Sales are a vital part of every business, but for restaurants, margins are incredibly tight; so ensuring that you’re doing everything you can to boost sales to improve performance is critical. Typically, a restaurant will have profit margins of about 3 – 5%, but this can vary from restaurant to restaurant.
Increasing sales results in increasing profitability; this can be done by improving average transaction value, or the number of transactions. Increasing transaction volume can be achieved by improving service, correct deployment of staff, and good marketing strategies; whereas improving average transaction value is mostly through staff training.
Focussing on improving guests’ experience is a vital element in the growth of sales within your restaurant. Guests should be at the forefront of your business: ensuring they have experiences that exceed their expectations, means they’ll likely return – boosting sales.
Communication between internal, and external, stakeholders in the business is crucial to stay on top of improvements and maintaining high success. It’s also essential in identifying and rectifying problems before they get out of hand and become a potential risk of damaging sales.
Improving Guests’ Experience
Make use of reviews
As we’ve already mentioned, guests should be a top priority for you, they are your entire business. Word of mouth and reviews are hugely important consumer-based marketing tools for restaurants; take advantage of these by guaranteeing all guests have something to talk about – in a good way!
97% of consumers read online reviews of businesses, and 33% of diners don’t want to go to restaurants below 4 stars meaning higher reviews are much more likely to bring in more customers, and therefore more sales. Excellent reviews don’t just mean that you’ll attract new customers, but guests who feel satisfied with the service provided are much more likely to spend more whilst they’re there.
Although good reviews are great, your business can learn from bad reviews, and encouraging staff to get feedback offline during service allows you to take full advantage of this, without damaging your business’ reputation. Take time to discuss reviews with your employees, allow everyone to address them together and take accountability wherever necessary. Let your employees learn from one another.
Loyalty is your friend
Customer loyalty schemes can also be hugely beneficial in drawing in more repeat customers. Providing discounts, or free items on a points system, can not only increase the volume of transactions but also the average transaction value; people are willing to spend more when they feel like they’re getting a bargain.
Regular customers generated from loyalty programs are likely to create a brand community of business advocates, and the restaurant is likely to grow from word and mouth; 83% of customers trust personal recommendations over business promotions. Keeping on top of the performance of discounts and sales trends is crucial to optimising this strategy.
Improving Internal Communication
Communication is important throughout all aspects of business; there must be good, and clear, communication between all team members, as well as the GMs and head office. Never allowing problems to get out of hand, and constantly improving the performance of the restaurant.
Technology is a huge part of how internal communication between stakeholders in the business can be improved by providing a centralised system for analysing data. With everyone using the same platform any new information, or learnings, are universal and can be distributed quickly and easily.
Real-time data allows for instant feedback, and therefore optimisation, allowing for immediate performance improvement. Staff can receive instant feedback, and with everyone working from the same source of truth; there is increased clarity and no risk of misinterpretation.
Ensuring employees have the opportunity to provide feedback is essential in keeping labour productivity at a maximum. This can be achieved through organising regular staff meetings, or introducing logbooks so that staff can have a voice. Discussing what’s brought up in regular staff meetings to encourage improvements throughout the entire team.
The most obvious way to improve sales within your restaurant is to increase the number of them; both via average transaction value and increasing volume. But, it is not that simple and improving sales takes a lot of work with many different factors leaning in.
Setting goals is super important, it pushes employees to work towards something, and incentivising them to do so means they’re more likely to push harder to achieve them. But, make sure they’re realistic; if goals are never hit morale will be low and employees will eventually stop trying.
Keep an eye on trends
Trends are also vital in understanding where success in your business comes from and how you can materialise that in all aspects of the restaurant. Identifying and acting-upon, upon trends; making data-led decisions is a guaranteed way to keep driving performance up.
When focussing on trends of restaurants at varying locations, learning from each one is extremely valuable and important. However, it’s good to remember that restaurants in different locations will have different customer bases, so tailoring success plans to each one is necessary.
Focus on your marketing
Marketing strategies at restaurants are easily overlooked, however, they are especially important for finding, and attracting, new customers – as well as keeping the old ones coming back!
77% of customers use Google to find restaurants meaning the searchability of your restaurant is incredibly important to be discoverable to new customers. Website ranking and aesthetics are also vital in drawing in new customers when 77% of diners check the website before booking or attending the restaurant.
Social media, especially, and advertising can also be budget-friendly methods to draw in new customers. It’s imperative to understand your consumers so you can tailor ads and your social media page to resonate with them as much as possible. Social media competitions have become a popular method for growing audiences quickly.
Improving sales at restaurants to boost performance can be challenging, and the number of external factors influencing success is unparalleled. However, using your restaurants’ data and taking advantage of all it can teach you makes it significantly easier.
Focus on improving individual each aspect of your restaurant to make it more manageable; look at the return on investment from improving the guests’ experience, and how improved communications within your staff and internal stakeholders can drive up performance. Despite having less budget due to increasing costs and inflation, look at how marketing can be done on a budget – do not let it slip under the rug and be forgotten about!