With customers having plenty of choices while choosing a restaurant for dining or food ordering, the industry has become highly competitive. And with the Covid-19 pandemic altering the restaurant business dynamics forever, it has become essential for restaurateurs to adopt strategies for boosting overall sales and attracting a greater number of customers to the restaurant. This blog is a 11 point action plan and a comprehensive guide for restaurant owners that explores a few easy, yet smart restaurant marketing strategies that can be implemented for greater restaurant sales.
Result-oriented & Strategic Methods to Enhance Restaurant Sales
1. Have a User-friendly, Mobile-friendly Website:
A restaurant website is a powerful sales tool. Creating a website for restaurant has become mandatory. So, a restaurant must never hesitate to invest money in creating their own website. The expenses incurred for building and maintaining a website is far lesser than paying salary or commission to a salesperson. Customers are now hooked to their mobiles more than ever before. The Internet empowered gadget enables people to find and book restaurants within seconds.
People conduct online searches on the go. Thus, restaurateurs must always be ready to attract people via the mobile too. Websites that are beautiful and easy to navigate create a positive image in the minds of the customers even before they walk into the restaurant.
Tips for Creating a Successful Restaurant Website:
- Keep it as simple and straightforward as possible
- Ensure that the website is gadget-friendly (works well on every device)
- Activate a simple table-reservation or booking form
- Use lead magnets for data capturing
- Make use of a digital menu with online ordering
2. Have an Updated Menu:
When changes or updates are made to the physical menu, restaurateurs must make corresponding changes in the online menu. People always check the restaurant’s online menu (the menu on the website) before making a visit. Thus, online menus must make people drool and begin to crave for your food the moment they look at the images or videos on the menu page.
3. Analyze the Slow Periods:
Restaurants must take diligent efforts to identify the slow periods during the week – both on a day basis and time basis. Restaurants must then strategize ways to bring in more customers during those lean periods. For instance, if customer traffic is low during lunch time, restaurants must offer scaled-down versions of signature dishes or popular recipes. This will encourage regular customers to drop in for lunch.
4. Train Staff & Servers on Upselling Ideas:
Staff members with good communication skills can instantly increase restaurant sales. Their smiling countenance and a polite conversation will make customers order more than they intended to. At the same time, they will feel like they are being guided and not pressurized to order more.
The 3 main upselling techniques are:
i) Describing a Menu Item:
Staff members must make use of this restaurant upselling opportunity after the customer is seated at the table. Waiters can start by describing the restaurant’s popular specialty drinks or the special drink of the day. With lucid explanations, people will want to try cocktails even if they had originally planned just to have water.
ii) Encouraging Orders of Side Dishes for Meals:
Customers can be made to listen to descriptions of items on the menu. This will initiate their thinking process and lead them to order extras or sides with their main course. If extras are charged, it must be made clear to the customers even before they make the order. This will help customers make informed decisions.
iii) Suggesting Desserts or After-meal Drinks:
When waiters drop names of desserts after customers are done with their entree, their eagerness gets triggered. This up-sell technique can be especially useful in luring first-time customers to make dessert orders.
5. Increase Prices Marginally:
Increasing the prices of the menu is an obvious way to increase restaurant sales. But, the downside is that this price rise must be handled cautiously. Raising prices is like a double-edged sword – either restaurants will not be able to raise prices to a level where operating costs can be met or they will raise prices too much, thus, driving away customers.
Restaurants must, thus, increase prices slowly, yet on a regular basis to manage rising costs. This will save customers from experiencing a shock due to the sudden rise in prices. It is also advisable to raise prices only on certain parts of the menu rather than all items. The aim must be to raise prices in such a way that operations continue normally without any financial burden for both the restaurant and the diner. Following a strategic price raise will help a restaurant retain earnings – even if they lose any customers, it can be adjusted with customers who spend more.
6. Make the Online Menu ADA Compliant:
Restaurants must make the digital menu ADA compliant. By partnering with a technology company for ADA remediation, restaurants can save a lot of money. The structure that ADA compliance mandates is beneficial for restaurant SEO too.
7. Reduce Waiting Time:
It is important to keep food preparation really speedy as restaurant customers get frustrated by long wait times. Restaurant kitchens must operate on the basis of a speed-metric. This will differ from one restaurant to another based on the cuisine type and the number of orders in line.
Technology today enables restaurants to track every step of the process – the time that order was submitted, the time when cooking started, the duration taken to complete the cooking process and the duration that one must ideally spend on completing the cooking. This data can help restaurateurs to set goals on how food preparation time can be drastically reduced and ensure speedy service.
8. Use QR Codes on Table Tents:
Effecting on-premise sales is also an integral part of a restaurant’s marketing strategy. Every promotional activity must be tied to the landing page on the restaurant website. Adding a Quick Response (QR) code is an absolutely easy way to increase the success of the marketing campaign.
For example, if you are a restaurant owner and have introduced new seasonal drinks, you can use QR codes on a restaurant table tent to promote them. Guests who scan the code with their smartphones will immediately be directed to the seasonal drink landing page. High-quality photos, Insta Reel type videos and compelling descriptions on this landing page can attract attention, inducing people to order. With a coupon offering discounts, the restaurant is sure to win a greater number of orders.
9. Customer Lifetime Value:
Customer Lifetime Value or CLV is a calculation that every business must do. CLV is nothing but a calculation of the monetary return from an average guest visiting the restaurant. Before calculating the CLV, the restaurant must gather the data from its previous year’s sales, particularly, a full year’s data.
The restaurant must first know the average order value and purchase frequency.
- The Average Order Value can be calculated by dividing the Total Revenue by the Total Number of Orders (365 days data).
- Purchase frequency is nothing but the Total Number of Orders Divided by the Total Number of Unique Customers (365 days data).
- By multiplying the Average Order Value and Purchase Frequency, one gets to know the Customer Value.
This customer lifetime value is equal to the average lifespan of a customer expressed in terms of years. When a restaurant establishes a CLV for various guest types, marketing efforts can be tailor-made for specific target groups. This will maximize the returns on the investment of time and energy. A restaurant just needs to highlight its strengths and invest in attracting a larger number of loyal customers to increase its CLV.
10. Bringing Back Lost Customers:
Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence can be used to identify when a restaurant customer is likely to churn, with the risk of never ever returning to the brand. Once such people are identified, an email can be sent to them with a personalized message and an incentive that will encourage them to revisit your restaurant. With such techniques, up to 38% of lost customers can be regained. Retaining lost customers is a less expensive restaurant marketing strategy as compared to ones trying to win new customers.
11. Google My Business Claim:
Claiming the account on Google My Business (GMB) has become more mandatory for restaurants than ever before. People are always utilizing the Internet and web browsers to search for local businesses, primarily restaurants. When the restaurant business is claimed on Google My Business, potential customers will easily be able to spot your restaurant online. Using online maps, they will be able to locate the business and also reach it for their next meal.
When a restaurant claims the GMB profile, the restaurant is likely to appear in Google’s 3-pack for relevant searches. Restaurants must enter details like the name, address and phone number on the GMB profile. With more and more accurate and updated information, Google is more likely to rank you at the top of search queries.
The restaurant’s marketing strategy must be constantly evaluated and optimized to ensure consistent success. Start by implementing the above mentioned 11 strategies to attract more customers, experience greater quantities of orders and eventually, an increase in sales.
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