Maintaining restaurant profits takes work, but sometimes a few simple changes around your daily operations can increase profits quickly.
Use social media to promote your brand. Social media is largely free. Are you taking advantage? With a small investment of time, you can use Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare and other social networking tools to talk with customers, get feedback, and promote your brand. It can be a slow process, but keep at it: word of mouth today is online.
Ramp up your website and add mobile ordering. "Easy" sells, and mobile is easy. Did you know that 95% of people with smart phones use them to search for local information—like the location of the nearest pizza shop? Not surprising, then, that Pizza Hut orders from mobile apps have now surpassed orders from their online ordering site.
The convenience of mobile ordering drives order volume and frequency, which in turn drive restaurant profits.
Auditing. Secure cash control depends on your operating procedures for cash handling—and how well you train staff to follow them. Put your restaurant POS system to work to simplify and lock down cash practices.
- Set account signature slips to print on receipt printers whenever money is removed from or added to a cash drawer, employee bank, or safe. If your POS doesn't support this, use printed forms to do the job. Have both the manager and the employee sign the slip to verify the amount of cash moving, and keep it under the till for future reference.
- Review your store bank account reports regularly to detect cash control problems early. Look for short/over counts, and suspicious voids, discounts, coupons added after close, or pay-outs.
Keep track of customer habits. Happy customers are loyal customers. So knowing their ordering habits and rewarding them for frequent purchases helps keep them coming back for more.
Make your customer receipts work harder. You hand a receipt to every guest. So make it work for you: It’s easy to engage, entertain, and stimulate further purchases by adding logos, surveys, coupons, and more to the bottom of your customer receipts. Most POS systems will even let you target specific messages to certain customers: like loyalty point balances and rewards for VIP club members, bounceback offers for first-time visitors, or surveys (or online survey links) on random receipts.
Scripted Upselling. Do your staff naturally take advantage of opportunities to upsell? Does it depend on who takes the order? Use your POS to script a upselling into the order process, and increase average ticket totals.
Don't serve water automatically. Sounds silly, maybe, but water service does not increase your profits or sales—and if you’re washing extra water cups that half the time people don’t even touch, it’s costing you even more. So serve it upon request only. As a business owner, you want to get paid for everything you sell. But do you have systems in place to charge for little extras? An extra dip or a refill of soda; extra charges may not seem significant at the time, but can add up in a big way.
Look at My Father’s Place, a pizza shop owned by SpeedLine user Todd Sichelstiel. To help keep a lid on expenses, Todd mandated a 25-cent charge for a glass of water to cover his smallwares costs. He says, "I made $400 in water sales last month – a Styrofoam cup with ice in it!"
Drive sales with Value meals. Bundled meal deals give your guests an incentive to order more. Consumers perceive combo meals as a value option, even if the real cost is close to the same or even equal to the regular price of ordering the items separately.
Whether you’re adding breadsticks and a beverage to a lunch-sized pizza, or designing a complete menu strategy, combo meals sell. A well-designed combo simplifies ordering for customers on the go, appeals to their desire for a deal, and drives sales of higher-margin menu items.
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Promote Quality LTO’s with High Margins: Restaurants can also optimize profit margins with limited time promotional offers. Spotlight high-margin items in prime menu real estate. Use your POS system’s item sales reporting to identify low-margin, slow-moving items to eliminate from your menu, and high-margin items you could promote more aggressively. Start featuring those with limited time offers to drive profits quickly.
Posted by Tricia Hoy| Author's website