The advancement of technology and changing consumer trends amidst the pandemic have proven to be a boon and curse for restaurants, who are experiencing a transformation and facing their toughest predicament yet – attuning to the changing customer demands in a technology-driven age as they discover how to increase their restaurant sales in a dynamic market environment.
Whether you’re a successful restaurant owner or an aspiring one, having a consistent revenue stream for your restaurant can be a really intimidating task at any level of your business. But what is actually holding you back is the lack of proper resources on how to increase your restaurant sales in the digital era.
Without a doubt, restaurants have a lot of unlearning and relearning to do amidst the overhauling customer behavior patterns but increasing your revenue is not as challenging as it appears on the surface.
The thing about your revenue is that no matter how much you are already garnering, there comes a point where you realize you could be doing so much more. This is why restaurants have always dabbled between the constant need to create an exceptional experience for their customers and still striving to grow, without losing sight of their business bottomline.
At any point in your business journey, if you have ever pondered upon how you can get more customers in your restaurant or how to increase your restaurant sales, you’re just a few simple steps away from actualizing your most important business goal!
How To Grow Your Restaurant Business
The question that lingers in the mind of every restaurant owner – “how do I get more customers in my restaurant” actually stems from their incapacitation to generate a constant revenue or in some cases, no revenue at all.
There are many strategies to increase restaurant sales and it’s most imperative is to make a mark wherever your customers are. For your restaurant to increase sales and scale your business, your strategies to increase sales for your restaurant must revolve around integrating platforms and channels that your customers use and prefer.
Let’s find out how you can get more customers and do everything to keep the revenue stream flowing!
1. Offer Takeout and Delivery
As a restaurateur, you shouldn’t be left wondering how to get more customers at your restaurant. Keeping your options open is always a safe bet when it comes to serving your customers because it will undoubtedly widen your customer range. With COVID-19 and social distancing looming in the picture, dining in has been replaced by takeout and delivery services for the most part.
Technomic’s May 2020 report titled Menu Monitoring the COVID-19 Pandemic, states that “46% of consumers said they were still ordering food and beverages from restaurants” and of course the trend continues to make great strides.
The demand for delivery and takeout is on the rise and customers are leaning towards services that offer them convenience and safety. At the same time, it’s a great chance for businesses to recalibrate how they have fulfilled customer expectations so far. Although the importance of creating a great experience for customers dining in is imperative, take out and delivery services can not be ignored any longer.
2. Optimize your online menu
What you need to make note of when it comes to your menu is that the digital era calls for convenience and the simplification of things to a point where customers can experience something with minimal time or effort. And this also holds true for how they experience your menu for instance.
This is why your online menu should be comprehensive enough to answer all of your customers’ questions about the items that are on it yet also be concise enough to not confuse them more. Since the menu is the essence of your restaurant, it should be a reflection of what you truly hope to offer to your customers as a restaurant brand..
On the digital spectrum, customizing an order should be a painless process for customers otherwise they’ll be on to the next restaurant before you know it!
As a restaurateur, you must plan a menu that travels well because not all the food that is on your dine-in menu will be in an edible condition by the time it reaches your customers. Streamlining and optimizing your menu to stitch together a seamless experience will get you a lot more customers and subsequently, a larger order volume and higher sales!
3. Enhance your mobile presence
Mobile accounts for approximately half of web traffic worldwide and this is reason enough for any restaurant that is not present on mobile to get their restaurant mobile-ready. Customers have adapted to the convenience of mobile and this has maneuvered a lot of their habits in that direction, as far as shopping and buying preferences are concerned.
Earlier, if being present on mobile was synonymous to a competitive advantage, in this day and age, it is an absolute necessity for any restaurant that wants to be ahead in the game. Today, the need to build a mobile presence has become more essential than ever.
Augmenting your mobile presence is a great way to grow your restaurant business as it can make your restaurant more accessible and approachable, help you build a digital brand, expand your audience online, improve your search engine rankings, open up a key outlet for you to sell and market your restaurant more effectively.
4. Develop a customer loyalty program
Rewarding customers for their loyalty has been an age-old strategy for businesses to keep their customers coming back and consequently increase their restaurant sales. Fast forward to the current day and applying this success formula to the modern-day customers is still prevalent.
