How can restaurants generate more sales

Increase Hospitality Sales: The # 1 Guide for Restaurants and Hotels

Increasing sales and attracting more guests to the restaurant or hotel - preferably quickly, with little or best of all without costs - is one of the most common reasons why restaurateurs are interested in cooperation, advice or coaching.

But because, on the one hand, I can only work personally with a very limited number of restaurants, but on the other hand I still want to give you a foretaste of what to expect in this exclusive circle, I have put together the following guide to increasing profits.

This guide shows you exactly how you can increase your gastronomy sales, attract more guests and make your company more successful.

And if you are interested in support after reading this, so that your sales increase is faster and more effective, you can use the contact function here and find out whether there might be an opportunity for cooperation.

Increase gastronomy sales and attract more guests: A brief overview

These are the points, strategies and methods that you will learn in the following lines:

At first I will discuss them Obstaclesthat get in the way of restaurateurs if they want to increase their sales. Because knowing the barriers to increasing sales enables you to overcome them more easily.

After that I'll talk about that Basics for increasing sales in the catering industry. You need to know these and be able to apply them in order to make your marketing and guest acquisition more effective. In addition, these basics also form a solid basis for the following in the next part Strategies for more sales. I therefore recommend that you do not jump straight to the strategies for increasing profits, but rather read through the basic principles of fast and long-term growth carefully.

So let's start ...

I. The obstacles to increasing sales in the hospitality industry

1st obstacle: There is a lack of marketing knowledge to effectively increase sales

Most restaurateurs and restaurants are pretty good at the myriad of tasks that have to be done in the company every day. Starting with great service and a good kitchen, through personnel management, planning and compliance with hygiene regulations, to creativity in service, equipment and the improvement of the experience in the company.

Some reasons why most of them have mastered these areas are because these activities are trained in heaps of gastronomy training and further education and, above all, because restaurateurs are confronted with these activities every day, which enables them to find out exactly what works here .

It looks different when it comes to marketing strategies to increase sales and attract guests.

This area is not taught, and if it is, then in most cases incorrectly (as we shall see in a moment). You are told how to write a menu, but not how to write this one Marketing-optimized so that it reliably ensures higher sales figures (e.g. by having more guests choose the dishes that have a higher profit margin and the image is communicated more effectively).

And due to the hectic everyday gastronomy, very few restaurateurs find time to take care of further training in this area - which can have serious consequences because this area, along with innovations, is on strongest influence on the increase in sales.

The lack of thorough marketing knowledge leads to a phenomenon in the catering industry, which can also be observed in many other industries:

Everyone copies the competitor's marketing - without knowing whether it works.

The marketing of most hotels and restaurants looks relatively identical. Maybe a clever slogan here and there that seems a little different, but on the whole the names of the companies can usually be exchanged above the advertisements without losing their validity (in the eyes of the potential guests who have never been there and know the reality in the company).

Try it yourself:

Take a look at the yellow pages or pick up a brochure from a hotel and simply swap the name of the company in the advertising message. Then ask yourself this question (after observing that most of the ads in the yellow pages, for example, look pretty similar):

  • Can a potential customer or guest who does not know any of the companies really conclude from this advertisement the real experience of what to expect at this company?
  • Could the ad run under a different company name?

The big problem here is that the entire advertising impact in the industry falls, because potential customers do not feel addressed, no longer trust the advertising and hardly find a reason to choose one company over the other.

And what reason do potential customers ultimately choose if they are not given a better one, you can surely guess !?

Exactly: the price!

Thus, the lack of marketing knowledge is the first hurdle to more sales and a higher number of guests.

2nd obstacle: Widespread misinformation about success in the hospitality industry

The next big reason so many restaurateurs struggle to effectively increase sales is the widespread misinformation in the industry.

Above all this statement:

“A great experience in the company guarantees success”.

Often phrased differently, e.g .:

  • “When a restaurant offers good food, the diners come on their own. "
  • “If the service in the hotel is right, the beds are filled automatically.
  • "If delicious cocktails are served in the bar and the service is right, it will be full."

But the statements are unfortunately not true, as you can see in the countless restaurants that had to declare bankruptcy, although they offered a great experience (or good food, great service, ...).

And maybe you notice it in yourself too? Unfortunately, the focus on these essential things is not enough to increase sales and run a successful company.

With their shows, supposed restaurant experts on television or hotel testers continue to contribute to spreading this myth. As a result, when many people see an empty restaurant, they automatically assume that something is wrong with the service.

Unfortunately, it is not enough to offer a fantastic restaurant experience or a wonderfully pleasant hotel stay - as long as this fact is not marketed at the same time in a captivating, effective and believable manner (see above!) So that others can also hear about it. It is just as important to have a marketing system in use that brings these people back over and over again and increases their loyalty.

3. Obstacle which makes it difficult for restaurateurs to increase sales and attract guests: The economy and external influencing factors

Finally, there are also external factors that make it even more difficult for you to increase sales. Unfortunately, you have no control over these factors. But you can counteract the factors with good marketing and innovative ideas in the company, so that these influences are weakened and you have a lead over your competitors who are currently not doing anything about these factors.

a) The fluctuating economic situation makes a continuous increase in sales difficult

It is simply the case that when the economy is not so good, the population becomes more frugal. And the area where savings are made first after studies is gastronomy.

