Increasing restaurant sales in a climate where discretionary spending is more subdued can be a real challenge. But in fact there are low to no cost strategies that can be used anytime and show surprising results. And guess what, it is not about expensive advertising in the newspapers. Here are five techniques that one of my clients has used religiously and she is still amazed with the difference it has made.

1. How to sell more to your existing clients

Did you know that increasing restaurant sales is not about getting new clients all the time? The first question you must ask yourself is “how can I get this client to come more often, or if they are having lunch how can I make them an offer to entice them to come back for dinner. So the very first thing you must do is produce a “thank you”note with an offer to bribe your clients to give you their email address, name and phone number, plus if possible their birthday (don’t ask for they date of birth) and their postal address. The offer can be a free meal for 2 or a voucher with a business that you have a strategic alliance with. this way you are building up a database.

2. Give your clients an offer for next time they visit

It could be a free bottle of wine for a table of 2 or 4, or a free meal if you bring a table of 4, the sky is the limit. Every month of every fortnight create a new offer. What about the cost of the offer you are asking? Well think about how difficult or expensive it can be to get a new client. The cost of a free meal for which you only pay wholesale cost is very very cheap advertising isn’t it? Also think about the likelihood of these clients referring their friends to you.

3. The birthday card

If you sent your clients a birthday card with a free meal offer, how likely is it that they will come and redeem it on their own? They will bring their friends with them right? Again how much would you have to spend to get these clients from a newspaper advertisement? The birthday offer is probably my top priority when I work with a restaurant owner who wants to increase his sales.

4. The free lunch letter

Put together a list of all the company owners and directors around the place and send them a snail mail letter offering a free lunch. Of course include the menu. These are influential people and if you can wow them when they visit, you will reap the benefits through repeat visits and referrals.

5. Increase restaurant sales through using the right words

For all of the above strategies it is highly recommended to use a copywriter or a marketing expert. The simple reason for this is that you the same strategy can fall flat on its face just because the approach used was wrong or the words not compelling enough. The way your offer is written will determine whether you get increased restaurant sales or no result at all!

These are often the first things I implement with my clients, but this is only the tip of the iceberg as there are dozens of simple and low cost strategies to increase restaurant sales within a short time. Keep an eye out for our upcoming article on using Facebook strategies.