Over the last two years, the ways of running a restaurant have dramatically changed. Gone are the days of providing sit down only service. If a restaurant isn’t offering anything different to meet customers where they are and adapt to the new way of life, their customers will quickly take their business elsewhere. As the saying goes, the customer is always right. Here are the best ways for restaurants to diversify their revenue streams, both to make money for themselves and meet recent customer demands.
Rewards programs are a great way to combine both customer climate adaptation and a diversification of revenue streams. Rewards programs both make customers feel valued with special offers, and may draw in new customers that otherwise would not have come to the establishment. Things like every 10 purchases resulting in a free item, or using a points system where customers can cash out their points for various menu items. If the rewards are attainable quickly, new customers will spend more to get them. If there are bigger ticket items down the road, customers will spend more over a longer period of time to get them. Not only do loyalty programs create more loyal and high paying customers that would otherwise not be, but this can also result in customers telling their friends and family about the rewards program, and bring more customers into the program. According to Forbes, in the U.S. there are 3.3 billion loyalty memberships. It’s a huge market, so take advantage of it.
Once a loyal relationship has been established with customers, the doors then open further. Selling swag is a new way brands and businesses have been building their relationships with customers. Selling shirts, hats, pint glasses, or even just small accessories and goodies can make customers feel as though they’re part of the brand. Shirts also double as free marketing if customers wear them in public and post a picture on social media, so that’s always a bonus.
The #1 best way to diversify revenue streams though, is pickup and delivery. Before doing so, an owner must be 100% certain that their business can handle it, and have thought of every cost that will come with it. One of these factors is the cost that comes with the bags and packaging materials in takeout and delivery orders. The bag the food goes in, the box the food goes in, and any special offers or printed menus that go in the bag are all things that will pull from the topline costs. Commission that 3rd party apps take is also something to be considered before implementing takeout and delivery, as it is typically a hefty chunk. Owners should consider changing menu prices for online orders to make up for the loss on commission, ensuring that they can still make profit on 3rd party orders. Considering the fact that orders could be stolen is another thing to think over before implementing delivery and pickup, making sure the business has ways to seal bags and/or boxes is also a cost to be aware of.
If a restaurant can make it work, takeout optimizes the operations in the modern age.
If a restaurant can make it work though, delivery and pickup optimizes the business for the modern age of dining. More and more customers are getting new reasons to order in and stay home, and many have found it more enjoyable than going out. It was a way of life that popped up abruptly, but will stick around for years to come. It gives customers an easy way and reason to visit a restaurant, getting all the same good food in a much quicker time frame, and they get to wait and eat it in the comfort of their own home. Takeout takes pressure off of wait staff, and accommodates customers to meet them where their demands are. Waiting in line is something customers hate, and long wait times once they’ve ordered is also a pain point for many consumers. Being able to place an order ahead of time and show up when it’s ready, or have it delivered to their doorstep has become a saving grace for a large portion of the consumer population. In the modern age of restaurants, owners need to have multiple ways to make money. Diversifying revenue streams contributes not only to bottom line profits, but often makes customers’ lives easier as well.