Whether you got into the restaurant business for the love of people, food, drinks, or all three, there comes a time when a nice long vacation seems less a luxury and more a necessity. Sanity is, after all, not a guarantee.
To accomplish this needed respite, you need three things: a manager you can trust, staff that doesn’t require a babysitter and a stream of income that ensures you’re getting paid no matter the changing weather, economy, or customer preferences.
Sound like a dream? It’s successful business 101—multiple streams of income, and it’s achievable as a restaurant operator.
Let’s explore the possibilities.
A Single Source of Income
As Warren Buffett said, “Never depend on a single income.” Yet, that is the strategy for many restaurant operators. In fact, 70% of restaurant owners in the U.S. have only one location. Fortunately, you don’t have to build another brick-and-mortar to create multiple income streams.
The following are common strategies restaurants use to boost business and profits while improving the guest experience through various income streams.
Host Restaurant Events
Who has the time or space to host restaurant events, right? Well, not only do restaurant events give you an additional revenue stream, but they also enhance brand awareness. Prepaid tickets ensure you have the exact count to pull off a memorable event that fosters customers telling friends and family, and friends and family flocking to your restaurant.
Some popular offerings include wine tastings and winemakers’ dinners. This gives your chef a chance to partner with a winemaker, creating a truly memorable event. No local winemakers; how about a brewery? No? How about a supplier with a vast selection of whiskey? Where there’s a will, there’s a possibility.
You can also host a guest chef or bartender event. If your customers end up infatuated, you could make this a regular occurrence that may end up booked weeks in advance.
Online sales went big time when restaurants shut down amidst the pandemic. And many have retained their online enterprise. Consider products that align with your brand and that guests associate with your restaurant. What is your restaurant known for? Do you have a particular sauce your customers love? Can you pair it with wine? Many restaurants went into retail wine clubs when their brick and mortars closed and sustained this lucrative venture after reopening. It seems like there’s a trend here.
An example comes from Valley, a neighborhood restaurant and wine bar in Sonoma, CA. Their concept centers around sustainability, seasonal, and regenerative agricultural practices. And The Valley Bottle Club follows this lead. They offer three different club options.
Branded merchandise also includes t-shirts, hats, coasters, and cookbooks. Just make it cute and snappy, playful, or exotic, depending on your concept.
Restaurant meal kits solve the problem of food delivered to your guest in a condition unworthy of your brand. These almost-ready-to-eat meals offer fresher food that requires a quick trip to the oven. A great incentive is to provide a discount to customers who create TikTok or Instagram videos of them cooking your meal kits.
According to the National Restaurant Association, 53% of adults would likely purchase a meal kit if it was offered by their favorite restaurant and contained instructions on how to cook it.
Online Cooking Classes
Did you know that YouTube generated $29.2 billion in revenue in 2022, and over 2.5 billion people access YouTube once a month? I think I’m in the wrong business. You can grab a small, yet substantial, piece of that pie. If you don’t envision yourself or your chef camera ready, consider one of your other employees with the personality and flair to make an impression. For some people, creating a YouTube cooking show turned into a career path.
Monetize Sales Data
The data your restaurant creates is one of the most valuable resources, particularly to suppliers. And these suppliers are willing to pay to know how their brands perform in your restaurant or bar. These insights are derived from your POS system, which F&B Insights transforms into valuable insight-rich reports. You sit back and collect a new income stream every month.
We would be remiss not to mention this all-important additional revenue stream. However, it is important to note that if using third-party delivery services, keep a watchful eye on profits to ensure you’re not losing money.
And we’ve only scratched the surface of what’s possible in today’s growing marketplace. The bottom line—leverage your expertise to add additional streams of revenue that, once established, can offer passive income, the best (and most relaxing) kind of income around.