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Increase Revenue

A Guide to Restaurant Revenue Drivers in 2024 (With Examples)

Updated on January 29, 2024, 32 days ago 8 minute read
Author : Elana Kroon
Reviewed by : Nezar Kadhem
Updated : January 29, 2024 8 min read
Author : Elana Kroon
Reviewed by : Nezar Kadhem
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Contents

The restaurant industry landscape has changed in recent years, and new revenue drivers in 2024 have emerged to help restaurant owners thrive. 

“A one-star increase in Yelp rating leads to a 5-9 percent increase in revenue”, concludes the Associate Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School, Michael Luca, in his study.

Therefore, harnessing the power of a restaurant’s reputation is essential for a restaurant’s success. But what else is there?

In this guide, we will explore the top revenue drivers for restaurant owners this year, providing examples to help you increase your profit margin.

Key Takeaways

  • Restaurant revenue drivers include a good online reputation and brand identity, the use of digital tools, as well as an excellent customer experience through menu innovation and upselling strategies.

  • In hotel and restaurant expert, Kateryna Fedosova's study, she says that the profit of the restaurant directly depends on the restaurant’s menu. Apart from innovative dishes, restaurants should remove currency signs, use the color red and create delicious descriptions for menu items to convince the guest to spend more money.

  • Using restaurant management technology like Eat App can help manage table turnover, maximize restaurant capacity and answer customer reviews.

The new revenue drivers for a restaurant

Manage your online reputation

Customers trust the opinions of others, so a good online reputation can attract more of them through positive word-of-mouth. 

To enhance your restaurant's reputation online, encourage satisfied guests to leave reviews and engage with potential customers on social media platforms.

Positive reviews and comments on social media can significantly impact your revenue because more people will come to your restaurant.

online reputation

These reviews also help restaurant owners make more money by attracting customers, but responding to negative reviews has a great impact as well.

In this study, one restaurant owner noted, “You respond to him, but uh… a little bit indirectly, you are responding to everybody in the whole world that is going to read that response,” thus highlighting the importance and effects of prompt and good responses.

With a Review Management feature, you can easily keep track of your online reputation and respond to customer feedback. Here are its main benefits:

  • Centralized review monitoring. Conveniently manage all your reviews from various platforms, including Google, Facebook, Bing, and more.

  • Real-time review notifications. Stay on top of new reviews by receiving instant notifications whenever they get posted.

  • Actionable insights and analytics. Gain insights into your restaurant’s performance through detailed reports about metrics like customer sentiment and areas for improvement. 

  • Efficient review response workflow. Quickly respond to complaints and other reviews directly within the app to ensure that you provide timely and personalized communication with your customers.

 

Provide digital convenience

Nowadays, too many restaurant failures happen due to many restaurant owners not using digital solutions.

They provide a level of convenience that customers have grown to expect, such as:

  • Online booking. Customers now prefer the convenience of booking a table in seconds rather than talking for 2-3 minutes or waiting for a reply. Integrating an online booking system, like Eat App’s booking widget, allows customers to make reservations anytime, anywhere, whether it’s through your restaurant’s website, Facebook, Instagram, or Google. 

  • Online ordering. The demand for online food ordering will always be a major restaurant revenue driver. This study showed that 52% of respondents order almost every week. Implementing an online ordering system enables customers to place their food orders conveniently, whether for dine-in, takeout, or delivery. 

  • Digital menu. Gone are the days of printed menus that quickly become outdated or limited in showcasing your offerings. If you’re a restaurant manager, adopting a digital menu solution allows you to provide customers with a dynamic menu experience. They also provide flexibility when it comes to making menu changes (like updating menu pricing and adding seasonal specials).

  • Pay-at-table service. Waiting for the check can be a frustrating experience for customers. Pay-at-table technology allows customers to settle their bills directly through their smartphones without the need to wait for a server. This seamless payment process not only saves time but also enables you to turn tables faster and boost revenue.

Identify your brand identity

california donuts example for brand identity

Does your restaurant brand have a strong identity that people love to share?

Creating an experience that leads customers to share stories, post pictures, and recommend your restaurant is a powerful revenue driver.

California Donuts thrives on Instagram because of its colorful feed that people react to.

