how to increase restaurant sales
by Andreea Dobrila

Do you want to learn how to increase restaurant sales fast and drive a nice profit to fuel your bank account?

The answer’s pretty simple, and I bet you already know it: it all comes down to satisfying your clients’ wants and needs.

They are the ones who have the credit cards that pay for your services. However, you can be in control of what they see and believe by influencing and shaping their shopping mindset – all to your benefit.

The solution to increasing restaurant sales is straightforward: fulfill your customers’ wishes. You’ll draw them to your restaurant like a moth to a flame. Don’t do it, and that’ll be like the kiss of death for your business.

If your clients are online, that’s where you should be. Because nowadays, going digital is the core secret of running a successful business. So, let’s see how you can do just that and increase restaurant sales.

1. Offer Your Clients the Chance to Place Food Orders Online

Using an online ordering system is truly a game-changer in the restaurant business. And that’s because it makes online food ordering as easy as apple pie. Or as easy as a Sunday morning. Your call.

Implementing an ordering system can be done within mere minutes. And using it can turn into a win-win situation for both you and your customers.

  1. Competition-wise: You’ll be able to smash your competition; customers will choose you over them since you’ll shine bright like a diamond. You’ll have something they don’t.
  2. Restaurant-operations-wise: The online ordering system app will enable you to see and receive instant notifications regarding all the orders your customers place. Say goodbye to reddening phone lines, lost orders, or misunderstandings.
  3. Client-wise: they’ll be able to place orders within seconds.

However, you have to be careful what online ordering system provider you choose to go with since most of them can end up ripping you off. And that’s because they can retain as much as a two-digit commission per every order processed through their system.

So be careful to whom you decide to give your business (and your profits). Check out the video below to learn how to add online ordering to your restaurant for free in 10 minutes.

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2. Provide Them with An Instant Table Reservation System

table reservation system form
We live in an accelerating world, where we’re always finding ourselves needing to be somewhere at a particular hour.

We need to go to work in the morning, we need to go to the gym, we need to go to bed early, and so on.

And we simply can’t afford the luxury of wasting our time on trivial things. So you see, trying to book a table can often be unpleasant for your clients.

Most of the time, they avoid doing it and just show up at your restaurant, hoping they’ll find an open table.

But why not save your clients the disappointment they’ll face every time you tell them that you don’t have a table for them?

The easiest – and probably fastest – way to do that AND increase restaurant sales is by adding a “Table Reservation” feature to your restaurant website.

This will help your customers check the availability of your restaurant tables and reserve one for themselves instead of calling your landline, waiting on the line and asking you to book them a table.

Start taking FREE and unlimited orders & reservations With GloriaFood, it's a piece of cake

To make your customers even happier, enable the order ahead feature to allow them to also order their food in advance when making a table reservation. When they arrive at your restaurant, the food will be waiting for them.

This is an easy way to learn how to increase lunch sales in a restaurant by targeting office workers that want to come in, eat, and get back to the office in less than an hour.

Menu engineering refers to the use of menu psychology to increase restaurant sales. You may believe that this will have you banging your head against a brick wall. But that’s far from it.

You can use a simple menu template that “tricks” your customers into buying more food items that they would usually order over the phone.

You know the saying, “I am on a seafood diet. I see food, and I eat it.” It’s funny, yet it is true. People are stimulated into taking action by what they see.

So placing images of your most expensive foods in the top right corner (the place we look to first on a web page or a menu) will make them pop and stick in your customers’ minds.

For example, if a picture of one of your desserts is the first thing hungry customers see, it will enhance their visual appetite.

Most of them are definitely on the see-food diet. And the more food images they see, the more they’ll want to order.

So they will not only order what they initially wanted to, but chances are they’ll also have some dessert and appetizers alongside their desired main course.

Download our Menu Engineering E-book for more tips and secrets that will help you increase restaurant sales.

4. Make Them an Offer They Can’t Refuse

restaurant promotions

We all have a hard time turning down a good discount or promotion. It’s written in our DNA code. So the better your offer, the more you’ll skyrocket your chances of attracting different types of customers, including the “bargain seekers.”

