Another key factor in sales growth, based off of your menu alone, are the cents that you place at the end of the price. They play a roll in whether or not a consumer wants to purchase an item. When they view a menu item that is priced at ‘9.99’ rather than ‘9.95’, they are less likely to go ahead and purchase. It is just a mental reaction that occurs when someone sees the .99, they view it as not gaining the best “deal” from the transaction. When .95 is just far enough away from the next dollar amount that it makes it more in the consumers reality to want to go for that item. It’s all about perception and reading into how they are processing the information. At the end of the day, you are not going to really miss the four cents, and you will gain the profit ten fold from customers choosing the items that they normally would have avoided. You can also eliminate cents all together for optimal results. That avenue is proven the most effective and profitable route.
Food for Thought:
- Are you willing to eliminate cents?
- Do you believe in marketing to the consumer, and how it can boost your sales?
Did you know that dropping the dollar sign from your menu could exponentially increase revenue and growth profit margins?
When creating or updating your menus, it is important to think about the crucial significance of presenting the dollar sign next to the menu item. This is a faux pas, and many restaurants fall for the regulations per industry standard. However, larger corporations have managed to infuse market strategy studies in order for them to unlock the human psyche and logic patterns. This in turn, lets you control the actions of your consumers via controlled research. In this case, it has been proven that when you have the dollar sign in front of the menu item, customers are less likely to spend as much money. Hence removing the dollar sign from the equation allows for the customers to feel more comfortable with their purchase, pick higher price points and not feel subject to buyers remorse. (This concept is also applicable to prices when they are written out, i.e. “Ten Dollars”. So avoid “dollar” from your verbiage and $ from sight).
Food for Thought:
- Do you want to increase the chances of sale profits?
- Do you believe in market research?
- Have you heard of this menu concept in the past?
- Will you change to adapt to a more lucrative approach?
Photo courtesy of Harlan Publick: http://www.harlanpublick.com/pdf/Publick-Menu.pdf
When in the food and beverage business, you want to make sure that you are at the top of your game; but we don’t have to tell you this, you already know that. There are a plenty of people that are just waiting to take your place or steal your business. This world is a revolving door, until you get a firm grasp on the ground beneath your feet, it can be swept away from under you. You have to make sure that you in charge of your own success. Knowledge is the key to all great successors. In order to stay well educated, you must take cooking classes; this will help you learn specialty cooking tips, aide you in the ability to step in for anyone when something goes awry in the kitchen, come up with innovative menu items or specials and simply understand culinary techniques and needs. Another wonderful exercise is having a wine connoisseur come to teach you, as well as your staff, about proper wine etiquette and pairings for the dishes that are on your menu. When staff has this knowledge, it is much more appealing to diners that want to be guided in their decision-making. This will leave a better lasting impression, and help to boost consumer returns. Lastly, you want to make sure that you aren’t rusty on those business and accounting classes that you took back in college. Taking refresher courses at your local state university, specialty school, or community college can really go a long way in the financial security and stability of your establishment.
Food for Thought:
- Are you continually furthering your knowledge/education?
- Would you be open to cooking classes or wine pairing tutorials?
- Do you see how those exercises can be beneficial?
- Are you up-to-date on your accounting/finance/business skills?
Making sure that you are consistently nurturing the relationship that you have with your staff is pivotal to a thriving business. Just saying good morning or asking them how their day is going, when you are in house, goes a long way. When the staff knows that you care about them and your business, they want to work even harder to execute their tasks with the best care and customer service. This will only benefit you in the end. Also, demonstrating that you are willing to get your hands a little “dirty” at times and do anything that you would ask them to do (especially when you are busy), proves to them that your heart is invested in the company. You want it to succeed, they will see that, and want it too.
That alone will not make lasting impact; you have to go deeper with the staff as a whole. If you have a single establishment, try to make a weekly company meeting. If you have multiple locations, have a weekly meeting per location, and then an all staff meeting with everyone at a central location once a month. Wednesday is a great day, due to its position in the week. Scheduling the meeting in between shifts or before opening is usually the most convenient. You want to make sure that all of the staff is there. This becomes an outlet for you to hear the direct feedback from your workers. You will discover that their insight is one of the most powerful tools that you have at your disposal. The better you treat your staff, the more likely they will be willing to help you perfect your craft. This gathering also allows for materials/ideas to be presented and creative juices to flow. Some of the best ideas and innovations are group efforts. So run your business as a team, it will boost moral and take your business to new heights.
Food for Thought:
- Are you actively trying to communicate with your staff?
- Do you already have weekly, biweekly or monthly staff meetings? If so are they working?
- Do you think that your business can benefit from the open communication contrived via the staff meetings?
- Are you a hands on boss/owner/manager? Are you willing to do anything that you would ask your employees to do (if the restaurant is busy and needs “all hands on deck”)?
When it comes to the menu, people automatically think more is better. People like variety, right? Well, does that variety help your bottom line? Is it going to boost your sales, or will it ultimately cause you to waste money? Additionally, expensive menu items don’t always turn a profit as much as reasonably priced items that will produce more sales, thus accumulating more profit. You have to consider your target market. Should your business be more internally oriented, and persuade the customer to want what your company has; or should you be market oriented and as a company offer what the consumer wants. You have to figure out whom you are selling to, what they need, what they want, and maybe what they don’t even know they want yet. Market mentality is crucial in the success of any business, whether it be a restaurant or a tech company. So find your niche and run with it. Profits will follow.