So people are much more willing to compromise here, for example by cooking for themselves or switching to cheaper alternatives.

As a countermeasure, good customer loyalty and regular contact are recommended, as this is the only way to motivate people to visit more often. A clear positioning that communicates the experience to you (as opposed to “getting full” for example) also helps to weaken this factor.

b) Regularly introduced laws and regulations make it more difficult to increase sales

The multitude of new laws and regulations, such as labeling obligations, employee regulations or tax regulations, not only cost a lot of time and work that has to be put into learning and implementation, but also cause high costs (e.g. new devices or lost income due to lost work) . Thus, they represent another hurdle to increasing sales in the catering industry.

c) The “greed is cool mentality” among consumers

A large part of the population is not prepared to pay a reasonable price for a visit to a restaurant or an overnight stay. This is largely due to the growing (and also communicated by other companies) “Stinginess is cool” mentality.

This attitude has now become almost a virtue. It is chic and trendy to want the cheapest or not to pay full price for products or services.

Discount portals that offer 50% discounts and more at restaurants and hotels are not uncommon.

This is particularly damaging to the gastronomy and hotel industries because there is a easier comparability in the mind of the guests arises.

This means that most people have an approximate idea of ​​how much certain ingredients in the dishes cost. Almost everyone cooks at home and thus has an approximate comparative price in mind, against which everything is constantly measured.

The same applies to overnight stays.

So if you are not marketing an experience, but in the worst case even trying to attract guests at low prices, then guests will too always use the price as a comparative feature. And as soon as another company comes with lower prices - even if companies can rarely afford this themselves, these guests won by the price will be gone again.

Thus, the “greed is cool” mentality makes the profit margin, which is low anyway, shrink more and more, making it more difficult for you to increase sales.

d) Scandals in the catering industry are depressing sales

Due to the tough price competition and the low ethical responsibility of some of your competitors and suppliers, food and hygiene scandals occur again and again.

As a result, our entire industry is falling into disrepute, consumers are becoming more skeptical, are therefore less willing to pay and, in more and more cases, are not eating out.

Even if the scandals are not taking place in your local area, the population will be aware of them through reports in the media and will also project these circumstances onto the immediate neighborhood (or the vacation spot).

The only way to defend yourself against it is to be transparent, to constantly communicate your own quality via the website, the newsletter, social media, etc. and to improve the bond with the guests so that they act as ambassadors for your own company.

e) Other restaurants / hotels that offer low prices sabotage your increase in sales and make it more difficult to attract new guests

I mentioned this point last, although more could certainly be mentioned (e.g. decreasing advertising effectiveness, increasing costs, personnel problems).

The fact is, however, that there is strong price competition in our industry and many restaurants and hotels are participating, making the situation more difficult for all other companies.

Too many restaurants either do not calculate their prices correctly (cost of goods is NOT everything!) Or resort to immoral cost-cutting measures (e.g. low quality of ingredients, unregistered employees) (I also reported on this in this classic edition of my newsletter).

One consequence of this is that consumers are led to believe that such low prices are normal and that dining out should cost so little.

Unfortunately, companies that have only recently been founded make this mistake.

These restaurateurs know roughly what the previous restaurant asked for at this place and then ask for roughly the same. Unfortunately, they usually do not know that the previous operator had to file for bankruptcy due to its low prices and the resulting low profit margin. Of course, the new restaurant will not be able to stay here for long and will soon be replaced by the next owner who makes the same mistake, so that a never-ending cycle is created here.

Ultimately, there are even larger corporations, such as carpet stores or furniture stores, where consumers can eat at the cheapest price. But in contrast to restaurants, these corporations can afford this, since the cheap food is only a lure so that people can buy a high-priced kitchen or something similar afterwards.

But these low prices, which are also constantly advertised on television and on the radio, are depressed even further (even if this only happens unconsciously), which means that they also pay more attention to prices in other restaurants and normal prices are perceived as expensive.

This accumulation of obstacles makes it difficult for restaurateurs to attract more guests and increase sales.

In the following, however, I'll talk about what you can do to increase your sales and overcome these obstacles, or at least make them less effective.

II. Increase gastronomy sales and attract guests - the most important basics

In order to increase sales, especially when it comes to getting this done quickly and over the long term, there are some basics to keep in mind. Internalizing these fundamentals and applying them regularly in the implementation of marketing and the implementation of innovations facilitates company growth and can catapult a company upwards in a very short time.

Conversely, failure to comply with these principles not only makes it more difficult to increase sales and attract guests, but also to make the impact more difficult everyone Advertising strategy used by the company.

1. To achieve a long-term increase in sales, you need to know your target group

The first basis for a fast and long-term increase in sales in the catering industry is precise knowledge of the target group. Because only this knowledge allows you to tailor the experience in your company to these people in the best possible way, to design an advertising message that is convincing and motivating for these people, and ultimately to select an advertising medium in order to reach these people most effectively.

Everything really depends on that: The precise knowledge of your target group (s), as well as their wishes, needs and requirements for a restaurant or hotel visit.

