Knowing how to effectively run a restaurant is only one component of being a successful restaurateur. Being able to market yourself, your brand, and your locations is just as crucial.  Operators who aren’t focused in the process of finding ways of growing their sales, unfortunately, they’ll end up shrinking their businesses and eventually, suspending operations. There is no other way.  Marketing your restaurant today is about combining all of your traditional marketing tactics, such as menu specials and events, with all of the new ways of communicating your message online. Try putting these 10 sales building tactics to work.

Change Up Your Menu

Keeping your menu fresh by doing periodic analysis, withdrawing poor sellers and adding new items keeps your customers from getting tired from tried and tested menu suggestions and visiting your competitors.  Increasing frequency and spend among current customers is what every operator should strive for as they look to increase sales. New items and menu innovation shows your guests that there is always the chance of finding something new at your facility and will keep them coming back over the long haul.

Surpass Your Competition

Create a signature dish that your customers can only get at your restaurant and you have, in effect, excelled among your competitors in that field. Whether it is a secret recipe, the best steak in town or something off-the-charts unique, having exclusivity around a menu item will drive customer frequency and spending habits. It will also stimulate word-of-mouth in your community that will encourage new customers to come in and ultimately increase sales.

Up Sell Every Customer

A well trained staff is crucial in providing the very best experience to your restaurant guests. Part of their training, especially your wait staff, should be extensive menu training. Not only should they be able to know everything about your menu items and how they are prepared, but they should also be trained on up selling techniques and opportunities. This should include suggesting specials, which should have a higher margin, and appetizers, desserts, beverages and other ala carte items. Additionally, food and wine pairing training will work well to increase sales and grow check average.

Invest In Your Beverage Program

Specialty beverages will carry some of the largest margins of any of the items on your menu. Whether they are signature cocktails or non-alcoholic options you can charge a premium for them and make an excellent margin as you work to increase sales. Make sure they are well merchandised on your menu and inside your restaurant. Table tents, menu inserts and up selling by your servers and bartenders will go a long way in getting traction around beverage sales.

Increase Your Table Turnover

Operational efficiency is a cornerstone of profitability and also influences sales growth in a number of ways. Customer satisfaction is driven in large part by how well your restaurant operates. Happy customers are repeat customers. The timely delivery of food and the speed and efficiency of those serving your guests can affect your sales growth in a big way.  Having efficient table turnover during busy times can incrementally affect your sales growth simply by serving more people and making more sales in the same amount of time. Of course, you can’t hurry people out of the restaurant as they won’t appreciate it (and likely won’t return), but you can streamline for example, the payment process.

For those who have adopted POS systems early, many report up to a 20 percent increase in sales for appetizers, and a 30 percent increase for desserts. There are also those businesses that have incorporated in their operation table-top tablets and POS ordering systems and they’ve witnessed up to 25 percent increase in their sales.  The best practice though is to use these systems in conjunction with servers, giving in that way the customer more freedom, allowing them to order and pay when they choose to, but also to speak with a human being if they’d prefer.

Start A Catering Program

Adding a new business segment to increase sales in your restaurant is an excellent way to encourage growth. Whether trying to attract your local businesses by offering catering services during lunchtime or taking on larger events, catering sales are found money. You have the ability through your current facilities and staff to take on a whole new business stream with almost no or minimum investment. Make sure your catering program is well merchandised in your restaurant, on your website and through social media.

Better Utilize Your Space

Sales per square foot is a good measure of how well you are utilizing your space. Look to squeeze more out of the space you already have to increase sales. For example if you have a part of your dining room that is not well utilized turning it into a space for special events or private parties might help you better capitalize on it. If you have the ability to create or enhance an outdoor space and make it a destination, this can go a long way in attracting guests to your restaurant. Adding some carefully lighting and potted olive trees, for example, can help to define a space and enhance the ambiance. It’s that easy to create something new that could yield additional sales for your restaurant.

Hold Great Events and Creative Promotions

Events and promotions have the potential to increase sales and draw a large number of current and new customers to your restaurant so get creative and get some of these on your marketing calendar. Aligning with a local charity offers up the ability to hold a special event that your local community can really plug into, for example. Centering your marketing efforts around a compelling promotion can drive great sales and encourage those who have never been to your restaurant to give it a try. Learn from the bigger brands by offering something special, at a good perceived value and for a limited period of time.

When you’re trying to increase sales, the easiest thing that you can do is to focus on your existing customer base.  A strategy that remains an underutilized tool is bouncebacks. Actually, you’re trying to arouse your guests’ interest and make them visit your facility from peak times to off-peak times.  While simple in theory and execution, this tactic can produce far more in revenues per dollar invested than traditional advertising. All you do is offer incentives at the point of purchase on popular services to encourage the guest to try your restaurant another time.  You can put into effect a birthday promotion program since guests tend to eat outside on their birthday or you can host food events positioning your restaurant in the center of the food scene in your market.

Utilize Smart Marketing

Having a solid plan to market your restaurant is imperative. In fact, you should be planning your marketing well in advance.  Building a marketing calendar in advance allows you to sync up with holidays, local and national events and other opportunities that can go hand in hand with what you want to accomplish. Your efforts should include a well balanced blend of off line marketing, social media, website promotion and digital marketing. Trial and error and being fluid and flexible is the only way to find the winning combination and that perfect balance that will increase sales.

Reward Your Customers

Keeping your customers coming back by rewarding them for their loyalty is a sales building tactic that it repeats itself. The more your customers spend in your restaurant the more they are rewarded. The more they are rewarded the more they will come in and spend money. So, having a great loyalty program should be near the top of your list when you are trying to increase sales and build your business. There are many ways to implement this in your restaurant so do some research and choose a program that is easy to manage but compelling enough to make guests want to participate.

In the face of increased competition, the most effective strategy is to differentiate your restaurant from the others and create excitement in a way that reinforces your positioning strategy. Again, the promotions are only gimmicky if they are created that way; it is entirely possible to execute these promotions in a way that is completely in alignment with the image of your restaurant no matter how exclusive. Remember, differentiation and exciting tactics like the ones described above are particularly powerful for your facility. Smart marketing is best achieved through non-traditional techniques that are executed inside your restaurant and among your existing customer base. Use the ideas above to spark your own thinking and reap the rewards as other successful foodservice facilities are in your market.



10 Key Tactics to Increase Sales In Your Restaurant. (2017). Retrieved on May 13, 2017, from

Promote a Restaurant: 10 Tactics for Driving F & B Sales. (2017). Retrieved on May 13, 2017, from

Candice Landau. (2017). 6 Ways to Increase Sales for Your Restaurant | Bplans. Retrieved on May 13, 2017, from