Example: A national chain that has really made a “food print” over this expansive country, is The Capital Grille. They have perfected the combination of minimalism, staples and variety. With those three notions, a restaurateur is really able to captivate an audience, keep existing clientele, and draw in future viable consumers. To give you a sampling of their dinner menu, it starts with a variety of seafood and steak appetizers, which appease to even the pickiest of pallets. For the main course, they have their eight signature dishes. Some of which include, Double Cut Lamb Rib Chops, Dry Aged Sirloin Steak and Filet Mignon. Then for those nonmeat eaters, they serve up seafood options, consisting of Broiled Lobster, Seared Citrus Glazed Salmon and Sushi-Grade Sesame Seared Tuna with Gingered Rice. To further review their menu, please visit: https://www.thecapitalgrille.com/pages/menu/dinner.aspx?id=8055
Food for Thought:
- Does your menu have too much variety? Is the cost of stocking a surplus of different foods outweighing your profit margin?
- What does your target market want?
- Are you internally oriented, market oriented or somewhere in the middle?
- What is lacking in the marketplace that you can add to your menu, and gain customers?
A great feature that restaurant owners should look into, is a customer service app built into their site. This will allow for customers to send comments about their experience, in return, you are able to respond and even send them an e-coupon. This can help you avoid sticky situations on Yelp or other review sites. You want to make sure that the customers’ concerns are being heard and addressed, that way you can turn the situation around, and earn a repeat consumer, rather than lose one. This is also a great avenue for positive feedback that will help motivate and inspire your team. So speak to the developer who is designing your site, and figure out your own way to make this a reality. Three out of every five restaurant goers review online/look for reviews when determining where to dine.
Food for Thought:
- Do you already have a feedback system in place? If so, is the model that you have working for you?
- Would you be willing to activate a feedback system on your site? Do you feel that it would be beneficial?
- Is customer service/satisfaction at the top of your priority list?
- Do those pesky Yelp reviews fester in you? Wouldn’t you like to shift them to majority positive?
Don’t let the portal’s use any discounts, coupons or promotions via their site. You need to make sure that you are reserving that for your own site. You want to make it more appealing for the customer to order from your direct site rather than someone else’s. You also want to make sure that you aren’t over advertising for the portal’s (or advertising at all for that matter). They give you free stuff for that reason specifically. At the end of the day, the most important task at hand is to promote your restaurant.
Food for Thought:
- Are you using your employees, website and restaurant’s brand to promote for another company?
- Are you allowing portal sites to benefit off of promotions/discounts for your business?
- Do you think that you need to make a shift in the way that you are executing marketing?
Turning a profit is pertinent to the success of your business. You need to generate alternative ways to increase profits, one of which is directing customers to your website. In order to entice consumers to come to your site, you have to introduce marketing via advertising and promotional discounts. Make sure that they feel that it will benefit them from heading to your site and placing an order. Offer up discounts such as, 10% off your first order, or $15 off a purchase of $50 or more (limit one per household). You can also create a loyalty program for your restaurant. This will help satisfy current repeat clientele and increase the value of your new customer base, by increasing the percentage of repeat business you will generate in that market.
Example: One corporate restaurant that did a great job in implementing a loyalty rewards program is Red Robin. Its formal title is the Red Royalty Program; it consists of four major counterparts. 1. Free birthday burger – you can choose from over twenty-four premium burgers. It is valid once within the month of said customers birthday. 2. You receive $20 towards your sixth visit – in order to redeem, you have to visit five times within the first five weeks of having your Red Royalty card. 3. Every 10th item is free – you can choose from burgers, salads, sandwiches and entrees. 4. Exclusive surprises – this includes specials and deals throughout the year. You can learn more at: https://royalty.redrobin.com/terms
Food for Thought:
- Do you feel that you are doing all that you can to muster up new consumers?
- If you are already offering promotions/discounts, are they working? Do you feel like you need to re-strategize the types of deals that you are offering?
- Would you consider implementing loyalty programs?
- Are you marketing with promotional materials and in print/web outlets? Or just in house?
So now that we have reviewed taking control of your website, you also want to make sure that you have online ordering capability, in addition to being mobile friendly. These are two keys characteristics that every professional site needs to have. If you don’t have online ordering one of two things will usually occur: 1. The customer will use a portal (Seamless/Grubhub); and in doing so, you will then owe another company a percentage for a food order that you could have had complete profit off of. 2. The customer will be annoyed and turn to another restaurant to order their meal(s) from. When you don’t have a mobile friendly site, it may turn customers away. Everything is technology based these days, if you aren’t on the bandwagon; you are already left in the dust. We live in the age where there is an app for everything. Customers are looking for instant gratification; they will not be pleased if they can’t order your food from their smart phone or tablet.
Food for Thought:
- Do you think that you are currently losing business to portal sites, in turn, not making the full profit?
- Are you willing to upgrade to online ordering and mobile capability?
- If you are already equipped with the latest technology, software and web design, are you seeing benefits from it and a return on your investment?