These are the type of people that will also promote your business using word of mouth. Restaurant promotions are like a hidden gem that holds a myriad of benefits.

So make sure you don’t skip daily or weekly promotions. Your bargain seekers will have a hard time saying “no” to them.

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If creating and keeping track of restaurant promotions sounds like too big of a hassle, read more about our Autopilot Selling service. It allows you to run targeted marketing campaigns in the background with little effort and tangible results.

5. Use SEO to Help Your Website Rank High on Google

Each restaurant has its own specific cuisine that it caters to. For example, suppose you have an Italian restaurant on the Upper East Side in NY. In that case, you want those keywords inserted into your website content.

When your customers go online and enter those keywords in the Google search bar, they usually order from the first restaurants that pop up in search results. And you need to be there if you want to increase restaurant sales.

This will help you eliminate that cloak of invisibility and provide your restaurant with plenty of customer visibility. Using keywords is much like leaving breadcrumbs for your clients so that they’ll know where to come looking for you.

The bigger the crumbs, the faster they’ll get to you.

Without a shadow of a doubt, being online is a clear shortcut towards:

  1. Attracting new customers
  2. Increasing the average order value
  3. And ultimately increasing restaurant sales

Here are some restaurant SEO resources to help you get started:

6. Entertain and Engage Your Guests for a Unique Experience

Main restaurants in your city offer great food at reasonable prices. What makes you stand out from your competitors?

Giving people a unique experience creates positive memories that will encourage customers to come back often.

For example, you might hire a clown or magician to perform on nights when kids eat for free. Or, you could have one of your area’s best guitarists playing gently in the background to set a romantic mood.

Read more: 15 Restaurant Entertainment Ideas to Bring Your Eatery to Life

When possible, engage all five senses (sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch).

There’s a lot of remarkable research that you can use to influence how customers experience your restaurant.

Use tinted glasses to increase restaurant sales

Nicolas Guéguen conducted a fun experiment to see how glass color would affect how people perceive their beverages. He used blue, green, yellow, and red glasses to serve drinks to students.

All of the drinks were the same temperature. However, the students believed that beverages served in blue glasses were cooler and more refreshing.

You can use this knowledge in a couple of ways. Suppose you want customers to identify your restaurant as a place with great drinks. In that case, you can serve beverages in blue glasses.

If you want to learn how to increase restaurant sales without advertising, you could serve drinks in red or yellow glasses. That way, customers will order more drinks to quench their thirst.

It’s a straightforward strategy, but it’s also one of the most profitable restaurant ideas.

Pump up the volume: loud music encourages customers to drink beer faster

A group of French researchers varied the loudness of music in a bar to see how it affected beverage consumption. They found that loud music encouraged customers to drink beer faster.

When the researchers turned off the jukebox, customers only bought 2.5 beers per hour. However, when the music volume was loud, customers bought an average of 4 beers per hour!

Isn’t that interesting! If you want to learn how to increase beverage sales in your restaurant, just crank up the tunes!

The more you influence your customers’ sensory experiences, the more control you have over whether you can increase restaurant sales.

It’s important to remember that people have at least three stages of experience:

  • Pre-experience is the customer’s first impression. It can happen before a person comes to your restaurant, such as when a customer looks at your website.
  • In-experience reflects how they feel while dining at your restaurant.
  • Post-experience is when your customers leave your restaurant and reflect on their experiences.

If you can create pre-, in-, and post- experiences that customers love, you will immediately see how to increase restaurant sales without spending any money on advertising.

restaurant happy hour

7. Use Psychology to Increase Restaurant Sales

Are you using psychology as part of your restaurant business plan?

Understanding how people think and feel is essential to learning how to grow a restaurant business and improve restaurant operations.

When you tap into underlying human needs, you can develop strategies to increase sales in your restaurant. Ideally, this will help you find out how to attract customers to your restaurant and satisfy them to keep coming back.

