Promoting your restaurant and boosting sales doesn’t always have to be a thought in the back of your mind. Just create a plan, stick to it, then test and learn. We’ve pulled together 4 sales tips to get you started. Give these a try, then learn what works for your business and make the promotions better every time you do them.
1) Host Events. Being the host of food events will make your restaurant look involved in the community which will help gain exposure and credibility. Increasing good local buzz about your restaurant is never a bad thing so set some time aside to plan an awesome event that everyone around will want to attend. If you don’t think you can pull that off just yet then start by being a part of your local “Taste of [insert city name] event.” This is a good way to gain event experience, as well as exposure.
2) Up-sell. Create weekly or monthly training sessions with your servers to provide them with sales tips to increase check sizes. Keep them up to date with any specials, new products, and high margin items. Also train your servers to always offer an appetizer and dessert. Increasing check sizes means increasing your profits!
3) Sampling. This costs way less than advertising and it might be just as effective. People love free stuff so why not try sampling a new recipe or a best-selling recipe to gain awareness and drive word of mouth? Bring samples of your menu items to every event you attend. Pick items that are easy to transport and make sure you have the supplies needed to transport them.
4) Birthdays. This is a classic occasion for having a meal out on the town, which means it’s the perfect opportunity for you to gain new customers and bring back old ones. Use data you’ve gathered from your website, newsletters, surveys, and social media to implement a birthday campaign through email. You can easily work with an email provider such as Mail Chimp or Constant Contact to create an email, upload your data, and set up an automatic campaign!
You don’t always have to spend a lot of money on advertising to promote your restaurant. Start with these 4 easy steps to growing your sales and remember it’s all about testing and learning. Try everything at least three times so you can implement what you’ve learned from the first two times.
Do you offer hard apple cider in your restaurant? If not, you should and here’s why. Hard apple cider is making a huge comeback and more customers have been and will continue ask for it.
The category has been dominated by the Vermont-based brand Woodchuck, but now you have your pick from other brands such as Boston Beer Co, MillerCoors, and Anheuser-Busch. All of these brands have focused on growing their hard cider offerings, making it the fastest-growing segment of beer and flavored malt beverages. A Chicago market research firm said that cider sales increased 75.4% in a 12 month period through the end of November 2014. You don’t want to miss out of the potential sales this could bring your restaurant. Show your customers that you really know what you’re doing when you present their cider in a glass made just for hard cider!
Once you are stocked up and ready to go, start promoting your hard cider selections to let your customers know they have more options. First, give your servers a briefing on the new product, how to serve it and get them excited to promote it. Make sure you add it to your drink menu and/or specials menu to ensure all customers have the chance to see it. Then add a promotional sign near the bar area. We are big fans of chalk board signs because you can easily change out your promotions and announce new products.
Now you’re set to introduce hard cider as a trendy new product for your restaurant and watch your sales take off. Cheers to that!
Your menu is a critical component to your revenue stream. If you do it right, you can use your menu as a competitive advantage. Use these 4 steps to get started.
- Give it a name. Make sure your customers know if they are looking at the breakfast, lunch, dinner, specials, drinks, or dessert menu. Menu names are a great place to work on your branding. Use a graphic designer to personalize the menu and add your own unique touch to it. You want to stand out and be memorable!
- Create categories. You certainly want your menu to have plenty of options, but you do not want a customer feeling overwhelmed and taking a while to order. Keep the design simple, engaging, and organized. Make sure each item has a category, title, description, and price.
- Customize. The key to customizing your menu is to make the item names and descriptions stand out to a customer. Your menu items were chosen for a reason, so let that be known through intriguing descriptions and images. The more images the better! Customers are more likely to order something that they have a visual of versus an item that they don’t know what to expect. You know you have created a good menu if you see customers licking their lips trying to decide between the options.
- Build a strategy. Promote your most profitable and bestselling items. Keep these items at the top of your category designs because that’s where most of the orders will come from. Try to use pricing strategies as well. Price seasonally (where appropriate) and do not be afraid to raise prices on best sellers if your margins need a boost.
Once your menu has been created, place it in a professional menu holder or a simple black menu cover.
If you keep your menus at the table at all times, don’t forget to order plenty of menu clips.
Small changes to your menu can produce big results, so give it a try. What do you have to lose?