After you find out who your target audience is (and this written you can think about what things need to be implemented to make the visit to your company even more pleasant, more entertaining, more beautiful, even more “recommendable”, even easier and at the same time more lucrative for you.

This is also one of the fundamental basic concepts that we do as part of a coaching or consultation, because after this step everything that follows becomes easier and more efficient.

And your marketing is also more effective if you know your target group. It is easier for you to discover things that you can say to this type of person and that convince them to come to you (as often as possible and for a long time).

Without knowing the target group, the advertising message is usually too general because you don't know exactly who is being communicated with. A general advertising message is weak. Nobody really feels addressed. And so this communication becomes almost ineffective and decisions are mostly (at least partially) made based on the price.

So if you want to increase sales and profits in your catering business in the long term, then it is essential that you precisely define your target group.

2. Your message must be adapted to the target group

This point was already indicated in the previous one, but it is worth talking about it again in more detail:

You have to adapt your advertising message (s) to your target group!

That means the content and the tone. Because only when you achieve this will your target group feel addressed. This is the only way to make your communication convincing.

If you want to increase your sales and attract more guests to your hotel or restaurant, then it is important that you make these adjustments everywhere:

In your advertisements, in your Facebook marketing, on your menu, on your website and also on flyers, posters and radio spots.

Always write your message with your target group in mind and consider whether such a message would motivate these people to come to you:

"Do these people feel addressed by the embassy?"

That also means refraining from addressing everyone. Because an advertising message that is addressed to everyone, just because the attempt is made not to do without anyone, will in the end not really appeal to anyone.

The thought in the head of your ad readers or listeners "For me that is, this company has understood what I need and want”, Cannot arise if the advertising is too general.

So think about what exactly the benefits and needs your target group strives for when they come to you - and then adjust your communication accordingly.

3. Nothing increases the number of guests and increases sales more than an innovative competitive advantage

This point is also related to the previous one as it also relates to the target audience. But when it comes to getting a huge advantage over the competition and increasing sales, nothing is more effective than an Innovative Competitive Advantage (USP - Unique Selling Proposition).

The Innovative Competitive Advantage is the answer to this question that your potential guests are all secretly asking:

"Why should I choose your company over one of the many other options available to me?"

Each of your potential guests asks themselves this question.

Knowing a good answer to this question - and using it in EVERYONE of your marketing collateral - is the difference between a poorly / moderately doing company and a great company.

Finding a good answer to this question and completely aligning the company with it will catapult your profits up like nothing else.

Of course, something so worthwhile is not easy to discover or develop - but it is worth it!

Because as soon as you can give a good answer to the question, you have a clear competitive advantage over your competitors and automatically become the # 1 location when people strive for an experience like the one you have to offer.

Here Are Some More Benefits You Will Have After Developing Your Innovative Competitive Advantage:

  • Your advertising message will be clearer and more convincing.
  • Your company takes one from every person around fixed place in the head a.
  • Your company is the first to be mentioned in conversations when people talk about your area.
  • The Price takes a back seat.
  • They attract more of your ideal guests.
  • Your company is more secure against market fluctuations.

You can discover the innovative competitive advantage by carefully looking at your target group and considering:

  • What problem can you (or could) solve better than anyone else?
  • What special needs does your company meet?
  • What do people really long for when they come to you?
  • Which niche or market niche do you occupy or can you occupy?
  • What makes your company unique - and what do your guests also appreciate?

Here is also a list of 50 reasons people buy things that can help you identify the needs and wants your business meets (or can meet).

As mentioned, this process is not an easy one, which is why so few companies go through it. But the companies that do it get a jump in sales and can secure their company's success for a very long time.

4. The correct order in marketing implementation is crucial for the effectiveness of advertising

Not only restaurateurs go wrong with this point and first select the advertising medium before they think about the content and the target group.

But the selection of the advertising medium (advertisement, flyer, mailings, Facebook advertising, ...) should always be made at the end of the catering marketing process.

First you should think about WHO you want to reach at all (see target group above).

Then it is time to plan what needs to be said to these people in order for them to come into your company (the message).

Only then is the advertising medium selected that is most effective and cost-effective in reaching these people. Because only when you know exactly who you want to reach can you determine exactly how you can best reach these people.

Unfortunately, most companies start here at the end.

The thought process then often proceeds as in one of the following examples:

  • “We need an advertisement. Come on, let's call the newspaper. "
  • “If I already have the representative of XY Medium (e.g. from a business directory or a local newspaper) on the phone, then I will place an advertisement right here. Who knows when else I'll get there. "
  • “I heard that Facebook is in right now. We should also do marketing on Facebook. "
  • …. .

Such an approach, either gut instinct or chance, is very wasteful and ineffective.

So think about it first whom You want to achieve exactly What You "say" to these people and then find out in the last step how You can best reach these people.

If you do this, the effect of your hotel or restaurant marketing will be multiplied, you will save a lot of money and your sales are guaranteed to increase.

5. The 4 growth factors for increasing sales in the hospitality industry

This is one of the things I talk about the most often. This is simply because hardly any company understands how to use this principle correctly (not only in the catering industry), although this basis has such a huge influence on it when it comes to increasing profits.

