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Restaurant Profitability: What Drives More Diners in the Door?

Nine out of 10 people love eating out in restaurants. Four in 10 swear that restaurants are an essential part of their lifestyle. Clearly, you’re not likely to run out of customers when you open up a place of your own.

But how do you make sure those diners never lose interest in your restaurant when some new dining destination rises?

Small Changes, Big Impact

You can attract and retain diners without resorting to expensive strategies. In some cases, small adjustments could work to drive up your revenue.

Offer Free Wi-Fi

Free Wi-Fi offers two benefits: attraction and satisfaction. Diners are not only going to choose your restaurant over another establishment, but they’re also likely to stay put when they can work online. About 62 percent of businesses offering free Wi-Fi have seen customers stay longer; 50 percent spent more money.

Access to free Wi-Fi also allows your customers to share photos of your food on their social media pages. They can post reviews instantly.

Just change your passwords regularly to manage access.

Serve All-Day Breakfasts

A report from the National Restaurant Association reveals 55 percent of consumers will get breakfast items more if it were offered all day. So why not cater to people who can’t seem to make it in time for breakfast or diners who prefer to have theirs any time of the day?

Consider how such an adjustment wouldn’t require training or new ingredients; it’s merely an operational change. Even fast food chains recognize its value. McDonald’s, for example, considered extending its breakfast menu to all-day, which it projected would add 1 percent to its franchise-wide sales.

Whether you’re calculating the cost of opening a new diner or considering the cost of a restaurant franchise, factor in an all-day breakfast. And you could generate all-day sales.

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Turn Slow Days Into Busy Times

When do you make the lowest sales? Your restaurant is likely to see slow days or times, even seasons. Find out when fewer diners come in and entice more to walk in by offering discounts.
Do half off on appetizers or offer early Happy Hour.
When you offer up incentives, diners will be motivated to walk in even when it’s not their usual time.

What’s Eating Your Profits?

When you’ve done every small adjustment possible and your profit margins still look thin, it may be time to look at other factors. You could be spending more money even when customers aren’t coming in regularly.
The cost of running your restaurant could spike for the following reasons:

  • Your servers are throwing away too much after clearing tables and your kitchen staff seems to clear out too much produce. Food waste is easily remedied by rethinking portion sizes and managing your inventory.
  • You have a high turnover rate for employees. Employees who leave at breakneck speed means more money spent on onboarding new ones. Improve your compensation package and you may retain talented staff.
  • Your customers wait too long for a table or for their food. This means not enough tables are being turned over; such poor customer service could cost you lost opportunities. Improve your processes, and you may just see a better turnover and improved customer satisfaction.

Consumers have numerous options when it comes to eating out. Make sure your restaurant is one of them by making small adjustments and resolving issues that cut your profits.

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