, you create a community for your business that can grow far beyond your physical location.
Social media helps increase awareness of your business in a world bombarded with countless restaurant choices and thus can help you improve your restaurant sales. It’s also a perfect way to connect with your community and humanize your brand.
You can also increase your online presence by optimizing your website for phones and tablets. No matter how much time you put into your business’s website, most of your customers will scoot right out of your page if it’s not optimized for phones and tablets. Make sure your website looks great and is viewed well on tablets, phones, and desktops alike.
Let’s say you still don't have the fun to build a website for your restaurant, the next best thing you can do to help customers find your business is to create a Google My Business (GMB) listing with your address, hours of operation, phone number, and pictures of your location. GMB listings also allow your customers to share their thoughts about your restaurant and post photos of your food dishes online to be seen by others curious about your business.
3) Craft a Great Loyalty Program and other Customer Retention Strategies
It costs much less time, money, and effort to increase restaurant sales if you focus on your existing customers rather than trying to acquire new ones. Investing in a customer retention program is a great first place to start increasing your sales, and a loyalty program can help you do just that.
Word of mouth is one of the best ways any business will gain traction. People generally don’t trust paid ads, but they do trust their friend’s recommendation of a favorite place to eat. A good loyalty program increases customers, as those looking for somewhere to eat are more likely to bring along coworkers, friends, or family to your restaurant.
There are a lot of ways you can set up your loyalty program, but one of the most common is to create a point system that can track each time a customer visits your restaurant and makes a purchase, so they can work towards earning a free item of their choosing or an incentive. Offering free drinks and desserts is often a good choice because they’re less expensive than an entree, but they will still make your guests feel appreciated. A good POS system can help you set up a system that tracks points and keeps a record of details of your loyal customers.
4) Utilize Restaurant Technology
Bulky computers and outdated cash registers can create long queues and jam up your lines, manually handwritten orders are often prone to mistakes or misunderstandings from your kitchen team, and dated technology is dated for a reason. The last thing you want is to have a customer completely scratch your business of their choices of places to eat because of your slow and inefficient service. We’re telling you, just having good food is not going to save you.
Without a reliable POS system and the corresponding features that integrate with your system seamlessly, your restaurant’s efficiency is at risk of stalling, thus limiting the amount of sales you can process in a given time.
Bring in a modern POS with a reporting feature so that you can streamline your operations and access all the data you need to know how to increase your restaurant’s sales. A good POS usually has kitchen display and customer display services to instantly bring in orders of your customers straight to the kitchen. Most POS also integrates well with other business tools so you can maximize your work using these technology such as accepting payments both on the physical and online setup. A great feature of POS that your restaurant can use is inventory management so you can keep track of your supplies and materials to accomplish the things on your menu.
5) Increase the Speed of your service with POS
The more food you sell, the more money you make, and the obvious way to sell more food is to serve more people. This is where table turnover comes into play. So why not provide your staff with the tools they need to increase the speed and efficiency of service? Use technology to your advantage. The best restaurants will use POS systems to eliminate the need for servers to scurry back and forth to the register to process payments and credit cards.
For example, a mobile point of sale (POS) device gives servers the ability to send orders directly from the POS to the kitchen. Also, you can hand your customers tablets with POS systems so they can now key in their orders that will go straight to the kitchen and register. This way, your servers don’t have to manually takedown orders with a pen and paper and race to and from a stationary terminal often jampacked by other servers.
POS systems also have a feature that tracks the performance and schedule of your staff so you will know who is working and if your employees efficiently cover all guests in your dining rooms. Keep your serving staff on schedule. Ensure that your restaurant has enough employees to cover all the guests in your dining room and train your staff to take drink orders in a timely manner and promptly bring out the check at the end of the meal.
Any customer that has chosen your restaurant to dine has expectations of great food and excellent service and failing to deliver both can cause your restaurant business to suffer tremendously. If your customer is happy and satisfied with your restaurant service, they are likely to talk about their experience with others and are also likely to return. Having happy customers starts with having great customer service, and having great customer service can start with these 5 Quick Tips we shared in this article.
We hope this article has given you an idea of how to improve your restaurant service and provide an exceptional customer experience.
Edited by Chooli