And that is the principle in short:

You have exactly 4 possibilities to increase your profit:

  1. • Attract more guests.
  2. • Guests spend more money on average (e.g. 45 euros instead of 40 euros).
  3. • Guests come by more often (e.g. 4 times a year instead of 3 times)
  4. • Guests are loyal to your company for a longer period of time (e.g. 3.5 years instead of 2.5 years).

These are all 4 ways you have to increase your bottom line. This is why these factors are also called the 4 GastroInsider Growth Factors.

And an increase in each factor has an equal impact on your sales. So it makes no difference whether you have 10% more guests or whether your guests spend 10% more.

But most companies only focus on the first factor: attracting more guests or customers.

It is most costly to increase this factor. For example, it is much easier to motivate existing guests to return than to have to persuade new people to come to your company for the first time.

How can you use this principle to increase sales quickly?

It's simple: by first working on the factors that you have tended to ignore up to now and, above all, by working on all the factors at the same time work.

Because if you work at the same time to attract more guests who on average spend more money with you, who stop by you more often and who are loyal to your company for a longer period of time, then you will achieve exponential growth, as the factors influence each other.

This means that if you increase each of these factors by 10% (e.g. with strategies that you can find here), then your sales will increase by far more than 40% (4 x 10%), since the factors are interdependent.

A sample calculation with a list of some strategies for the respective GastroInsider growth factors can be found in this article on Gastronomy Marketing.

So that were the essential basics. And even if you just follow these basics and don't use any of the following strategies, you will attract a large number of new guests and your sales will skyrocket.

13 tips, methods and strategies that will bring more guests and increase sales

1. An optimized menu brings far more than higher sales figures

Optimizing the menu from a marketing perspective is the first strategy that you should use if you want to increase your sales. Because the correct optimization of the menu increases all 4 growth factors at the same time and brings, in addition to more profit, a better image, more satisfied guests and more recommendations.

The big obstacle here is, as already mentioned above, that most restaurateurs are not specialists in this area and everyone only copies what is done on their menu from the competition, so that hardly any menu card in our industry is right Marketing-optimized is.

Most menus are nothing more than lists of dishes, with their ingredients and prices.

An optimized menu can do a lot more:

  • Guests influence the selection of the dishes / drinks they want to sell (the ones with the highest profit margin, with the best expense / reward ratio, that make your restaurant stand out).
  • Set the focus away from the price and on the culinary experience.
  • In general, make the price a secondary factor in the decision-making process.
  • Communicate the uniqueness of the company.
  • Gaining fans for Facebook and the like.
  • Fill upcoming events in the company.
  • Promote partner companies and generate additional sales.
  • and much more.

By optimizing your menu in terms of marketing, you increase:

  • The number of guests for your company (e.g. because guests are more satisfied, appreciate these features better and recommend your company more often).
  • The average amount spent (e.g. because guests choose the dishes they want to sell and also order more extra items).
  • The frequency of visits by guests (e.g. further incentives, prepare for the next visit and more frequent communication).
  • The loyalty of the guests (e.g. through the increased satisfaction and the better positioning of the company in the consciousness of the guests).

An optimized menu can bring you a good 25% more sales because all 4 growth factors are increased at the same time.

2. Review portals on the Internet bring a large number of new guests

Another way to increase sales is to focus more on online rating portals.

Your potential guests are currently searching the Internet for restaurants and hotels in your area. In fact, it is now the most widely used method of discovering new businesses.

It is therefore essential that you optimize your profiles on the review portals (e.g. Google, Tripadvisor, Yelp and Menu.de) and use strategies to get a lot of reviews on these portals.

How do you do that?

1. Optimizing the profiles on the rating platforms:

By cleverly filling in all information areas.

  • Uploading images and videos that precisely address the needs and wishes of the target group.
  • Careful enrichment with optimized words that are relevant to the search.

2. More reviews on the Internet:

  • Systematic generation of evaluations by your employees in the company (motivating, not intrusive and based on reciprocity).
  • Motivate fans on social media pages to rate your company.
  • Use the menu to generate reviews.
  • Optimize a subpage of the homepage for the evaluation aid.

By doing this, firstly, your profiles will rise in search, which will lead to more visitors on those profiles. Second, the many good ratings also mean that more profile visitors become restaurant / hotel visitors.

Incidentally, these two factors also influence each other.

An example of how a marketing optimization can bring you more guests:

Without the strategy, a profile receives 100 visitors per month, 7% of whom come to the company. So overall 7 people.

Through optimization, the profile rises and it now receives 500 visitors (the front seats receive the majority of the visitors because very few people scroll down further). Of these visitors, 25% now come to the company (convinced by the many good reviews). This now leads to total 125 new guests be won.

And even if the increase may now seem high, it is still calculated conservatively, because the change from a non-optimized profile without evaluation strategies to a good profile with an evaluation generation system can still be done turn out to be much larger.

That is why this strategy is an absolute “must-do” for every catering business that wants to increase the number of guests, increase sales and expand its success in the long term.

3. Smart cooperation with (local) companies

One of the best strategies that my clients use across the spectrum is to enter into smart collaborations with other companies.

And everyone involved benefits from these strategic partnerships:

  • The restaurant / hotel.
  • The partner company.
  • The guests & customers.

