I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking I’m nuts. There are literally millions of ways franchisees can grow restaurant sales. And I agree with you, I am nuts! But what I’m talking about is when you look at all the different sales growing strategies available to franchisees out there; they can be simplified into 5 categories. So in no particular order, here are the 5 categories:
1 – Increase Your Average Check
This is just simple math. Let’s say you have an average check of $20. If you have 100 guests come through your door that means you sell $2000. If you find a way to increase the average check to $21 you would then sell $2100 to the same 100 people. That’s a 5% increase in sales! If you are interested in reading more about how to increase your average ticket, check out my previous article on beverage sales here.
2 – Keep the Guests You Have
This one might sound simple, but I believe it is the most difficult item on my list. This is offering nothing less than an excellent experience to every guest that walks through your door. Your entire staff needs to be on their game, food needs to be on point, restaurant atmosphere perfect and the entire place in immaculate condition. Everyone has the perception that this is what they deliver every time, but only those fools who look at their operation with a critical eye always seeking to improve regularly deliver their brand promise.
3 – Get the Guests You Have to Visit More Often
This one might sound strange so bear with me for a minute while the calculator comes back out. I always like to look at an average regular table of 2 and assume that I get 4 visits out of them per year. If we have an average check of $20, that means this average regular table generates $160 per year (2 people x $20 x 4 visits). If we can get this table to visit once more in the year we would get an extra $40 of sales. This is a 25% increase! My two favorite ways to increase visits is either through a loyalty program, which most major brands have, or by creating a tight bounce back promotion that requires guests to come back before they normally would on their own.
4 – Bring in New Guests
I know, I know. You are a franchisee and pay into a mysterious Head Office advertising fund that delivers guests directly to your front door. The funny thing is Corporate Ad Funds are like the referees in sporting events. Half the people out there are angry with them at any point in time and no one thinks they do anything good. The trouble is it’s easy to blame head office for declining sales saying they aren’t doing enough. The real problem with thinking this way is it doesn’t help you grow.
The best advice I received when I first became a franchisee was “Always do your own marketing, don’t rely on others. If you get extra guests from the office consider it a bonus.” Once I understood this, the stress in my daily work life plummeted because I was truly in charge of my own destiny. I started making time to market locally and get to know my little corner of the world.
5 – 86 Bad Guests
This may seem a little strange, we just talked about getting guests, keeping guests, increasing their visits, their spend per visit and now, I’m going to talk about how to properly lose bad guests. Bad guests come in many shapes and sizes, but you need to figure out who they are.
The party of 30 trying to book a spot in your dining room at 7pm on a Friday night, effectively removing those 30 seats from 6pm to 9pm are potentially bad guests. We all want sales and fear saying no, but to get these 30 people you are potentially losing 2-3 seat turns during a high volume period to accommodate them. That means losing 90 guests to accommodate 30 guests.
The same group that comes in every Thursday night, orders the same meal with water to drink and complains about it every time, causing you to discount it for them are bad guests.
The folks that come in with head office coupons hoarded trying to get 80 entrees for free like they’re buying groceries at Wal-Mart, are bad guests.
What I’m doing is giving your permission to say NO to all of these people. You need to do it with empathy and class, but you still can say no. They are all costing you money.
Remember when you are thinking about sales growing efforts to focus on all 5 categories to ensure you are maximizing your chances at success. Are you picking up what I'm putting down? Feel free to leave any comments below.
Do you own a restaurant franchise? Are you 100% happy with your sales level and your profitability? I am a 25+ year restaurant industry veteran and have helped hundreds of franchisees raise their sales while increasing their profits, essentially making their financial dreams come true. I currently offer one-on-one sessions virtually through Zoom, Skype or via phone to set your restaurant goals and improve results. Stay tuned for more details about an online community for franchisees to get the training and help they need to succeed in today's restaurant game. Interested in learning more? Hit me up here to arrange a no obligation initial consult.