How To Increase Restaurant Sales: 20 Proven Tips & Tactics

How To Increase Restaurant Sales: 20 Proven Tips & Tactics
7shifts Staff

By 7shifts Staff

The competition in the restaurant industry is getting tighter. In fact, 45% of restaurant operators expect their competition to be much more intense in 2024 than last year. 

This proves that any restaurant business owner who wants to survive in this economy should be open to trying unconventional sales strategies to attract customers and continue making a profit.

That said, we've compiled some of the best techniques for increasing restaurant sales and taking your business to new heights.

20 effective ways to increase restaurant revenue

Approximately 80% of restaurants close before reaching their 5th year in the industry. We’ve studied what makes the 20% of restaurateurs successful and categorized them into essential categories, including optimizing your menu, providing unforgettable experiences, hosting events, and improving takeout.

To increase restaurant revenue, you can do the following:

  1. Use menu engineering

  2. Offer smaller portions as options

  3. Check your menu pricing

  4. Learn the art of upselling

  5. Cross-sell with other complementary items

  6. Provide a pay-at-the-table option

  7. Greet customers upon entry

  8. Pay attention to your plating

  9. Run a promotion for dine-in customers

  10. Schedule shifts smartly

  11. Offer delivery services

  12. Run delivery or take-out promotions

  13. Improve your website’s SEO 

  14. Increase your social media presence

  15. Celebrate happy hour

  16. Run a contest

  17. Host giveaways

  18. Join local events

  19. Use email marketing

  20. Reward customers with a loyalty program

Let’s dig deeper into each strategy:

Increasing your restaurant revenue by optimizing your menu

The menu is known as a "silent salesperson." Once in your customers' hands, this piece of paper can directly influence what your diners order and how much they spend in one sitting.

Here are some of the ways you can increase your profit by optimizing your menu:

Menu engineering

This process of increasing restaurant sales is more commonly known as menu engineering. Menu engineering is a scalable and effective process of balancing your menu while considering profitability and popularity.

When done right, menu engineering can grow your sales by as much as 15%!

By analyzing the profitability and popularity of your menu items in depth, you can pinpoint exactly which food and beverages contribute to your restaurant's success and which ones you can eliminate. 

Customers spend an average of 109 seconds reading a menu, meaning you have less than 2 minutes to showcase your food and beverage offerings. During this time, your customers scan the menu, go through the descriptions, and review the prices before deciding.

To make the most of these few seconds, ensure your menu is well-organized, and the details are laid out thoughtfully. 

Categorize your dishes in order of consumption, starting from the appetizers, then the main course, side dishes, desserts, and beverages. Limit them to an acceptable number to not overwhelm or bore your customers.

As a rule of thumb, categorize your items and keep your offerings for each category between 3 and 7. This will allow you to highlight your best dishes, showcase your specialties, and create variety.

Offer smaller portions as options

Large and generous food servings are usually welcomed by customers who love a good deal, as they can get more food by paying less. However, overly large portions can sometimes result in food waste, which is an issue not only for restaurants but also for the environment. 

According to the UN Environment Programme, over one billion tons of food is wasted annually, and 40% is from restaurants and food service companies.

By offering smaller portions on your menu as an alternative (and not as a replacement for your bigger portions), you can reduce the costs needed to produce a meal, which in turn can help increase revenue. 

This is a restaurant revenue management strategy that can help ensure optimal ingredient usage and prevent over-portioning. It can also be a great step to creating more accurate inventory management!

Did you know that 35% of diners consider price to be the second most important factor when choosing a restaurant? This is according to a study by Toast.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that yours has to be extra low—just be extra sure that they’re justified given your competitor’s menu and market fluctuations. 

In fact, there are various outside factors that can affect your menu pricing, including:

  • Market fluctuations (such as drought that can affect the production of some supplies you use as ingredients)

  • Unexpected demand surges

  • Peak seasons (you might need to hire more staff during these times)

  • Seasonality of ingredients (like fruits that can only be harvested during the summer)

  • Unforeseen events like the weather (as fewer people might go out during typhoon season)

  • Government regulations (such as when a new tax law gets enacted increasing the price of booze, for instance)

If, after careful consideration, you conclude that the inflation in food costs is slashing your profits, then it’s the best time to review your pricing. The same blind survey of 850 restaurant-goers above even cites that almost half (49%) of their respondents understand the need to raise menu item prices because of “economic factors.”