Process of a collaboration:

In such a cooperation, either the catering company recommends a partner company to its guests or, conversely, the partner company promotes the catering company to its customers. In addition, joint campaigns can be carried out or bundles of experiences can be put together for customers.

In these partnerships, the recommending company can:

  • Be rewarded for each recommendation (e.g. you recommend a partner company in your newsletter and receive a previously agreed amount for each person who buys there).
  • Be rewarded with a fixed amount (e.g. you “rent” seats on your menu or on the website on which the partner company places advertising that matches your image).
  • Receive a recommendation in return (e.g. you mention the partner company on your website / menu / newsletter / etc. and in return the partner company recommends your company on an advertising medium).
  • The whole thing is done free of charge (e.g. partner company recommends your company simply because they are convinced of your service and believe that their customers would also be enthusiastic).
  • The remuneration takes place in a different form (you give vouchers to the partner company so that they recommend your company)

As you can see, there are tons of opportunities here to increase your sales, generate more guests, and generate additional income.

But since I can hardly observe the correct use of this effective strategy in our industry, I have a few more examples here that show how my clients are successfully using this marketing method:

1. Example of a cooperation: Real estate agent

A real estate agent gives new residents a voucher for a meal in a restaurant. He had previously received these vouchers from the restaurant 50% cheaper and paid for them in advance.

The advantages for the brokerage company are that, thanks to the increased customer satisfaction, they receive more recommendations, better ratings on the Internet and thus get a multiple of the comparably low investment back in.

The advantages for the restaurant are that it gets the ideal guests in (the brokerage company was carefully selected beforehand), who, since they have only just moved in, remain loyal for a very long time (of course by using the right marketing strategies) and thus the smaller ones Initial profit is improved several times later. In addition, by pre-selling the vouchers, it already receives money for a service that will only have to be provided in the future.

Of course, customers benefit by receiving a free meal and getting to know a great restaurant.

2. Wedding partnerships to increase sales

Almost all of my coaching clients use this type of strategic collaboration because it is so versatile, there are many possible partners and of course it is very lucrative: Strategic partnerships in the context of wedding celebrations.

This strategy works with all companies that can help make a wedding even more memorable:

  • Photographers
  • Hotels
  • Florists
  • Limousine service
  • Jewelers
  • Hairdressers
  • Bridal shops
  • Pastry shops
  • Wedding planner

…to name just a few.

The cooperation works differently here (depending on the company):

  • Sometimes the companies only recommend each other (gratuitously and informally).
  • Sometimes the recommending company is rewarded per customer / event.
  • Sometimes common service packages are put together.

There are no limits to creativity and once again all sides benefit from this cooperation: All companies receive many more customers and the bride and groom find it easier to find providers, which saves time, money and effort.

In addition to weddings, partnerships can also be concluded at funerals, communions, birthdays, etc.

There are many other examples of strategic partnerships and in some issues of my newsletter I mention them again and again, for example here or here.

How do you find companies with whom you can enter into collaborations?

The basis for finding partner companies are these three questions:

  • Which company has the people as customers that you would like to have with you (your ideal target group, see above)?
  • Which company would like to have your current guests as customers?
  • Which person / organization has a major influence on your target group?

With these 3 questions you will discover the companies that are considered for a partnership.

After you have a list of any suitable companies / people, you need to discuss in the next steps:

  • Whether these companies perform well (in case you should recommend them to your guests).
  • How to contact these companies (by phone, email, post / surprise package or a combination of all media).
  • How you structure the partnership (recommendation method, reward and measurement).
  • Whether and, if so, how you will contract the whole thing (I recommend entering into smaller partnerships at the beginning that do not require a contract).

Let's go. Go through the list of known people / companies who could be considered for such a partnership. Take the business directory to hand and discover other companies. And make this strategy one of the most powerful tools in your marketing arsenal.

4. Cost savings lead to more profit

First of all: this is not my specialty. However, the strategy is of course still good to increase profits. You should take a close look at all areas in your company and consider where costs can be saved WITHOUT this affecting the quality of the experience for guests in your company.

Here is a small selection of ideas to get your train of thought going a little:

  • Standardize the amount of alcohol in drinks: In many restaurants and bars, bartenders pour according to your mood. In most cases, a lot of expensive alcohol is wasted here, which can cost thousands of euros a year. Measuring beakers or dispensing columns with precise measurements solve this problem.
  • Check the return of the food and drinks. If you see too much coming back, cut this ingredient down.
  • In general, standardize the ingredients for the dishes so that the same amount is always used. This also applies to small quantities (number of olives, grams of cheese or ml. Olive oil).
  • Systematize frequently carried out processes in the company so that they are carried out more efficiently and with consistent quality. In this way, time, work and personnel can be saved - without the service suffering, on the contrary, it actually improves.
  • Regularly check all goods for shelf life.
  • Calculate exactly the cost of each individual dish. You should be informed exactly how much the respective dishes cost and which dishes therefore either require a recipe change or should be replaced by new dishes (with a healthier profit margin) if a price increase is not possible.
  • Monitor electricity and energy use (kitchen, insulation, heating, ...).
  • Look for sources of loss among employees: This includes theft, wasteful cleaning / peeling / cutting of ingredients, carelessness when dealing with business property, ....