Just look at their tagged photos below as proof that people on Instagram love the brand so much they share it on their social media, replicating the brand’s identity.

california donuts instagram feed

Therefore, one surefire way of building your brand identity is by sharing engaging content online.

Platforms like Hootsuite, Buffer, and Sprout Social can assist in managing your restaurant’s social media presence effectively.

These tools allow you to schedule posts and engage with your audience across multiple social media channels. 

Additionally, CRM software can be used to manage and analyze customer data to create personalized experiences.

A powerful hospitality platform like Eat App, for example, offers fantastic CRM functionalities that help you capture customer preferences, dining history, and feedback.

Through these, you can tailor your interactions and offerings to individual customers, which is a great motivator for them to share positive comments online. 

>>> Find out more about Eat App’s powerful CRM tool. 

Consider menu engineering 

Menu innovation will be a key driver of revenue for restaurants in 2023.

It goes beyond just introducing new dishes — true menu innovation involves creating a dining experience that excites your customers through diverse and inclusive offerings. 

Careful menu engineering will consider all sorts of dietary restrictions and preferences.

Offer vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, and dairy-free options that are as delicious and enticing as your other dishes. 

Then, think about spicing things up by incorporating dishes from different cultures. You can introduce fusion creations that combine flavors in unexpected ways and seasonal specials that highlight fresh ingredients.

“The key to adjusting to customers’ dietary needs versus restrictions is to have fun with it. Pull flavors, textures and think outside the box.

The last thing a vegetarian, pescatarian, or vegan wants is the same old boring afterthought veggie patty.

We utilize our culinary toolbox to incorporate global influences to entice all diners across the dietary spectrum,” said the owner of Crabtree.

For an extra revenue boost, you may choose to offer limited-time promotions that create a sense of urgency among customers and give you a good reason to up your food cost.

This could include special-themed nights, happy hour deals, or chef’s tasting menus.

Unique or exclusive experiences like this generate a lot of buzz and give loyal customers even more reasons to visit your restaurant.

Moreover, technology can significantly contribute to your restaurant's menu innovation efforts, especially AI-powered tools.

AI can provide recommendations based on customer data, helping you understand their preferences and tweak your menu offerings accordingly.

It can also assist in optimizing your menu design and pricing strategies, i.e. by identifying your most profitable menu items and creating menu layouts that maximize sales. 

Implement upselling strategies 

mcdonalds upselling strategy

 

Upselling strategies — i.e. suggesting additional items, like catering services or upgrades — can not only boost your profit margins but also provide customers with a more satisfying meal.

Upselling is all about training your staff appropriately so they know how to nudge customers toward some extra indulgence through different menu items and ideas.

Your staff should make add-on recommendations that complement the customer’s chosen dish.

For example, if a customer orders a burger, they can suggest adding premium toppings like bacon or avocado for an enhanced flavor experience. 

Servers can also recommend beverage pairings that go together with the flavors of the food.

An example would be a refreshing craft beer to accompany a spicy dish or a fine wine to complement a rich and flavorful steak. 

Pro tip: In today’s digital age upselling and cross-selling aren’t restricted to the staff’s perception. With innovative technology, you can track customer data, transaction data, and purchase behavior to go from “ Do you want fries with that” a rather generic question, to “ Do you want your favorite chocolate milkshake with that?” a personalized question at the right time.

Manage restaurant capacity

Managing your restaurant’s capacity directly impacts your profits, customer service, and overall dining experience.

In 2023, restaurants need efficient tools to handle reservations, last-minute bookings, and walk-ins seamlessly. 

The Timeline View feature is helpful for restaurant operators to quickly and easily assess table reservations.

It does this through a graphical interface that displays the 3D restaurant floor plan, including which tables are reserved, at what time, and for how long. 

This at-a-glance view simplifies the process of accommodating last-minute reservations and walk-ins without the risk of double booking or overcrowding existing guests.

Pro tip: To generate more revenue, make sure your tables are fully booked all the time. With advanced analytics, you can see when your restaurant is less busy and offer limited offers to attract more customers.

During peak hours, make sure your old guests can reserve the table before everyone else simply by emailing them.

Host a grand opening event

It's your responsibility to notify guests when you open restaurants. Organize a launch celebration where your chef serves up their best.

