The 4 Secrets to Increasing Your Restaurant Sales in 2022

Between COVID surges, winter weather, and continued supply chain disruptions, it’s not an easy time to be a restaurant owner. We closed the year at The Restaurant Leadership Conference (RLC), which brought together the leading suppliers and industry experts who shared valuable insights into staying competitive through today’s challenges.  

Below are the 4 key takeaways from these leaders to help you increase your profit margins.

1. Evaluate and increase marketing efforts

Your customers are reading their emails, browsing social media channels, and driving near billboards. It’s time to be anywhere and everywhere the customer is. Review your marketing efforts in 2021 and revamp them in 2022. What worked well last year isn’t going to amplify your sales this year. Ensure you are maximizing your ability to get in front of new and existing customers. 

During one education session at RLC, ADM Marketing President Stephen Farr-Jones mentioned that 60% of the success of a marketing campaign is accurate targeting. It’s important to target promotions and track success to get more efficient with your marketing. 

To start small, consider spending time on your company’s search engine optimization (SEO) to improve your discoverability on Google. If you have the budget for larger investments, consider influencer marketing and adding 3rd party delivery services to promote your brand.

2. Optimize your menu

Restaurant reservations are returning to early 2020 numbers and menu prices are up 5.3% YoY— the highest in 40 years. That’s according to Patrick Noone, Executive Vice President of Technomic. For now, consumers are tolerating price increases but there will be a tipping point ahead. 

Have you been serving the same options for years? It’s time to introduce new appetizers, main entrees, and desserts to entice customers to come into your store. You can even consider adding a few seasonal items to mix things up. A fresh menu is something engaging to introduce on your website, email campaigns, social media channels, and more. You can even shorten your regular menu to optimize for only the popular – or most profitable – items. By doing so, you can reduce costs and maximize margin. 

Continuously using customer feedback and transactional data to determine which new menu items to keep, and which to remove is another way to improve your operations. Many small restaurants have a lot of moving parts and don’t tend to focus on the data they already have. By reviewing tickets from the last few months, restaurant owners can identify which items have low repeat purchases.

3. Leverage personalization to improve revenue streams

It’s critical to make sure that your restaurant is top-of-mind for customers deciding where to dine. A McKinsey report explains companies that grow faster drive 40% more of their revenue from personalization, versus their slower-growing counterparts. 

How do you introduce personalization? One option is to invest in loyalty programs to help increase purchase frequency. Our Vice President of grocery, Tyler Renaghan, said the nation’s top-performing retailers–who are using loyalty programs as effectively as possible–are getting about 30% of their existing customers to sign up, and about 10% to 15% of those customers to remain loyal. From those metrics, make sure to consider whether those numbers earn you enough profit to offset the cost of the loyalty program itself.

4. Focus on Customer Lifetime Value

Your total Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) impacts your profitability. It also provides a picture of the business’s long-term and it’s financial viability. Find your most valuable customers and treat them differently. Simultaneously, find your least valuable customers and identify how to increase their CLV. Nudge some of your customers by segmenting and targeting communications through promotional offers. 

One brand who has executed this strategy well is Panera. The company introduced their coffee/tea subscription program to drive customers into the store, 70% of whom added additional food–as in, more than the usual amount–to the order. This is a prime example of how to effectively increase your basket size from loyal customers.  

A strong data-driven strategy can also help increase your revenue. In the RLC education session titled Accelerating the Journey to Guest Loyalty, one restaurant found out that they had a high third-party delivery rate from one specific delivery app, and were able to target messaging to bring those customers back into the restaurant’s owned channels (like their website). This is the power of analyzing your data to make informed business decisions. 

While these are just some of the ways you can increase your sales, you’ll be off to a great start if you implement these into your overall business strategy.

As a bonus, we’ll add that Upside taps into a retailer’s own data to:  

  • Find customers anywhere and everywhere they are — because they’re always with their phone 
  • Analyze buying behavior to provide every single user with the personalized promotion they need to behave differently 
  • Keep every promotion is margin-bound so the restaurant earns guaranteed profit 

That means you bring in new customers, get existing customers to visit more often, and get all customers to buy more in the most profitable way possible. 

Happy planning!

Learn how you can increase sales in 2022 and beyond