Restaurant profitability is based on two major factors: revenue and costs. When costs are too high, you’ll tip the scale toward a negative profit. But with a high gross revenue and lower costs, you’ll be swimming in excess.
Realistically, there are only two ways to increase your revenue. You can either sell more product, or you can raise prices. Raising prices isn’t ideal, but restaurant operators simply don’t have the knowledge to increase sales. So, let’s take a look at some of the easiest and most innovative ways to increase your gross revenue and sales to have the most profitable restaurant possible.
Sell More Product to Current Customer Base
If you’re looking to increase your total revenue, you need to sell more product. And, fortunately, there are nearly limitless options for expansion. First and foremost, to sell, you need to ensure that your front of house staff is maximizing your current customer base.
Servers should know how to sell a complete meal to as many tables as possible: appetizers, entree, and dessert. Every table should be sold bottled water at the beginning of service, drink specials or wine bottles throughout dinner, and coffee at the end of the meal. While this will depend on the theme and style of your restaurant, either way, ensure that all servers have top-notch salesmanship skills. Also, if your restaurant offers merchandise like shirts or hats, consider offering awards to servers who sell these regularly.
In addition, selling more may mean altering the style and setup of your restaurant and menu. If you offer large portioned entrees that are a full meal in themselves, consider cutting portion sizes and promoting appetizers. Create specials as often as possible to eliminate excess inventory and take advantage of deals offered from liquor reps.
Most importantly, make it clear to service staff that every item they sell is more money in their pocket — for higher checks will mean higher tips. Keep track of all servers per person average (PPA), and reward those who consistently perform the highest. For the servers that aren’t quite cutting it, offer sales training to those who underperform.
Sell More Product with New Customers
If your service staff is consistently maximizing sales to your current customer base, then your next step is to getting more people into your restaurant. Doing this is a matter of marketing- and being a good restaurant.
Word of mouth goes a long way in the restaurant business, and if your food and service is subpar, you won’t be getting new customers. It’s as simple as that. This is especially true with the increasing popularity of restaurant rating sites like OpenTable and Yelp. Make good food, then people will notice and spread the word.
With restaurant marketing, you need to take advantage of every avenue possible. Consider creating themed nights of the week to generate hype about your business, and use social media and radio to promote it. Offer rewards to local customers and use “happy hour” specials to keep the restaurant busy during the slowest periods. They key is to exhaust every effort, making sure people know about your fun spot with excellent food and service.