Although marketing aimed at engaging potential customers is a prerequisite for growth, retaining customers is where the real value rests. Building a relevant customer loyalty program lets you foster meaningful relationships with existing customers in the long-term.
A customer loyalty program can have multifold benefits – it is a solid cornerstone of customer engagement, can deliver unique customer insights and market research, and is extremely cost-effective in driving sales for your restaurant.
While being on the lookout for new customers will certainly get your restaurant more orders, there’s nothing that will benefit your restaurant more than gratifying old and loyal customers who are true to your brand.
5. Focus on SEO to increase restaurant sales
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) should be a focal point for any new-age business, not only because it can amplify your visibility and reach online, but also because it can boost sales by driving more traffic to your website. For a restaurant owner, it is essential to leverage the free traffic to your website that is offered by search engines. Even though it may be free, there is a lot of groundwork that goes behind earning and keeping those coveted spots.
Optimizing your website ensures that search engines rank you higher, allowing you to elevate your overall user experience, and ultimately lending your restaurant business a lot more credibility.
Considering that your content is already optimized, being device-responsive is definitely a big tick in any search engine’s books. It is exactly the kind of thing that can lead you to the top of search results, and help your restaurant get noticed. Your website should be easily accessible across various devices especially if you consider that different audiences are likely to use a device of their choice to search for your restaurant.
With a whopping 5.03 billion unique mobile users globally, getting your restaurant equipped for mobile becomes a no-brainer. Making sure that your website is optimized and responsive for mobile will serve you well from an SEO perspective.
What you need to remember is that centering your attention on SEO will prompt your customers to engage with you (and the bottomline will prosper!)
6. Optimize your Google My Business listing
Let’s say you’re a customer and you want to order from a restaurant for the first time. Your automatic response is to Google the restaurant, take a quick peek at the reviews, note down the contact information, website and order away! Within seconds, you’re on the restaurant website and are now ordering your favorite food. That is the power and simplicity of ordering for your customers if you have a Google My Business profile in place.
It comes as no surprise that over 90% of worldwide search engine traffic comes from Google. This goes to show the sheer magnitude of Google’s impact. Needless to say, creating a Google My Business profile for your restaurant can definitely magnify your reach and help you tap into a massive revenue stream.
But before we jump the gun, as a restaurant owner, you need to understand what creating a Google Business Profile means for your restaurant business. Since you’re on the Google playfield, you must abide by the Google Business Profile guidelines or risk having your listing suspended.
Keep in mind that your Google Business Profile is a community profile, not just yours. Anyone can post their experience with your restaurant so it becomes all the more essential to ensure that you create a sublime one at that.
Now you’re probably wondering if it’s worth the effort to invest all that time on building and maintaining your Google My Business account. The reason to create a Google My Business profile may just be the fact that people are actively surfing the most popular search engine platform out there. With almost 92% of the market share, Google has monopolized the industry and is the default choice for customers to search for their favorite restaurants.
7. Run digital ads to increase profits
Performance marketing is one of the most effective additions to your overall digital strategy and social media marketing plan. Digital ads that are run on a cost-per-click basis give you the advantage of limiting your marketing spend and reserving it only for those leads or potential customers who are likely to engage with your restaurant in some way or form. Basically, you only shell out money when you get a desired result from your ad. This is the secret sauce to scaling profitability and saving yourself a big chunk of your marketing spend while still reaching out to your target customers.
All the strategies to increase restaurant sales and traffic, while they are great on paper, must be put into action. Taking the time and effort to strike these off your checklist will work wonders for your restaurant business.
But what’s next once you’ve set up this game plan for your restaurant?
We’re about to reveal some extremely useful tips – an action plan to increase sales for a restaurant.
4 Simple Ways To Get Started With Increasing Your Restaurant Sales
Start by choosing the right ordering platform for your restaurant
As an independent restaurant owner, depending on aggregators to get you sales will only eat into your profits. This is why you must select an ordering platform that can give your business a cohesive edge and complete claim to all of your profits.