5. A newsletter increases the loyalty of the guests, leads to more frequent return visits and thus to more sales

Every restaurant, hotel and catering establishment should have a newsletter. There really is no better marketing tool to motivate guests to visit more often, to achieve better customer loyalty and ultimately to increase sales.

However, by newsletters I don't mean the kind of content that is sent out in bulk by most companies and that mostly only informs about what's new on offer or to buy.

No, the newsletter content must be correct and strategically aligned.

A good newsletter:

  • builds a personal bond with the guests,
  • embodies the image of the company,
  • sets the company apart from the competition,
  • is interesting and offers added value (e.g. news from the area, helpful tips, entertaining content that fits the company's image),
  • fulfills many other marketing tasks (evaluation motivation, incentives to visit, promotion of cooperation partners),
  • and ultimately also has offers.

But a newsletter is above all an instrument for customer loyalty, which is helpful in positioning the company (with all the associated advantages).

A newsletter also helps with the simultaneous increase of all 4 GastroInsider growth factors (see above).

If you want to increase your sales in the long term, there is no way around a good newsletter, which is then sent out regularly.

6. The targeted optimization of the website

Another important tool for increasing sales in the hospitality industry is the website. An optimized website not only brings more guests who come by more often and are less price sensitive. In addition, it can perform a variety of other tasks, saving time, effort and effort, which in turn has an impact on profits.

What can you do to make your website more profitable?

First there is search engine optimization. Because by optimizing your page for search, it automatically brings many more guests.

So find out what the most frequent terms are being searched for in your environment (e.g. with the Google Keyword Planner in AdWords) and then optimize your page. This means to write articles on the topics of the search words, to create sub-pages for the respective areas and to receive links from topic-relevant websites.

Now that you have got more visitors to your website, it is now a matter of converting these website visitors into restaurant or hotel visitors.

To do this, it is important to provide visitors with content that motivates them to choose the company for the planned visit.

Which contents convince the visitors?

The above point with the target group is also very important for this strategy. It has to be considered what the thought process of the visitors looks like when they land on the website. This means, among other things, finding answers to these questions:

  • What are these people looking for exactly?
  • What is important for you when you visit a restaurant / hotel?
  • How can we build trust and convince people of the quality of the experience before the visit (e.g. by linking to review pages, using media, Facebook integration and social proof)?
  • Which image do we want to embody (color selection, font type, selection of images / video)?
  • How can we make the next step to the visit as easy as possible (e.g. optimize the contact page, offer several ways to contact us, online reservation)?
  • How can the website be logically structured so that people can find their way around quickly and easily (remember: the nearest restaurant is just a click away!)?
  • Which elements of the website can we test regularly in order to ensure continuous optimization that leads to constant improvement?
  • For what other purposes can we use the website (e.g. promoting strategic partners, events, shop with products, newsletters, job advertisements, ...)?

I admit that an effective optimization of the website is complex and requires a lot of know-how, time and work. And even if this is not cheap, the help of experts is recommended here. Because the advantages of an efficient and marketing-optimized website far exceed the efforts and investments, which is why this strategy is essential if you want to increase your sales.

Extra tip: I recommend that restaurants and hotels use WordPress as the platform for their website. WordPress sites are very easy to edit, can be updated quickly and the prices for them are very fair. In this article, I'll introduce some inexpensive restaurant WordPress themes so that you can get an overview of what can be done for little money.

7. Host special events

Promotional nights and events are a good strategy for increasing sales for several reasons:

  • You give existing guests another reason to visit your company.
  • This is a special incentive to attract new guests.
  • The one-time promotion offers the opportunity to offer dishes and drinks with a higher profit margin.
  • Ideal for working with partner companies.
  • Great way for PR.
  • Fantastic opportunity to further improve the company's image.

And these were just a few of the advantages that well-run events bring with them.

To find out what type of event you can host, first take a look at your target audience:

  • What kind of event would these people appreciate?
  • What are these people willing to spend more money on?
  • What are the wishes and needs that will be met with the event?

Because of course it doesn't help to organize an event that your target audience doesn't appreciate. For example, a Brazilian party barbecue evening in a pizzeria would be less popular than a wine tasting. Or an evening with classical musicians is more suitable for a finer restaurant than for Peter's bratwurst stand.

To see what the target group wants - and possibly to find out about it through a survey, is the basis for a successful event.

There are many opportunities for special events:

  • Holiday-based events (this not only includes public holidays, but also occasions such as Beer Day, Oktoberfest, the beginning of winter, etc.).
  • Events based on dishes, ingredients and drinks (e.g. wild boar evening, wine evening, asparagus day).
  • Events based on experiences (e.g. Brazilian evening, bingo, summer party, BBQ night, single event, networking, karaoke).
  • Personal reasons (e.g. anniversary, wedding anniversary, celebration to introduce the new cook, inauguration of the smoker).

And depending on the type of event, you can also do this during the week to liven up a previously quieter day.

8. Increase in sales through discount portals

This is a strategy I am actually reluctant to recommend because I see it get done wrong too often. Even so, this strategy, if carried out effectively, can result in a rapid increase in sales. I have already mentioned in other posts the conditions under which you can use Groupon and similar discount portals and the best way to proceed if you want to get a deal there.

