When it comes to building sales in a restaurant, nothing beats solid execution. By that, I mean delivering a quality product with great service and atmosphere is the best way forward. There are a lot of ideas managers and owners come up with to grow sales. I see it all the time. Businesses will use coupons, advertising, internet ad networks, etc. Some of those can be great and useful. But what good does it do to spend money on creating traffic if your operation is weak? It’s like paying for bad reviews.
If sales are down or not growing, look inside your four walls for the solution first. Ask:
- Is your service top notch?
- Are you serving a quality product in a timely manner?
- Is hospitality a culture for your entire staff?
If the answer to any of these questions is “no” , “sometimes”, “I think so” or “mostly”; do not spend any money on bringing in new guests. All that does is create expensive and poor reviews on Yelp and other social media sites. Instead, I truly recommend honing your operation towards service excellence.
If the answer to the questions above is “yes”! Here are a few other things to try before you spend your cold hard cash.
- Learn Customer Names And use them. Treat your guests like solid gold every time.
- First Time Guests Have your servers point out newcomers and do anything to “wow” them. Possibly give them something for free. Or at least acknowledge them and introduce yourself. Let them know you are hospitable and that you care.
- Server Contests Before you raise menu prices try some up-selling. Give the server with the highest guest check average or most desserts/appetizers sold a spiff of some sort.
- Clean And Safe Everything your guests touch or come into contact with needs to be clean and crisp. This includes but is not limited to the bathroom, parking lot, table tops, and condiments. Safety is self explanatory.
- Create A Loss Leader I watched a small, out of the way, seafood shack ignite their sales by offering a dollar beer night. I’m not suggesting to do exactly that. But you get the idea.
If you are doing everything above, NICE JOB!! And now you are in a better place to profit from new traffic.
Good Luck and Good Hospitality!