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The Craft

The ultimate resource for alcohol beverage news, trends and reports for bars, distributors and suppliers.

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Bars and restaurants are suffering from slow sales in every market. Compounding this problem is the fact that there are some naturally slow times in the year, such as between New Year’s Day and February. However, there are some ways to increase revenue during any slow period. These lessons can be broadly applied to bars and restaurants to help make up for the losses incurred as a result of COVID precautions. The goal here, with fewer ticket sales and customers, is to increase the amount of money you can make from the customers you do have!

Boosting Restaurant Profits during slow season

Increase Revenue by Including Delivery

If you find that your sales are dwindling because you can’t get your customers in the door, then you should work on bringing your products to them. Many pubs and restaurants are partnering with their local freelance delivery companies to provide a means for their customers to place orders and have their favorite dishes brought to them.

It might be better to hire delivery drivers within your business if your payroll allows it, though. The bottom line is that your business will start to pick up because your food is available, and other businesses’ products are not. Also, some bars and liquor stores have received permission to provide alcoholic beverages to their customers during COVID restrictions. Check your local laws and see how you can optimize your sales by tapping into the sales of people sitting at home!

Encourage Foot Traffic with Good Deals

Most restaurants are dealing with limited capacities at the moment, and that means that every seat in the house has to be filled if you want to keep your sales strong. To get people through the doors, you should try to offer them deals on some of your products. Now, you can’t go and discount all your liquor or you’ll make sales while losing money. Your bar or restaurant should focus on discounting side orders or complementary items that are best paired with something you serve that costs real money. For example, you could put a discount on your appetizers while keeping drinks at full price. Another good idea is to serve one drink very cheap and watch as that opens the customer up to other items on the menu. Once they’re settled in and feeling good, they will want to order a margarita and some fries to go with that $1 Long Island Iced Tea you lured them in with.

Counteract slow restaurant sales with a loyalty program

Implement a Loyalty Program

Another way that you can generate sales is by implementing a loyalty program if your business does not already have one. Numerous methods exist for establishing one of these programs, but the basic concept is to get your customers to come back into the business and make purchases over and over again. If you can handle developing customer accounts, you can assign them points relative to the amount of money they spend or the number of times they visit the establishment. Making these programs requires a bit of ingenuity—each one must take into account your business’ capabilities and clientele.

Steer Clients Toward Higher Costing Foods and Drinks

This piece of advice should seem like a no-brainer at this point, but you need to emphasize the promotion of foods and drinks with your workers. Specifically, your team must work on the art of the upsell. Train your workers to look at the order that is being placed and see how they can offer more to their customers to drive up the ticket price. Not only can you pair this idea with the discounted appetizers or drinks, but a well-trained wait staff can easily double a ticket by asking about appetizers, drinks, and desserts in a restaurant. In a bar setting, you can focus on having people buy top-shelf drinks. Right now, a lot of bars are fighting to empty those bottles of top-shelf spirits, and training your workers to focus on selling those can help a lot in that endeavor.

Restaurant Slow Season Strategy

Try to Sell the Related Products

Another important thing that you should do if you’re trying to keep your sales strong during a slow time is to sell related products. If your customer orders a burger and a soda, try to convert the latter to a beer. When a customer comes in and wants a margarita made from the basic ingredients, try to urge them to go top-shelf tequila. If you add a few dollars to every drink ticket, you’re going to make a lot of money over time. Work on coming up with unique pairings for the food that you have to offer your customers so it’s second nature for your servers to ask if your customer wants a side with that burger, a bigger cup of beer, or a better shot of whiskey.

Offer Seasonal Specialties

Like it or not, a lot of restaurants are struggling to bring in customers because they have not innovated in terms of their menu offerings. If you want to get people through the doors, you need to have something that other bars or restaurants don’t offer or do not offer as good as yours. People make choices to go to one bar instead of another all the time because of what is on their menu. For example, if one bar has the best roast beef and swiss sandwich to go with their drinks, that alone will help draw a crowd. All it takes is one person in the group to want that dish and their indecisiveness falls in your favor. It’s best to choose one or two drinks or meals that your kitchen can perfect and then start serving them to your customers. They’ll come back for more, but it will take some research for your specific area.

 

Surviving during COVID-19 is very difficult for any bar or restaurant. Many places have scaled back operations while others are looking for ways to make sales better. Using the methods outlined here, you can work on helping your establishment sell more expensive items and get customers through the door. As long as you take time to understand your clientele, you’ll find ways of reaching out to them!

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