8 Profit-Boosting Ideas for Your Restaurant

By Business.com Editorial Staff

Recent studies by the National Restaurant Association showed that wholesale food costs fluctuated wildly from month to month. However, a forecast by the United States Department of Agriculture showed a steady deflation in food costs. As a restaurant owner, though, you must remain vigilant by staying on top of your costs versus profit. You can explore many revenue-boosting avenues to increase your bottom line.

Promote Every Day

If you’re going to get involved in the world of social media – and you should – you need to be active. Regular updates to your Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram pages are important to keeping your restaurant’s name, food and image high in cutomers’ timelines and reminding them of your delicious food. Interacting with your customers is important, too, because there’s nothing more endearing than a corporate entity that has a sense of humor, responds to feedback and gets involved in the conversation.

Servers are Salespeople

Remind your staff that they are first and foremost in the business of sales. Whether you’re addressing bartenders, hosts or servers, the message is the same: sell, sell, sell. The best way to bump a ticket up is to upsell a customer an appetizer, drink or dessert. The best way to make sure your staff can sell those items is for them to know the menu. Make sure they taste all the food so they can accurately describe the food to customers looking for suggestions.

Manipulate Your Menu

A big part of your day-to-day job as a restaurateur is studying the profit-and-loss reports, evaluating costs, and training and motivating staff. You should also look at which menu items are bestsellers and which aren’t faring as well. Rearrange and eliminate where you need to maximize profits. Do you have a sandwich that’s incredibly popular at lunch? See if your chef can rearrange the ingredients into an appetizer you can sell in the evenings. It’s a win-win situation that lets your kitchen staff use the same ingredients so you can keep costs low while selling a popular item in two different ways – and at two different prices.

Make Money Through Advertising

Restaurants can make money a few different ways, including by advertising in other restaurants. If you have televisions in your bar or restaurant, trivia games or a jukebox, you can sell that visual space to other businesses who want to take advantage of a similar customer base. This is pure profit for you if you already have a way to display advertisements for other local businesses. Another option is to swap advertisements with a business where you might be able to snag new customers.

Inspire Loyalty

Through digital rewards on mobile apps, your customers can take advantage of earning points or punches every time they spend money at your restaurant. You can allow them to use a certain number of points to get $10 off or get a free appetizer of their choice. If you’d rather not invest in an application, you can stick to traditional methods of loyalty programs, such as a future-use coupon at the bottom of receipts or a punch card.

Specials are in Season

Shopping for seasonal and local ingredients is beneficial for your restaurant in a few ways. You can keep food costs down because the closer produce and proteins are to you, the less it costs to get to you. It’s also a selling point for your customers who want to eat fresh and support local farmers. A great way to promote those seasonal menu items is to make them your daily specials. Be sure to promote them through social media whenever your special changes.

Freebie Extravaganza

Customers love to get something for free. An ideal time to offer anything free is on your slowest nights. Study your day-to-day sales totals and figure out which day is your slowest. Get creative and figure out how you want to get people through the door. Offer a free meal to one guest randomly or a free appetizer to the first 10 tables that come in for dinner service.

Get Customers Involved

Loyal customers like to feel like they have a stake in the restaurant they love to frequent. You can occasionally introduce new menu items and ask your customers to help name it. Promote it online and invite customers to come in to try the items and enter their proposed item names. The winner not only gets their creatively named sandwich on the menu, they can also get a free meal as their reward.

Image from Kaprik/Shutterstock

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