restaurant bread basket
Restaurant Management

6 Tips to Improve Restaurant Profitability

If you work in the restaurant world, you’re probably aware of this foundational truth: Profit margins are low, and even a small misstep can cause them to be nonexistent.

Luckily, there are a few tried-and-true ways to improve your restaurant’s profitability. Here’s your starter guide:

1. Package Meals

If you’re not already offering a few prix fixe meals, start doing it now. In addition to allowing you to sell your highest priced items in such a way that they feel like a bargain to your customers, this format also encourages your customers to try items, including cocktails and desserts, that they might not purchase if they weren’t packaged.

2. Alter Your Menu’s Language

The language you use on your menu has a major impact on how your customers feel about it. With this in mind, re-write the menu to include more descriptive terms, which research has shown can boost your sales by nearly 30 percent.

Additionally, train your waitstaff to change their language. Instead of asking close-ended questions, waiters should focus on sales-oriented language that makes diners feel excited about your offerings. For example, input some language that talks about how creamy and velvet-rich your chocolate mousse dessert is, rather than just naming it on the menu.

3. Re-Format Your Menu

It doesn’t just matter how your menu sounds, it also matters how it looks. With this in mind, redesign your menu to be as visually appealing as possible.

Be sure any images you use on the menu tell a story, and that the layout you choose guides your diners through the menu in the most profitable way possible. For added impact, place your menu’s most profitable items in the upper-right corner, since that’s where a diner’s eye will land first.

4. Offer Freebies

Imagine this: a guest sits down at a table in your restaurant, and a waiter brings them a basket of warm, freshly baked bread and butter. As they look at your menu, they realize that new pasta dish they see will go beautifully with the bread, so they order it.

In this case, the bread is known as an “introducer,” and it’s one of the primary reasons that customer chose a profitable menu item. By providing these free “introducers” to every customer who takes a seat in your restaurant, you can set up natural food pairings and encourage diners to choose higher ticket dinners.

5. Make Dining Special

If eating at your restaurant feels like a celebration, diners are likely to spend more. With this in mind, train your servers to ask if diners are celebrating a special occasion, and sell suggestively based on their response to the question.

Support the feeling of celebration by playing appropriate music and creating an atmosphere that makes diners want to linger.

6. Value Each Customer

Your customers should feel valued when they dine with you. In addition to enticing them to spend more, this also increases the likelihood they’ll send their friends and family to dine with you as well.

Offering free food, like bread or chips, is a great way to inspire this feeling. Generosity inspires generosity, and customers will respond in kind.

A More Profitable Restaurant Starts Here

While increasing your restaurant’s profit margin can be difficult, these six tips are great places to start. While you don’t have a huge amount of control over the prices you negotiate with suppliers or the prices you can charge for various menu items, you can create a sales atmosphere that encourages diners to opt for higher ticket items and support the profitability of your restaurant as a result.