Ideas to Grow Restaurant Sales

 In 5. Fred Langley, Marketing

From booking more catering to building repeat business, it takes more than just one thing to grow restaurant sales. You have to do a lot of little things to get them to add up to some measurable sales growth. Here are some suggestions for things you can take action on to change your top line.

Bring your website up to date.

  • For catering, remove all pricing so you have a chance to sell and meet the needs of the guests. Sometimes they don’t understand the pricing they’re looking at and will move on before talking to you.
  • Add an email opt-in on the website to capture information of potential clients.
  • Create a standalone website specifically for any separate venues you have to market.
  • Make sure you are able to edit your own content on your website if you are already not able to do so.

Actively network.

  • Participate in local tourism council board meetings.
  • Join and attend the chamber of commerce, but you must be active or it is a waste of money.
  • Find a Business Networking International or other networking group. It is a great way to make connections. Get active with Rotary and host meetings.

Hit up some new business areas.

  • Go to hospitals and ask for business; bring gifts.
  • Ask doctors for pharmaceutical sales connections or use LinkedIn. Pharmaceutical sales people spend a lot on catering. Make it easy for them use and give them professional presentation and become their go-to caterer.
  • Attend festivals, serve great food out of a professional looking booth and collect business cards and names so you can contact them in the future through email.
  • Create an award you can give to schools that is a certificate teachers can give to students. It will bring the whole family out to celebrate.
  • Go to bridal shows and collect names of potential clients to continue to market to.

Start a rewards program.

  • See if your POS system offers a widget and can track customers’ sales.
  • Try RepeatReturns.com for a standalone rewards system.
  • Go to local concierges and get the cards with their rewards number for people to bring in. Put what they spend on their card so they continue to get rewards and you can track what they send you.

Market in your restaurant.

  • Make your check presenters a marketing vehicle and include special events, special offers coming up or information about catering.
  • Drop a promotional piece that lets the average person know that you do catering. Most people don’t even know you do it.
  • Have photos of past parties in the bathroom and various places throughout the restaurant.
  • Create a slide show promoting your catering and events to show on TVs when there are no good sports to show. Develop a slide show and send it to your emails list that you are growing.
  • Call all past clients and get them to book a party for this season.
  • Put up a banner announcing that you do catering.
  • Include testimonials from past, happy clients in your marketing materials. Especially brides because it is often the most important day of their life.
  • Set referral relationships. Get photographers, florists, wedding planners, DJs and priests to refer clients to you and you return the favor. Build relationships with other banquet facilities. If they are booked, they need someone to recommend.

Build your email list.

  • Put out comment cards in check presenters, ask for a review, ask if there is a need for catering, have a line for email.
  • Verify reservations with email so you can collect more emails.
  • Work your list well planning promotions ahead of time on a calendar. In your emails be relevant, don’t always make it a sales piece, maybe provide a recipe or a local tip, and maybe announce the bands for the week. When selling, sell benefits not features. Sell the sizzle not the steak.

Bundle things together to create value.

  • McDonald’s learned this years ago. Have a call to action, brand marketing doesn’t work for a restaurant.

It takes many things at once to market well, but the important thing is to make sure you are doing something. Pick a few things from you can start this week to grow restaurant sales and add from there!

Systems are a sure-fire way to control costs so every effort you put in to grow restaurant sales will count. Read our free special report, Breaking Away from the Insanity: How to easily take control of your restaurant and make more money. Download it here

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