Go over your costs using various restaurant metrics. Check to see which areas you can cut back on or replace with alternatives without sacrificing the quality of your food.

Additionally, the timing of your price hikes/lows should be considered.

As Charles Russell, Senior Marketing Research Manager of Consumer Insights for Applebee’s, advised: “Have an idea about how long you think a certain price will be on your menu because if you tend to price every time your commodities shift, then consumers will get a perception that you’re continuously going up.”

One strategy you can apply is to avoid raising your prices during the time of year when customers are doing their back-to-school shopping. 

During this time, parents are more concerned with buying their children's books and uniforms than spending $20 on a takeout meal.

Learn the art of upselling

If you've been training your staff to ask, "Do you want fries with that?" or "Do you want your drink upsized?" as they present the menu and take your customers' orders, then you're already practicing the art of upselling.

Put simply, restaurant upselling is the process of influencing customers as they place their orders by luring them with a more expensive option (like asking them to upsize their drinks) or higher-margin add-ons (like fries that go well with their burgers). 

This is an easy way to get more out of your menu. However, it must be done only by your staff who have undergone proper training. Otherwise, they can sound like they're giving a sales pitch or harassing your customers.

When done right, this technique can help increase your restaurant's revenue by up to 30%.

Cross-selling with other complementary items

Just like upselling, cross-selling is a restaurant sales technique that involves offering your customers a different or additional item that complements what they've already ordered.

For instance, you can offer them a glass of Chardonnay along with their salmon, or keto ice cream to follow the gluten-free crust pizza they ordered. 

The key is to offer your customers not just any item, but ones that complement and fit what they have chosen. Otherwise, it will look like you're trying to rip them off by offering various unrelated items.

When executed correctly, this can be the best way to show your customers that your staff knows your menu by heart and can make trusted, personal recommendations.

Improving restaurant sales through unforgettable experiences 

Your customers will leave your restaurant feeling only one of two ways: full and extremely satisfied or so dissatisfied that they can't wait to tell their friends and family about their sour experience.

So, if you're looking to increase sales by giving your customers an unforgettable positive experience, here are some of the strategies you can look into:

Offer pay at the table option

No matter how much we loved the scrumptious meal we devoured at a restaurant, waiting too long to settle our bill ruins our experience. Studies have even found that customers who had to wait longer than expected are 18% less satisfied with their overall experience. 

This makes the pay-at-the-table option a great strategy for countering such experiences and ensuring customers will return to your restaurant. 

It is worth investing in a seamless billing experience if it can help expedite your customers' payment process. Doing so can also give them a sense of security, as they can settle their payments with their cards in sight. 

Don't forget your greetings

There are many tips and tricks for increasing restaurant profit. The one thing you should never forget is that nothing compares to top-notch customer service, which starts with a warm greeting as soon as your customers enter the door.

A simple greeting can go a long way. It sets a welcoming tone and makes your customers feel acknowledged. 

Remember, 91% of unhappy customers will never return to your establishment. What's worse, they may share their negative experiences with an average of 9 to 15 people. 

However, avoid asking personal questions in an attempt to make small talk. Your customers might feel that you are nosy, and can make them feel awkward instead of relaxed. 

Pay attention to your plating

One of the things your customers bring out as soon as their plate arrives on the table is their camera. In this digital age, good plating can serve as your marketing tool if customers love what they see, snap a photo, and upload it to social media.

As the Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts puts it: "Food is not just sustenance, but a rich experience. While taste is important, food that is plated and presented well is more attractive to customers and can set the tone for the entire restaurant."

In short, remember that how your food is presented impacts how your customers feel about its taste. If you truly want to increase your restaurant revenue, put extra effort into the height, contrasting colors, texture, and theme of every plate that comes out of your kitchen. 

Run a promotion for dine-in customers

If you want your customers to flock to your restaurant, one strategy you can utilize is running in-house-only promotions. 

