A lot has changed in the restaurant industry in the last few years. 2015 was the first year ever that consumer spend at restaurants outpaced that at grocery stores.* Restaurants are faced with more challenges, however. Food costs have become increasingly volatile. Competition for experienced labor is at an all-time high. Health and sustainability concerns among consumers are on the rise. And technology has become absolutely critical to maintain in up-to-the-minute fashion.
Yes, a lot has changed, but one thing remains the same. There are still only four ways to increase restaurant sales, and Rewards Network has some ideas on how we can do that together:
1. Increase the number of new customers.
There are any number of ways to draw people through your door, at costs large and small, but only two vehicles to do so: in-person and online. Driving more customers through exterior and directional signage, catering community events, and other word of mouth efforts can be a huge boon to your bottom line. The upfront costs required to support these opportunities can be hefty, though. A merchant cash advance is an ideal way to fund new projects that produce real dollars and cents for you down the line.
Online opportunities to increase the number of new customers to your restaurant include upgrading your web presence, but a single website is no longer enough to compete with the over 600,000 restaurants advertising on the Internet today. Rewards Network features your restaurant on its 18 loyalty dining program sites, as well as drives local customers to you through geo-targeted weekly emails. Your Internet footprint grows with an influx of over 250,000 new customers joining our rewards programs every week.
2. Increase the frequency of your existing customers.
Believe it or not, the surest way to guarantee a repeat visit from an existing customer is not just to have great food. Our data and rewards increases return frequency more than any other factor, and Rewards Network knows how to help you capitalize on both.
With our exclusive comment management system, restaurant owners and managers can keep the conversation going with customers even after they’ve left the table. Responding to customer feedback not only keeps you informed, but it also gives you additional opportunity to make a good impression — even if the initial feedback was negative. Every one of Rewards Network’s published reviews are verified and tied to an actual dining check, ensuring that your efforts are well worth the time spent. Your staff receives valuable, substantive feedback that you can actually use to make improvements, and your customers will come back more loyal every time. In fact, guests who receive a reply to their comments are proven to dine 20% more often and spend 16% more when they do.
3. Increase your per-customer spend amount.
Traditionally, restaurants look to limited time offers (LTOs) and menu design to drive higher tickets from new and repeat diners. But who those customers are is as important as what you serve them. Rewards Network members are high income, big spenders who dine out and travel frequently, who spend 25% more on average per check than non-members at our program restaurants. The marketing services we provide to every one of our restaurant clients doesn’t just reward our members with loyalty miles and points, but targets select members with special offers and bonuses that encourage increased spend as well.
Most importantly, you want a restaurant marketing strategy that doesn’t rely on couponing or discounting your food and beverage. Discounts devalue your product and the restaurant experience as a whole, not to mention cut into the slim profit margin most restaurants already enjoy. It’s one of the reasons why Rewards Network members always pay full menu pricing with no discount. Plus, the more they spend, the more they’re rewarded. That’s incentive enough.
4. Increase the number of table turns and efficiency.
Quite simply, the more customers you serve in a restaurant shift, the better your sales are going to be at the end of the night. A lot of factors go into an efficient, but still enjoyable, experience for your diners. Not the least of these is how your front of house staff handles seat management and order communication between the customer and your back of house staff. Extensive training on how to keep plates moving fluidly out to tables can help, but so can maintaining efficient equipment — from ovens and refrigerators to POS systems.
How your restaurant is laid out can also have a profound effect on the efficiency of your customer service. Having an outdoor patio, a party room, or the right mix of table set-ups for your typical customer is key. You don’t want a room full of four-tops when most of your clientele are parties of two. It’s leaving a significant amount of money on the table.
All of these purchases and renovations cost money, and Rewards Network is here to help with restaurant financing that’s flexible to the ebb and flow of your business. Explore our merchant cash advance products today to see how we can increase your restaurant sales and help you take on challenges head first — and succeed.
*U.S. Commerce Department report, April 2015.
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Our marketing and financing for restaurants requires no new processes and no additional training. Let Rewards Network do the work of connecting you with your customers today.