The restaurants that survived the pandemic restrictions best were the ones that managed to pivot and adapt to ever-changing circumstances—whether from the state restrictions or customer preferences. The increased emphasis on delivery, takeout and curbside pickup, will remain relevant. As limitations ease, the focus for restauranteurs will be on how to increase ticket size and overall profits. And that will once again include on-premises dining.
When maximizing profits, instead of looking at your annual sales, break it down to one order at a time. Here are some ways to increase ticket size at your on-premises restaurant to maximize your revenue potential.
Make Your Menu Do the Work
One of your biggest customer draws is, of course, your menu offerings. HungerRush 360 can provide a wealth of information. It shares insights on the performance, popularity, and profitability of each menu item. Use this crucial piece of technology to review what is selling well and remove what isn’t working. You can also consider these tweaks to your menu to increase individual ticket size:
- Add unique seasonal items to promote to guests: The limited availability of seasonal items can make them more desirable, as customers’ FOMO (fear of missing out) is activated. They especially want to grab favorite items while they can. There are plenty of possibilities for any season, holiday, or event. For example: minty “shamrock” or Irish cream drinks or desserts for St. Patrick’s Day, fish entrées during Lent, and of course, anything that’s pumpkin spice flavored in the fall.
- Highlight food pairings and popular items: Encourage on-premises diners to try something new. Or, entice them to add something extra to their orders by making suggestions in your descriptions. Tell them what matches well or what other customers like. For example:
- “This entrée pairs best with our peachy keen cocktail or our local merlot wine.”
- “Our top-rated appetizers for groups of four or more include jalapeño poppers and ahi tuna mini tacos.”
- “Upgrade your side to our deluxe mac and cheese (a fan favorite!) for just $2 more.”
- Offer to-go kits: Perhaps you have already put together meal kits so that takeout customers can recreate your signature dishes at home. These kits can also help you use up extra ingredient inventory to maximize the value of your weekly ordering supply. Consider expanding the idea to offer on-premises diners to-go kits for cocktails or desserts. You may already have modified your menu for delivery to know what items will travel well and what won’t. Ice cream, for example, is probably not the best candidate. Advertise these types of deals on your menu:
- Love our signature cocktail? Make more at home with a kit to-go for $12.
- Exclusive for the week of Cinco de Mayo: take home a party pack of our most popular margarita mixes.
- Too full for dessert now? Get it packaged to-go and enjoy it later!
All of these strategies can entice diners to increase ticket sizes. If each table served in a shift makes one upgrade, the revenue boost will make a difference.
Boost Customer Confidence and Sales
Once you’ve decided on your menu, consider the newest innovation to present this information to your diners: QR code menus. Quick Response (QR) codes are a type of square matrix barcode. With these codes, customers can quickly scan using a mobile device to transmit a wealth of data. Instead of using traditional, publicly-handled menus, customers can scan a QR code with their cell phone camera and get the entire menu on their smartphone. Depending on your restaurant concept, you may use innovative digital signage. Either option brings a host of advantages for your business, your staff and your customers.
- Maximize efficiency for your staff. A digital version of your on-premises menu has plenty of room to include information about your menu items. Photos help diners see what they will get, but you can elaborate on ingredient lists for guests with dietary needs. You can even provide diners with information about your delivery and takeout menus for future orders. Your employees will spend less time explaining the specials or answering questions about menu items. Instead, they can spend more time ensuring a quality experience with attentive service. Another benefit is reducing the chance for order errors, increasing customer satisfaction and the likelihood of repeat business.
- Save money on printing and maintenance. Traditional menus are expensive to print, especially if your offerings change frequently and require new menu versions. Plus, if there was ever a time to cut unnecessary costs, 2021 is the perfect time. Digital menus are easy to update whether customers are using them for on-premises dining, or reviewing the menu on your mobile app or online ordering site prior to visiting in person. Not to mention, even when laminated, physical menus are difficult to keep clean and sanitized, which leads to the next benefit of QR menus or digital signage.
- Keep your guests safe. Even when customers feel safe enough to return to on-premises dining, their comfort level will increase when they don’t have to come into contact with as many communal surfaces. Instead of handling a menu touched and breathed on by countless other people, they can now browse at their leisure on their devices. The safer they feel, the more they will enjoy the experience and want to come back, increasing ticket size and overall revenue for your business.
Another technology improvement that will increase customer satisfaction and ticket size are digital payment options. More specifically, we’re talking about a tablet point of sale (POS). Tablet POS has many advantages for ordering. Two of the benefits are increased accuracy and mobility, and pay-at-table methods to make the experience even better.
Here are additional perks of Tablet POS:
- It saves a lot of time, which translates to money. Guests no longer have to wait for the check to drop, wait again for an employee to collect the payment. Then, run it to the POS terminal, and wait for them to return with their receipt and card or change. Now, they can pay the bill quickly and easily, increasing satisfaction and enabling your staff to use time more wisely. Tables will turn over more quickly, which means more customers can be served per shift, which means more revenue.