Therefore only the most important key points here.

When is it worth using Groupon or similar portals to quickly increase sales:

  • You only recently opened your company and want to quickly increase your acquaintance.
  • Lots of free resources and free spaces that would otherwise not be filled (fixed costs capped).
  • You want to host a special (large) event and fill it.
  • You have a very good backend (means that you have a marketing system in place that ensures that first-time visitors come back quickly and are loyal for a long time).
  • You have a sponsoring partner who pays part of the costs.
  • You work with other companies and put together an experience package so that the low profit margin is shared.
  • They currently have a very high profit margin, so that even with the discount they still earn well.

If one or more of these factors apply to your situation, then it is definitely worth considering using this strategy to increase sales.

Before doing so, be sure to take a look at the advantages and disadvantages that such a discount deal can bring.

9. Selling vouchers increases liquidity and sales

Selling coupons is a good strategy for increasing profits for several reasons.

  • First of all, you receive money now for a service that you will only have to provide in the future, which leads to increased liquidity.
  • Next, it is good to know that experience has shown that at least 10% of the vouchers are not redeemed. You can also use this fact to give a discount on vouchers, for example, so that they can be bought more often.
  • This is also another reason to motivate people to visit more often, because many would probably not have come back so early without the voucher.

Therefore, use this strategy, which is easy to implement and free of charge, depending on how you proceed (no costs if you do not use preprinted vouchers, for example). Of course, the strategy can also be expanded, depending on which channels you use for marketing (website, social media, partner companies) and whether, for example, partner companies are involved (e.g. vouchers for a hotel stay with dinner, a visit to the theater and a romantic carriage ride).

10. The only instrument for a long-term secured increase in sales: the marketing plan

In order to increase sales in the long term and to grow steadily, no catering company can avoid a marketing plan. The hotel or restaurant marketing plan is the stable framework that brings stability, planning and implementation guarantee. The marketing plan is, on the one hand, the map to more sales, which constantly shows you the way, and, on the other hand, the instructions that contain the exact steps so that you can achieve your goals.

I really can't stress enough the importance of a marketing plan to business success, and how much any hospitality company can benefit from a well-designed plan.

The creation of the marketing plan alone allows you to view your company from a completely different perspective, brings a multitude of new ideas, provides clarity about the current position and enables a far more effective use of resources.

Here are some parts that are in your strategic marketing plan belong:

  • Description of the competitors with their strengths and weaknesses.
  • The strengths, weaknesses and opportunities of your company.
  • Your planned marketing tactics and actions come into the tactical part of the marketing plan.
  • Description of the target group, as well as their wishes and needs (see also above).
  • The goals in the most important areas of your business (not just sales) for the period set in the marketing plan.
  • A listing and distribution of your resources.

And while it takes some time, work, and effort to put together a marketing plan like this, this process will likely be the most powerful thing you can do this year to increase your sales.

Here is another longer post that discusses creating a hotel or restaurant marketing plan.

11. Increase in profit through price increase

This is probably the simplest strategy for increasing hospitality profits, and yet so many restaurateurs shy away from using this method. Often this is done out of the fear that they will lose guests.

However, across the entire bandwidth, I have found that everyone Gastronomy business can easily increase prices immediately by 10% - 20%, often by up to 30-40 percent. This then depends on the market segment served, the current price level and which marketing strategies are used to communicate the value of the dishes and the experience in the company.

But a price increase of 10% increases the profit per dish by more than 10%, which is clear from this very simplified calculation example (no variable costs / taxes / time expenditure /, ... included).

  • Previous price: 10 euros
  • Cost of sales: 7 euros
  • Profit: 3 euros

Now the price is increased by 10%:

  • New price: 11 euros (10% more)
  • Cost of goods: 7 euros (same)
  • Profit: 4 euros (33% more)

In this example, the profit increases by 33%, although the price is only increased by 10%. So even if demand were to decline by 10% now, the total profit would still be higher than before.

Additionally, if you use strategies to communicate that price increase differently, lowering the focus on the price and shifting it to the experience, it actually leads to an increase in the order instead of a decrease.

How can you do that?

  • Use menu marketing optimization.
  • Better description of the dishes.
  • Emphasis on the quality of the ingredients, their origin and the special preparation.
  • Better positioning of the company.
  • Staff training.
  • This article gives you 7 ways to maximize your staff's sales

So increase your prices and get paid for your professional (or professional) work properly.

In an issue of my newsletter, I have discussed why you should enforce higher prices and why any other behavior is even harmful to our industry.

12. Strategically planned use of Facebook

Nowadays, no restaurant business can get over a social media presence. Because not being actively represented there means leaving all potential guests and customers to the local competitors, as well as not being able to benefit from the many other advantages.

In addition, sites like Facebook automatically create profiles of local businesses by taking information from business directories. So even if you haven't created a profile on Facebook before, there is a very good chance that Facebook created a page for your business.

But it is not only important to be represented on Facebook, you also have to use Facebook strategically and actively.

