Boost Your Restaurant’s Lunch Business with These Tips
While their dinner and weekend business may be doing great, many restaurant owners and managers face the same challenge of keeping the restaurant consistently full during lunch hours, especially during the work week. If you are among them, here are a few ideas that will help give your restaurant the boost it needs during lunch time.
Put a twist on typical lunch items:
Sandwiches and salads are lunch time staples, but they can also get boring after a while. Try putting a creative twist on the typical lunch fare your guests could find almost anywhere. Change up the menu seasonally to feature fresh and local ingredients throughout the year or add a unique topping to a basic burger or sandwich. Case in point: one popular burger topping is peanut butter — which might sound strange but people love it!
Strive for speedy service:
Most people during the week are strapped for time, so they tend to come back to restaurants that will serve fresh, delicious food, and quickly! Serving your customers fast doesn’t have to compromise quality and taste, if the kitchen staff plans and preps ahead of time. Large batches of soup can be made early in the day, salad items chopped ahead of time and the list goes on to better accommodate the lunch hour rush.
Offer a convenient takeout option:
Takeout is a popular lunch time request, so you’ll want to make it fast and easy for customers to place and pick-up their order. One easy way to do that is by adding an online takeout ordering system to your restaurant’s website. More and more restaurants are also now offering curbside pick-up for added convenience. And, of course, make sure when customers arrive, their order is fresh and ready to go.
Pass around free food samples to businesses in the community with lunch menus and coupons:
According to an Accounting Principals Workonomix Survey, two-thirds of the working population regularly buys their lunch, and each worker spends nearly $2,000 a year on lunch during the work week. Therefore, targeting local businesses should be an important part of your marketing strategy. One great way to keep your restaurant top of mind with the local workforce is to offer free menu samples at businesses throughout the community with leave-behind lunch menus and coupons.
Add brunch to the menu:
Breakfast items (i.e. omelets, breakfast sandwiches, pancakes) are popular favorites during lunch, and many businesses stop serving breakfast after 11 AM. Therefore, offering a brunch menu can give your restaurant a competitive edge.
Keep prices affordable:
In general, your patrons won’t want to pay dinner prices for lunch. One easy way to keep your lunch menu affordable while still making a profit is to serve smaller portion sizes that are better suited for lunch.
Don’t forget about stay-at-home moms and their kids:
Stay-at-home moms and dads with young children are ideal lunch targets. How can you make the kid’s menu more unique by adding, for example, a selection of fruit smoothies (assuming you offer one)? Equally important is to make the dining experience as comfortable and enjoyable as possible for both parents and children.
Do some market research by dining at other restaurants in the area during lunch hours:
If you want your restaurant to become a lunch hot spot in the area, it’s important to know what the competition is doing! One easy way to find out is to go to other local restaurants for lunch, and observe.
A successful and profitable restaurant cannot just rely on dinner and weekend business. These basic strategies to boost lunch sales can help ensure that your restaurant isn’t leaving money on the table.
What are you doing to gain a lunch crowd?
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