- It can increase tips. Paying with these devices can increase tips. It’s similar to how ordering with their phone or a tableside device encourages diners to increase their ticket sizes. A positive experience makes customers more inclined to tip generously. Plus, the checkout process can include prompts with pre-calculated suggestions for adding the tip.
- It’s contactless. Diners no longer have to handle bill folders and pens that have been passed around among servers and other customers. They feel more confident that their financial data is secure because their credit or debit card never leaves their possession.
Customers appreciate when your restaurant takes measures to improve their safety as well as the dining experience. In turn, their satisfaction—and their spending—will increase.
Invest in Text Ordering and Text Marketing
Successful business owners understand the need to reach customers where they are—and these days, that means on their cell phones. Another technology innovation that can increase ticket size and boost overall revenue is the use of SMS (Short Message Service). Specifically for text ordering and marketing. Texting is simple: it doesn’t require customers to download an app or have an Internet connection.
Plus, it has become the preferred method of communication, particularly among millennials and Gen Z. Currently, these are the demographics with the most extended lifetime value potential. Recent statistics reveal that 98% of all text messages are opened (compared to only 20% of emails). 95% of texts are read and responded to within three minutes of delivery.
Moreover, nine out of 10 customers say they want to communicate with businesses via text. If you don’t think this is worth the investment, you’re missing out on revenue to keep current customers happy. Not only that, but you’re able to branch out to new potential customers. All these efforts drive back to the same goal: increasing ticket size.
Here’s how texting can work to your advantage:
- Texting is personal and immediate. Customers like feeling a sense of connection with their favorite brands. This feeling is increased when they receive personalized offers and communications. Text marketing can integrate with your RMS, accessing analytical insights. Here, you’ll learn customer preferences and histories, enabling you to tailor and target your marketing messages for greater effectiveness. Plus, texting is almost universally accessible.
- Convert first-time guests to loyal fans with text marketing to promote your loyalty program. One survey showed 72% of consumers would be more likely to sign up for a loyalty program through a text message. It makes the registration process simple and easy for them. Plus, there’s nothing better than having access to unique customer insights to market exactly what they’re looking for based on previous orders. And loyalty programs drive revenue. You’ll learn more about your customers and be able to create more relevant offers.
- Use text marketing to stay top-of-mind. Your guests are much more likely to open and read a text right away. With text marketing, you can keep them up-to-date on your latest specials. Don’t forget other news such as new menu items, changes in operational hours, or special events such as live music nights. With data from your RMS reports, you can review peak days and encourage specials on slower nights. Time a tempting meal suggestion to be sent during the period when most customers are likely to be ordering dinner. You can even engage them by polling about what they’d like to see in your restaurant or on your menu. The more feedback from your customers, the more money you’ll make in the long run.
- Texts improve ordering as well as marketing. Even when on-premises dining has returned to more normal levels, you will still want to maintain your off-premises options. Customers will continue to expect the convenience of delivery and takeout or curbside pickup. A text ordering channel makes it easy for them, even when they can’t use an app or website. Plus, you increase the likelihood of order accuracy. Diners are in control of entering their exact specifications, and orders are fed directly into your RMS. Text ordering can increase ticket size, as all types of digital orders tend to be more extensive than on-premises. After customers are set up with a PIN and payment method, they can place repeat orders even faster.
Text messages allow customers to view your brand more favorably. Not to mention, you can utilize a strategy that your competitors may not be taking full advantage of yet. This will keep you ahead of other restaurants concepts similar to yours.
Enhance Your Guest Experience to Increase Ticket Size
The key to recovering from the pandemic and growing your profits will be to provide the best possible customer experience. This applies to both on-premises and off-premises diners. The most effective strategies to accomplish this goal include:
- Revitalizing your restaurant menu
- Improving your customers’ safety and confidence
- Enhancing your marketing abilities where the right tools (and the right provider) improve customer satisfaction and increase ticket size.
Diving into your restaurant data is crucial to make informed decisions for your business. One of the best investments you can make is our HungerRush 360 system. This solution can help you track everything from menu item sales to customer loyalty stats for your business. Integrating technology solutions will take much of the day-to-day work off your plate, saving you time and money.
HungerRush has a team of industry experts with years of experience designing solutions for restaurant needs. One of their latest additions is TextAI. This text solution uses artificial intelligence and natural language processing (NLP) to enable text ordering and text marketing messages.
Your restaurant can harness the speed and convenience of texting, which will support all areas of your business. Plus, utilize any of HungerRush’s restaurant solutions to increase your revenue and help your restaurant prosper after a difficult year. To learn more, contact one of our team members to schedule a consultation or request a demo today.
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