Menu psychology is one of the main strategies you can employ. Learn the most profitable restaurant menu pricing methods and how menu writing can influence your customers to order more.

Use comfort to your advantage

Comfort food evokes thoughts and feelings of enjoying family meals at home. You can go deeper than that, though, to give your customers even more comforts to make them love your restaurant.

When done right, even the slowest restaurant months of the year won’t hurt your business.

You can add comfort to your restaurant by:

  • Providing an efficient, caring service.
  • Eliminating long lines by taking reservations and online food orders.
  • Offering convenient parking options.
  • Giving customers a warm, safe place to visit during inclement weather. (check out these winter menu ideas for more inspiration)

The more of these comforts you can give customers, the more business you’ll attract.

cozy restaurant customer

Tap into the need for safety to increase restaurant sales

Safety also plays an essential role in developing profitable restaurant ideas.

The human brain is designed to seek safety. When people feel uncertain, they will flee your environment for a place that satisfies their need for security.

Safety isn’t just about avoiding physical harm, however. It’s also about creating a welcoming environment that protects customers from unhappiness, embarrassment, and other negative emotions.

Make your space and food familiar, so that people will feel at ease.

For example, you can put brand-name condiments in view. While that might seem like a subtle strategy, people like to know that they’re getting quality ingredients that they know and love.

Simply putting jars and cans on display signals to customers that you understand their needs and you want to give them what they expect. The best thing about this strategy is that it costs very little money.

The COVID19 pandemic has redefined safety for most of us. Customers are now looking for an added sense of comfort when visiting their favorite restaurant. To make them feel safe, enable these essential COVID19 online ordering system features.

Create a social space for customers

People crave social interaction almost as much as they desire food.

Giving them a place to congregate and organizing restaurant events helps make your restaurant an attractive spot. You can bring in even more customers, though, when you hire friendly staff members that are willing to learn the names and preferences of regulars.

When a regular customer walks in, that person doesn’t get a generic greeting. Instead, they are greeted with a personalized greeting like “Hi, Mark. Do you want your usual table? We have a special tonight that I think you’ll like.”

When your employees and customers become friends, you discover how to increase your restaurant business without spending additional money.

Use descriptions to improve the value of menu items

People are willing to spend more money on foods they believe have higher values.

Stop treating your menu items like generic food, especially when you can turn your highest profit margin foods into some of your biggest sellers.

Creative descriptions give you an easy, inexpensive way to add value to menu items. For example, don’t describe your taco as “taco meat, lettuce, tomatoes, and sour cream.” That’s boring. Every restaurant does that.

Instead, use a description like “house-seasoned beef, shredded lettuce, fresh tomatoes, and sour cream served on a taco shell made this morning!”

That second taco is much more valuable than the first. If interested in learning how to write food descriptions that sell, download our e-book on Food Descriptions That Make You Hungry for FREE.

Identify with your customers’ personality

Want to learn how to improve a restaurant and turn it from slow to busy? Start by identifying with your customers’ personality traits.

Most people want to support businesses that reflect their views and beliefs.

How you do this depends on the type of customer you want to attract. If you want to bring more young people through your doors, learn about youth culture and keep up with millennials’ restaurant habits.

If you want to attract an older, more conservative crowd, reflect their beliefs, so they feel comfortable spending money at your restaurant.

Feed your customers’ craving for novelty

People seek comfort and familiarity, but they also like novelty. You can appeal to this need with creative restaurant specials and limited-time offers.

It doesn’t have to be complicated. Easy restaurant menu ideas make the best novelty items.

For instance, you could offer a seasonal salad during the summer. It’s still just a salad, but it includes fresh items from local farmers. Emphasize this aspect since people are crazy about getting fresh produce with a low carbon footprint.

Read more: How to Personalize Your Restaurant Menu Categories & Attract More Customers

8. Know Thy Customers… So You Can Persuade Them

Let’s be honest. Your restaurant has a few things that make it unique. For the most part, though, you sell the same items as your competitors. You may take a slightly different approach, but the average person doesn’t see what makes your restaurant special.

