Upselling, suggesting doubles, premium booze upgrades, lobster tail add ons – it can seem like there are only so many ways to up your restaurant’s revenue. However, you can maximize revenue by going beyond the traditional restaurant dining experience: by using retail and your expertise, you can generate additional profits, extend your offerings, and develop repeat revenue through customer loyalty.
Let’s look at a couple of out-of-the-box options for increasing your restaurant’s revenue.
Do you run a coffee shop with home-roasted beans? Sell them! If you’re a microbrewery with a creative brew, offer it for sale in growlers or kegs. Selling something you’re known for as a branded product will inevitably generate a secondary revenue stream. And, even more effective than selling your wares to individuals is to sell to other businesses: think corporations, sister shops, and even other restaurants. As long as you have the production capacity to meet the demand, you’ll have added income, and your brand exposure will increase exponentially.
Real world example: Chicago based Big Shoulders Coffee markets themselves as “fresh roasted, no nonsense, Artisan coffee.” In addition to their brick and mortar coffee shop, they have a whole selection of beans for wholesale purchase or by-the-bag online. They’ve even sweetened the deal by adding cups, tote bags, travel mugs, and a weekender box to their offering.
Do you have homemade pizza on the menu? Have a pizza-making night. Do you sell oysters on the half shell? Run an oyster shucking workshop. Does your restaurant have a particularly jovial, personable chef with a love for sharing recipes? Invite guests into the kitchen for a workshop. Extending the experience of your restaurant into hands-on participation not only serves to increase your revenue with the workshop fees, but also creates loyalty from customers turned students.
Real world example: New York City based Thai restaurant NGAM offers monthly Thai cooking courses where customer/students learn to cook crowd-pleasing staples like papaya salad, pad thai, and green curry. With a top chef who does the teaching, the dishes are accessible for any skill level. In addition, newly anointed Thai chefs receive a digital copy of the recipes, a cooking apron, and always a deal sweetener – a beer!
The perfect gift for a regular? A tangible, take home gift of the things they love and that make them a regular at your restaurant. For example: A steak house could create a basket that includes steak seasoning, a branded apron, a specialty marinade and horseradish. Alternatively, a cafe could include a branded mug, a gift certificate, a bag of the most popular coffee beans, and a package of cookies.
Real world example: Toronto’s Rahier Patisserie is most well-known for their cookies, tarts and other baked goods. Now they can be packaged and delivered in gift baskets. A perfect upsell for customer thinking of a business gifts or something special to send on occasions like Mother’s day.
Otherwise known as walking advertisements, if you’ve got a cool product offering, brand image, or slogan, why not make it into apparel? Trucker hats or t-shirts are relatively cheap to produce and can be a hot sell if you’ve got the creative flare to design apparel customers feel comfortable wearing.
Real world example: Hooters may be best known for their branded apparel, but numerous other restaurants are incorporating retail into their offering. Take Toronto’s Steam Whistle brewery for example. With everything from a wind breaker, to mittens, to a giant wall mounted beer cap, if you can think it, Steam Whistle probably has it for sale.
All it takes is a little creative imagination to find ways beyond the normal offerings to increase your revenue. A restaurant that thinks outside the box can create a strong sense of community, drive interest, and maximize profits.
About the Author
Andrea is a Content Marketing Specialist and Editor at TouchBistro where she writes about restaurant and dining trends, restaurant management, and food culture. A self-affirmed food geek, Andrea devours cookbooks and food blogs. She also knows how to make a killer kale salad.More Content by Andrea Victory