Encouraging customers to come through your door and return is vitally important to any successful business.
The food and beverage industry is worth 45 billion dollars per year in Australia, so is it any wonder that so many bars, restaurants and cafes want a piece of the pie? In such a competitive industry you must be able to quickly increase sales and stand out from the crowd by embracing opportunities that exist in your business.
These opportunities are not limited to the food and beverage industry and can be found in almost any business. Below are six tips you can implement right now to increase your sales quickly.
Advances in technology have provided consumers the ability to get what they want, when and where they want it. The rise in popularity of apps such as Deliveroo and Uber Eats means that you can deliver to your customer, literally.
Some chefs may think it blasphemy to put their beautifully crafted meals into take away containers and send it in a vehicle to someone’s house. The reality is that technology is impacting all of us and if our customers are wanting to use it, as in this case having their food delivered to them, then it makes sense to consider embracing it rather than pushing back, especially if it helps you serve another 50 -100 meals in a single night by doing so.
Not only can technology help you to serve more customers, it can also assist in streamlining processes in your restaurant. For us this includes using Revel as our point of sale technology and Deputy for staff rostering and management.
Utilising technology can remove some of the manual labour that was once so common in restaurants. With the right programs in place, you and your management team can spend less time doing spreadsheets and general admin and more time on the floor with customers or training and supporting your staff.
Love it or loath it, social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram can profoundly impact your business if used well. Develop a social media strategy and don’t limit yourself to simply sharing great images of your dishes and venue.
Expand your appeal and followers by sharing what is happening in your community, from events to the people that live there. Explore opportunities to engage one or more social media influencers. Using the right influencer can increase your sales quickly and also bolster your reputation.
Local area marketing
Word of mouth is still an extremely valuable currency so it is important not to forget about your local community in your marketing plan. Consider localised letterbox drops offering specials and promoting events or targeted online promotions.
This can trigger a potential customer to visit and it can also inform previous customers of what your product or service has to offer and prompt them to return. Whilst your focusing on connecting with your customers ensure you set up your business on google and other relevant sites. Being on the map is key in potential customers finding you and being able to read your reviews.
Price it right
In hospitality, food costs and wages can have a critical impact on your bottom line. It’s a fine balancing act to ensure you’re using the best ingredients and methods while still selling at a price that your clientele are happy to pay. Make sure you are regularly evaluating your pricing model in line with operating costs to ensure that you’re achieving a profit margin that will help sustain the business long term.
Build culture, invest in your team
How many times have you been into a restaurant and the server doesn’t know the menu, doesn’t tell you the specials and doesn’t come back and offer you that extra glass of wine?
The team that you build will make or break your business and sometimes this can be particularly hard to manage in an industry which is so transient. Training our staff in the way we do business encourages consistent service and excellent delivery and this is an ongoing process to ensure we are constantly improving and working as a team.
Alongside this we also place an emphasis on rewarding our staff for a great night of sales or if we receive a glowing review. Celebrating the small wins is often a great way to show staff that they’re appreciated which is then great for team culture.
Everyone that will visit your restaurant will have an opinion. Some customers will be very happy, some may not be. This does not mean that you need to change everything based on one bad review or customer complaint. Some people simply have different tastes and likes when it comes to their food and beverages.
However, if you’re asking for constructive feedback and your consistently hearing the same things, then it’s a good idea to explore these and see if you can make any changes to improve. When customers know that they are being listened to, they feel respected and empowered and are not just likely to continue to return but also become loyal customers.
Remember, getting a customer in the door is one thing, once they are in the door it’s up to you to ensure they have a great time and return!
Cam Northway is the founder and Managing Director of Sweet&Chilli Australia, New Zealand and LA, along with being co-founder of new 2018 Chef’s Hat award winner Bondi bar and restaurant, Rocker. His ventures also include the soon-to-be-launched online home delivery business, Cocktail Porter, and part owning a London Pub. For the past eighteen years Cam has immersed himself in the world of hospitality, including international experience working in multiple awarded restaurants and bars along with celebrity clients including Prince Harry, The Rolling Stones and Kanye West and major brands such as Diageo, Pernod Ricard, Bacardi, Red Bull, Schweppes and Hyatt.