For instance, you can offer your diners free drinks with their meals if they dine between 2 PM and 4 PM on weekdays. This is a strategic move, especially if your restaurant tends to be slow during those hours. 

You can also offer free dessert if they reach a certain single receipt amount. Just make sure that you carefully consider your restaurant expenses to ensure that this is something you can do while still making a profit.

Schedule shifts smartly

Whether you need chefs working in the kitchen or employees waiting tables, mopping the floors, or washing dishes, being sufficiently staffed can help you increase your restaurant revenue. After all, if you're looking to increase restaurant sales, you're targeting more customers, which also translates to more work. 

A restaurant scheduling software can help you ensure all tasks are assigned and that your establishment has enough employees to cater to your diners. Choose one that can assist you in scheduling your employees' shifts in minutes and is seamlessly integrated with your POS system.

Increasing restaurant sales via takeout strategies

Ordering food online allows customers to satisfy their cravings anytime and anywhere. It also helps them save time, effort, and resources since they don't have to leave the house or pause work to pick up their meals.

This is something your restaurant can take advantage of to boost restaurant sales. Here are some of the takeout strategies you can utilize:

Offer delivery services

Be it work, the weather, or simply your customers just wanting to relax at home, offering delivery services can instantly boost your sales.

Approximately 57% of millennials say they'd rather place orders and have food delivered at home to watch their favorite movies and TV shows while eating. The food delivery app industry is expected to be valued at a whopping $165 billion by 2029.

If you can't invest in your own delivery riders, you can always sign your business up and integrate it with food delivery apps.

Run delivery or take-out promotions

Just as you have dine-in promotions, running delivery or take-out promotions can also help increase your revenue. One great technique is studying which of your items are popular on takeout and promoting that.

For instance, you can run a "buy one family-sized pizza, get a 1.5 liter of soda for free" promotion.

You can also opt to run these promotions during Superbowl Sunday or Basketball Finals since many people are hosting viewing parties during these times, and you can take advantage of it to boost your sales.

Boosting restaurant sales by utilizing digital marketing strategies

Regardless of the number of customers you already have, never downplay the importance of having a structured digital marketing strategy in place.

#Food is the 25th most popular hashtag on Instagram, with over 380 million posts, and 32% of customers will visit a restaurant's website after coming across its content on social media. This reiterates the importance of having a strong digital presence to reach more customers. 

To boost your restaurant sales, here are some of the digital marketing strategies you can try:

Improve your website’s SEO 

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) stands for optimizing your website's pages so your business can rank higher on Google's search results. Some of the best SEO practices you can adopt include integrating the proper keywords into your content, ensuring your website is mobile-friendly, and producing quality content. 

The more users find your content valuable, the more Google will favor it. Make sure to opt for long-tail keywords and target those that are highly relevant to your business. 

For example, "best affordable restaurant in Vancouver" or "Asian restaurants in Toronto" would be better keyword targets than “best Asian Restaurant” since the last example is too broad. 

You want to focus your SEO efforts on targeting people around your area, a.k.a. customers who can actually visit and dine at your restaurant.

Increase your social media presence

There are about 4.95 billion social media users globally, and 302 million of them are in USA. This means that having a good social media presence ensures that your business reaches millions of potential paying customers. 

You can post essential information about your business so people who haven't heard of your restaurant before can be well-informed about your operating hours and location.

In case you're running any promotions, you can also post them on your social media channels so more people are aware of them and can take advantage of them.

It also pays to stay informed about the latest trends, memes, viral stories, and videos so you can incorporate them into your strategy. In fact, businesses that use memes in marketing have a 60% chance of attracting purchases. 

If you're not familiar with how this works, you can always hire social media managers who are updated on the latest trends to manage this aspect of your restaurant business for you. Or tap into your trend-savvy staff - if you have an employee who wants to build their social media marketing portfolio, it can help you both.

Instagram is one of the most popular social media platforms, with over 2 billion users worldwide. If you want to establish a strong social media presence, we suggest starting here.

Increasing restaurant profit by hosting special events

Hosting special events is a great way to give your customers a memorable and unique dining experience. Here are some of the ways you can increase restaurant sales by implementing this strategy:

Celebrate happy hour

According to the National Restaurant Association, 21% of the sales of full-service restaurants come from selling alcohol-based beverages. Happy hour, a.k.a beer o'clock, has been one of the restaurant industry's secret weapons for as long as anyone can remember. 