So how would you know which platform is the right one for your restaurant? For starters, you need a direct ordering platform that entrusts you with full ownership of your restaurant. Also, one that caters to the end-to-end needs of your restaurant is definitely a plus point. You could really gain from having a full-fledged ecosystem that takes care of every business touchpoint for your restaurant.
This is where we enter the playground. At Lyve, we have integrated the different steps of the customer journey into our vast direct ordering ecosystem – from ordering, to managing stocks as well as tracking your invoices to finally delivering them. There are many reasons you may see Lyve to be a good fit for your restaurant, one main factor being that with us, you’re not forced to pay high commissions just to keep your restaurant business afloat. In fact, you can be assured that you’ll be reeling in a consistent flow of revenue.
Additionally, Lyve also gives you:
- An automated dashboard to organize your restaurant business
- Deep business insights to maximize your profits and sales
- Customer behavior data points to build a seamless experience
- All your profits hence no bleeding money on commissions
What do you need to do? Just plug and play and you can reap the numerous benefits. It’s that simple!
Master the art of restaurant menu engineering
For restaurants that sell items with varying levels of profitability and popularity, menu engineering could help in increasing your profits. Menu engineering can be broken down into these key courses of action:
Costing your menu
Even though costing a menu is a highly time-consuming process, it is one that must not be skipped at any cost! Costing your menu involves putting a cost against each individual ingredient and henceforth, determining the cost of each item on your menu. This can give you a margin for profits and make some room for the revenue to stay.
Categorize your menu
Segmenting the menu based on common categories such as “entrees”, “sides”, “mains”, “beverages”, “desserts”, etc. is one of those must-have features on your menu. It is also advised to go more specific with your categories like “Pastas”, “Pizzas”, “Grills” or whatever best suits your restaurant’s cuisine.
While most restaurant owners already follow this best practice, further splitting up your menu on the basis of popularity and creating categories accordingly is also recommended.
Design and test your menu
Part of the design process involves highlighting the items that sell the most but it goes beyond this and can’t be accomplished as easily as just shortlisting the best-selling items on your menu. When designing your menu it pays to consider your customer base: what types of customers order which items and what items they may be curious to try.
Testing the menu can really help you strike the right chords with your customers and give you real insights into what it is they are really looking for on your menu and what they’d like more of.
Offer online ordering through website, social media and whatsapp
In the digital-driven era, it goes without saying that having a strong web presence can be a crucial factor in ensuring the success of your restaurant business. A digitally armed restaurant is not only more likely to rope in more customers but also multiply the incoming revenue by creating sales channels across various social media platforms.
The name of the game is social commerce and is taking the restaurant industry by a storm. There is a clear distinction between your restaurant’s offline sales and online sales but social commerce blurs those lines with ease of convenience while placing an order.
Social commerce is quickly becoming the buzzword around the block and one can only imagine why! Social commerce is capable of transforming your social media platforms into a sales engine.
Giving your customers the option to order from any social media platform that they are browsing is a blessing to the world of direct ordering!
Invest in fast delivery
Even as the food-delivery industry continues to expand, it is still evolving. This trend toward convenience and fast food delivery has grown more pronounced during the pandemic. Increasing restaurant sales with food delivery is a sure shot at getting repeat customers.
Not only can quick and hassle-free food delivery increase your restaurant sales but it can also tighten the knot on a wholesome customer experience. Partnering with delivery partners who can help you fulfill your orders seamlessly is going to add up in the bigger picture.
With such a detailed action plan to increase your restaurant sales, you may have gained a fair idea on how to get started but there are a lot more things you’ll need in place to really nudge the growth of your restaurant sales.
What’s Next For You?
A comprehensive sales strategy is the first step to building a sustainable business that readily generates revenue and has an influx of customers at any given point in time. However, it is also vital to carefully implement everything you know about increasing sales for your restaurant, with little margin for error.
We know it’s a lot to take into consideration but at Lyve, we can mobilize your restaurant sales with our expertise, filtered from years of experience. Having empowered over 1000 brands with their direct online ordering experience, we have all the tools in our arsenal to manage every aspect of your business with dexterity. Let us lead the way and help you discover how to increase your restaurant sales and broaden your customer base.