With Australia’s foodie culture expected to continue growing in the next five years, you would be forgiven for thinking that simply starting a restaurant or food business means it will be an instant success.
However, with more competition and increased choices for consumers, it can feel like a constant battle for business. So what are the top performing restaurants and food businesses doing to increase their food sales and make sure that they stay on top? They are focusing on innovation, quality and great customer service.
Here are 7 ways that you can bring those things into focus and increase your food sales.
1. Offer a new service
Whether that’s mobile ordering and payment, food delivery service or a food truck/ stand that is separate from premises. This is all about making it easier and more convenient for the customer.
The trend for online food ordering is especially huge and influential in the fast food world. Not only does this cut down waiting time for the customer (no one wants to stand in a long queue for food) but it also increases your online presence and potentially could win you brand new customers who had never heard of you before.
Third party delivery services are a great way to get your food delivered without having to increase your staffing levels.
Having a food stand / truck means that you can offer customers a quicker buying process and also give them samples of products, which can then lure customers in to buy more. Especially once they taste how good your food tastes. Some studies have shown that offering samples can increase food sales by up to 2000%
2. Create seasonal specials
Overhauling your whole menu every season can be a lot of work and a better option may be to offer time-limited seasonal specials.
The trend for from farm to table has grown over the last few years. People associate better value and more healthy options with seasonal offers, especially if the produce is local.
Offering seasonal items keeps you top of the consumers mind as they will be curious to see what is being offered this month.
3. Utilize social media
Social media gives you the most incredible opportunity to promote your business.
It’s free, can take little time to get going and allows you to engage and connect with customers directly. Social media helps increase awareness of your business and brand and when done well can create a community/ loyal tribe of fans outside of your physical location.
Social media also can have a massive impact of word of mouth referral. With customers posting photos of your products/ meals and tagging you in their photos this creates instant promotional marketing.
Having said that you must ensure that you have a great product, presentation and excellent customer service. Social media posts can go viral and not only create more business but also kill it off. Statistics show that a happy customer will tell 3 other people, while a dissatisfied customer will tell 10!
4. Offer a loyalty program or mid-week offers
Sometimes we can feel like to get more sales we need to increase the flow of new customers into our business. How about flipping this thinking on its head and instead focusing on existing customers? Offering a loyalty card or special promo available to those who already buy from you makes them feel appreciated and can increase visits and sales.
According to LevelUp, members of a restaurant loyalty program spend 19% more on average when redeeming their reward, and their frequency of visiting your restaurant increases 75% between their first and tenth reward redemption. (Source: https://therestaurantexpert.com)
5. Just ask
Strike up a conversation with your customers and see what they are craving or thinking. They may bring something to your attention that you hadn’t even thought of.
This can also be a great way for staff to up-sell to customers and offer different menu options or food products that they may not have tried before.
6. Package it up
Whether you are a cafe or a food product business offering a customer a ‘complete solution’ could be the best way to increase sales.
If you are a cafe you could offer a lunchtime bundle special which includes a sandwich, drink and cake all for one price.
Selling artisan local cheeses? Why not make sure that you also have a perfect chutney your clients can pair with that available so that you can sell it alongside it.
7. Partner with other local business
There are lots of great ways to partner with other local businesses. Like finding a business who can provide the perfect pairing for your product, like the chutney. Asking if you can drop flyers into the local office building for your cafe. Or reaching out on social media to give a shout out to your local supplier.
It spreads the word about you, increases your audience and helps create a community of businesses supporting businesses.
As you can see there are plenty of innovative ways that you can up your game and help increase sales. Which tip could you implement this week? Let us know in the comments below.