To make it clear again that your guests and potential customers are on Facebook:

As of 2017, Facebook has over 25 million active users in Germany, over 3.9 million in Switzerland, around 3.7 million in Austria and over 1.9 billion active users worldwide.

That means: A large number of your guests and potential guests are active on Facebook and it is worthwhile to do Facebook marketing!

But owning a Facebook page and only publishing posts in the meantime is not enough.

On Facebook, you have to be around the Attention of your target audience fight - and your site competes with literally millions of other sites, all of which are just a click away (which also applies to your homepage).

But with the right strategic approach and target group-specific content, you not only gain the attention of people you want to reach, you also build a strong bond with your fans and thus occupy a very special place in the minds of these people.

So how can you use Facebook properly so that it also has a visible impact on your sales?

1. Attract fans

At the beginning it is of course important that you win fans for your site. These will come automatically after a while if you post good content; but this content must first be seen and disseminated.

Therefore, you should use every opportunity you have to gain more fans. This includes, among other things:

  • Make people in the company aware of your Facebook page.
  • Mention the site on flyers and other promotional materials.
  • Strategically adapt the homepage to generate fans.
  • Talk about it in the newsletter.
  • Refer to the page on the menu.
  • Place Facebook ads in which the target group has been precisely defined (location, interests, age, ...).
  • Consider incentives to stimulate initial growth.
  • Integrate influencers, partner companies and suppliers into the strategy to attract fans.

2. Post regularly

It is really essential that you post regularly on your site, content that is interesting for your target audience, is in line with the corporate image and that is shared. Because a Facebook page on which nothing is going - as unfortunately with most gastronomy Facebook pages, which are only posted periodically, does not win fans either, as there is hardly any reason to become a fan here.

There are many ways to update the Facebook page frequently:

  • Report on new dishes.
  • Surveys on dishes, opening times, drinks, promotions, ...
  • Post interesting pictures or videos.
  • Target group-relevant news.
  • Comments on everyday events, news, ...
  • Contributions with added value that are happy to be shared.
  • Quality communication.
  • Introduce people from the company.

It is important that you have thought about the overall concept beforehand. This includes how you want to be perceived on Facebook and what content is interesting for your target group. Although this requires some initial work, such preparation makes future work easier and guarantees that your Facebook marketing will be more effective.

3. Use Facebook for marketing

Ultimately, of course, it is also about taking advantage of the marketing opportunities that arise on Facebook.

Here are some ideas of what you could do:

  • Promote upcoming events.
  • Use paid advertising on Facebook (place ads that are only shown to your precisely defined target group and are thus effectively spread with a precise message).
  • Motivate fans to rate your company.
  • Present delicious dishes that motivate guests to reserve a seat quickly.
  • Plan joint campaigns with partner companies.
  • Attract people to your newsletter.
  • Bring Facebook fans to your website.
  • Promote short term promotions.
  • Use the different types of posts to get more recommendations and encourage word of mouth.

There are really a ton of ways you can use Facebook to boost your sales, improve guest loyalty, and improve your image. But it is important to proceed strategically here and a special Facebook marketing plan makes your work easier on the one hand and ensures that the marketing follows a uniform strategy on the other.

See this post for more restaurant Facebook marketing strategies.

13. Gastronomy consultant or coach

Finally, the recommendation remains that you get external support. Because depending on the initial situation and the quality of the advice, you will achieve the fastest increase in sales.

The fact is that working with a good coach or hospitality consultant is one of the most effective strategies a company can use to increase sales and ensure business success.

The reasons for this are as varied as the advantages that such a collaboration can bring:

  • You have more clarity in everyday business and the focus lies on the main goals.
  • You prefer to implement the strategies that will produce the best results in your situation.
  • Implementation responsibilitythat guarantees that day-to-day business does not interfere again.
  • Increased speed of implementation & improving business development strategies.
  • You benefit from one Expert opinionthat gives security, motivates and leads to major changes.
  • You get a lot of new ones Ideas and your situation adapted suggestions for improvement.
  • You benefit from the Knowledge, experience and collaboration with other companies and can use the concepts that other restaurateurs first had to discover in expensive test procedures (which in turn saves time, effort and money).

Finding good gastronomy advice or a suitable coach may involve effort and research; However, this search is worthwhile, as the advantages of a successful collaboration bring a lot of advantages, as we have just seen.

Just Strategy, marketing and innovation consultancy bring the greatest changes in terms of increasing profits, because these are precisely the “screws” that have the greatest impact on sales growth. Nevertheless, gastronomy marketing or business development consulting, such as the one I offer, is not always the ideal solution. In some cases it may make more sense to start out by reviewing the entire cost structure or simply switching to a better tax advisor.

You can make a non-binding request for an initial personal interview here. In addition to 1-1 consultations, I also offer group coaching, telephone coaching and video seminars, so that there is always a suitable option; nevertheless, you still have a list of hundreds of consultations in German here so that you can also get to know the other options.

Conclusion: As you can see, there are a number of obstacles that hinder the acquisition of more guests and make it more difficult to increase sales in the hospitality industry. But if you thoroughly implement the fundamentals for growth outlined above, and if you implement even just a few of the strategies suggested here correctly, then you are guaranteed to attract more guests, increase your sales and build your business success.

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