During happy hour, drinks and some selected meals come at discounted prices. This usually occurs during late afternoons to early evenings, as there is a short off-hour between the end of the workday and the beginning of the dinner rush.

For this to be a successful strategy to help increase restaurant sales, track your peak times and schedule your Happy Hour during off-periods to motivate customers to dine in.

Run a contest

Running contests is an excellent way to attract new and existing customers to your restaurant and grow your social media following.

For instance, you can have your customers post selfies of themselves dining in your restaurant or photos of their food. Outline that they should use a relevant hashtag and follow your page to enter.

Then, you can choose your winner using free online tools to randomly select a user based on the specifications you will provide (e.g., select a winner from everyone who followed your page starting from the date you posted the contest).

You can give free dishes, a gift card, or even free branded merch as a prize. 

This strategy can help other people be aware of your existing customers’ dining experience at your restaurant, which can help drive foot traffic and increase your business’s online visibility.

Host giveaways

Hosting giveaways is another way to reward your customers while boosting engagement and revenue. 

Giveaways are simple to implement as they only require small tasks like asking your followers to tag a friend in your social media post or leaving a review on your page to get a chance to win prizes.

One great prize you can give is a gift card, as 44% of consumers say that prizes such as this encouraged them to try new restaurants they wouldn’t have considered visiting in the first place.

Join local events

One great way to make your restaurant known is by joining local events in your community. This can help promote your business by interacting with the attendees, offering coupons and vouchers, and giving them a taste of some of the best-sellers on your menu.

Do note that you have to consider various factors before deciding whether to attend these events or not, including your target audience, your budget, your niche, and your availability.

For instance, if you are a vegan restaurant, then it would make sense to participate in charity events for animal welfare or plant-based fairs. Meanwhile, if your restaurant is known for its scrumptious courses and fine dining, then you can sponsor galas or balls. 

Serve your signature dishes and create visually appealing displays that represent your business. Also, bring banners or pamphlets with your restaurant’s name, location, and contact information.

Boosting restaurant sales by driving repeat business

Repeat customers spend about 70% more than first-time customers do. This is because they have already established trust and gained a positive experience with your business. 

Here are some strategies you can use that can help you nurture and retain your already existing customers:

Use email marketing

Gaining new customers is essential, but so is retaining existing ones. Email marketing is a great way to nurture those already supporting your business and remind them that you are grateful for their continued patronage. 

Popping in their inbox and sharing some "exclusive deals" will make them feel special and encourage them to return to your restaurant. It can also be a great way to remind them of events and promotions you are hosting. 

If you're unfamiliar with email marketing, you can always outsource this task to digital marketers. 

Reward customers with a loyalty program

Your restaurant business shouldn't be just about making sales but about forming relationships and building a bond with your customers as well. Implementing a loyalty program is a great way to thank them for staying loyal to your business. 

This can help strengthen your customer relationship and increase sales, making it a win-win for restaurateurs and their loyal diners.

In fact, loyalty program members visit their favorite restaurants 20% more frequently, and 47% of restaurant loyalty members use their membership several times a month.

You can start a rewards program by letting your diners earn loyalty points for every purchase and rewarding them every time they reach a milestone.

For instance, you can give them free dessert on the 10th time they dine with you and a slice of cake for members who celebrate their birthdays with you. This will make them feel special and create a sense of loyalty that will keep them coming back. 


Increasing your restaurant's revenue is not easy, but it can be achieved by using the strategies we shared above.

One of the most important steps you must incorporate into your strategy is ensuring that your restaurant is properly staffed, especially when you apply these techniques, and the customers start pouring in. 

With trusted and reliable restaurant scheduling software like 7shifts, you can be assured that you aren't overstaffed during off hours or understaffed during peak seasons. 

Now, you can focus on catering to your customer's needs rather than spending hours trying to determine your employees' weekly shifts. Create and publish the whole week's schedule in minutes, and focus your time on more pressing matters of your business. 

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7shifts Staff
7shifts Staff

7shifts team of writers and experts in the hospitality industry.