Until you tell them why they should choose you over other restaurants.

Your action plan to increase sales in a restaurant should include a unique sales position that grabs the attention of customers.

An effective sales plan needs to tell people:

  • What they will get from your restaurant that they won’t find at competing eateries.
  • Why it matters that you give them something different.

Ideally, you can distill your unique sales position into a slogan like “fresh food from local farmers” or “authentic Mediterranean dishes from our grandmother’s recipe book.”

At this point, you’re selling more than items on your menu. You’re selling the concept of freshness. You’re selling authenticity.

You can also use identification and persuasion to increase take away sales. Let customers know that you identify with their busy lives by selling packaged food that they can take home for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

Suddenly, you’ll find yourself selling more items without spending more money on advertising. When you know how to persuade customers, a sign or suggestion from a server is all it takes to increase restaurant sales.

One other advice: get on social media and develop your restaurant’s online presence. The more customers will “like” your restaurant and share their experience with others through reviews, the more you will be able to increase your restaurant sales… Since happy customers will constantly advertise for you.

9. Create a Mobile Restaurant App to Improve Customer Experience

What’s better than ordering food on a restaurant’s website? Ordering via a mobile app that you have conveniently downloaded on your phone.

If you want to improve your customers’ interaction with your restaurant. even more, get a branded mobile app. Customers can use it to browse your menu, place orders for delivery and pickup, or book a table.

You might also like: How to Increase Delivery Sales in Restaurant

Add online payments to the mix so customers can do every part of the transaction online. No more exchanging dollar bills or realizing they don’t have enough change to tip the delivery person.

Read more about How to Boost Restaurant Sales Using a Mobile App.

10. Implement a QR Code Restaurant Menu for Dine-in

Is there a way to digitize your customers’ experience while dining in? I’m glad you asked. Yes, yes, there is. You can say goodbye to printer menus in favor of a contactless ordering solution via QR codes.

A QR code menu is a simple solution that will speed up the dine-in process, increase table turnover, and help you serve more hungry customers faster.

All your customers have to do is scan the QR code, browse your menu, and place their order without interacting with a waiter. Isn’t that great?

Learn how to create your own QR code restaurant menu for free in the video below.

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So what’s the core secret to increasing restaurant sales?

It’s all about putting yourself in your customers’ shoes. The more you simplify things for them, the more they’ll choose your restaurant over the others. So, you’ll be able to sweep your competition away in a jiffy.

You know the saying, “one hand washes the other.” You build a sturdy online business by helping your clients and enabling them to order food in a few easy steps—brick by brick.

You also set the stage to increase restaurant sales and revenue, which you ultimately want.

Implementing all the tips above can usually qualify as something from the headache department. Think of it this way: even designing a flyer, you will need:

  • images of your food,
  • a text description accompanying those images,
  • a template or a designer to do it for you,
  • and so on.

Something as simple as creating a half-page flyer might just turn into a never-ending discussion about colors and layout. And you might just curse the moment that this thought ever crossed your mind.

And the same might happen when creating your own search engine optimized website.

If only someone out there could help you with all that. Oh, wait, someone can.

The GloriaFood online ordering system incorporates the ten golden features listed above.

That means that you can easily create your own search engine optimized website with an exquisite menu and make use of excellent online promotions. All so you can reap the benefits that our free online ordering system offers.

We know that time is money. This is why benefiting from all these features can be done by completing a 5-minute process of filling in your restaurant profile. That’s it. You’ll be free to take as many extended coffee breaks afterward.

Finally, you will learn how to increase restaurant sales without constant pressure and tools that break the bank.

photo of GloriaFood blog writer Andreea Dobrila
Andreea Dobrila

Andreea Dobrila is a proven web copywriter & marketing strategist. She pushes online restaurants on the fast-track to quickly growing their online sales. Win more business by using her bulletproof tips & secrets.

Download’s Andreea’s free report:

**Food Descriptions That Make You Hungry: Hypnotic Menu Writing Tips & Secrets**