Encourage the press and influencers to obtain attention before, during, and following the event, and publicize your grand opening on social media to attract potential guests.

Ask attendees to sign up for the conference at no cost via the Internet. In this manner, you can utilize those users' contact details in customer support software that permits shopper marketing campaigns.

Manage table turnover 

A busy restaurant is a successful restaurant, but increasing table turnover generally leads to higher revenue.

That’s why it’s important to aim for an appropriate service duration.

Research has shown that fast-paced music can decrease meal duration, so you should use music and lighting strategically to create an atmosphere that encourages a steady dining pace.

Investigate how successful owners experiment with these elements to find the right balance that maintains a pleasant dining experience while subtly encouraging guests to dine efficiently.

Your staff should be trained to inform guests subtly that their dining experience is coming to a close.

Instead of rushing them, a server could say, “So, what are your plans now that your meal is finished?”

This gentle prompt encourages guests to think about their next steps and signals that their dining experience is wrapping up.

>>>> Download your free staff training manual today. 

Improve your guest experience 

improve your guest experience

Exceptional customer experiences are the cornerstone of a successful restaurant business plan.

Guests who have an enjoyable dining experience overall are more likely to become loyal patrons and share their satisfaction with others. 

A great customer experience goes hand in hand with a personalized approach. So, you should train your staff to greet customers warmly, use their names when possible, and be attentive to their needs throughout their visit. 

Your team should be fully equipped with the knowledge and skills needed to deliver exceptional service; therefore, focus on training them in menu knowledge, high-quality food and wine pairings, and proper etiquette to empower them to provide delightful dining experiences.

It’s helpful to know the guest's preferences (when they aren’t new guests) even before they arrive.

You can do this with a guest CRM feature that keeps track of orders and important notes such as “ allergic to dairy”.

A personalized approach leaves a good impression during the visit, but responding to customer reviews online leaves a good impression after the guest leaves the restaurant.

Eat App feature for improving guest experience

Start a loyalty program

For restaurant owners, it's beneficial to establish loyalty programs that reward customers for their guests both online and in-person.

By implementing such programs, your customer base can accumulate points with every purchase they make, whether they dine in or order online.

These points can then be exchanged for free meals or unique dining experiences.

This strategy not only encourages repeat business but also enhances customer satisfaction by offering tangible rewards for their loyalty.

Keep guests coming back with email marketing

Email marketing is great for restaurants that wish to maintain a strong connection with their existing customers and encourage repeat business and customer loyalty.

You don’t need to manage all those guests and their preferences on your own.

With a marketing automation software/feature restaurant managers can set up highly targeted email campaigns using existing guest and sales data captured by its online reservation system.

Eat App feature for email marketing

Marketing automation features include sending automated emails based on specific triggers, such as birthdays, anniversaries, or other significant milestones.

The platform can also help re-engage customers who haven’t visited in a while by sending targeted emails offering special promotions and personalized recommendations. 

Conclusion

Driving revenue for your restaurant in 2023 is all about implementing the right tools and strategies and combining them with excellent service. 

As for tools that make life easier for you, you can sign up for Eat App to get all the benefits of the methods we’ve discussed in this article in just one centralized platform.

Above all, stay proactive, adapt to industry trends, and always prioritize the satisfaction of your guests. Here’s to a thriving and profitable restaurant business in 2024 and beyond!

FAQs

What are the revenue drivers of restaurants?

Some key restaurant revenue drivers include online reputation, digital convenience, brand identity, menu innovation, upselling strategies, managing restaurant capacity, table turnover, customer experience, and retention-focused email marketing.

How do restaurants generate revenue?

Restaurants generate their total revenue through various sources. The primary source is the sale of food and beverages to customers.

Restaurants may generate more revenue through additional services such as hosting private events and partnering with food delivery platforms.

What are the three main categories of revenue for a restaurant?

The three key business drivers' unique categories for a restaurant are food sales, beverage sales, and other sources.

Other key business drivers can include private event bookings and partnerships with other delivery services.

To outweigh labor costs and food costs, many restaurant owners focus on enhancing these three categories.

Where does revenue come from in a restaurant?

A key business driver for a restaurant's revenue is customer purchases. They come from dine-in orders, takeout and delivery orders, catering services, and others.

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