When consumed with the daily motions of running a restaurant, it can be easy to forget about the daunting task of increasing sales. Without sales, even the tastiest and most innovative menus won’t get proper attention. In this day and age, though, taking out a pricey ad in the paper isn’t the only way to get eyes on your restaurant. Take a look at these six tips to increase sales without advertising. 

Samples and Food Drops

The uncomplicated act of handing out samples to current and potential customers is often an overlooked advertising technique. You want to attract more customers to your restaurant, so why not give the everyday passerby an incentive to finally pop in your establishment? Be sure to hand out your top-selling or most popular item for a taste of your restaurant’s true self. Another similar idea is to try a couple of “food drops” per year. This is where a restaurant gives away a platter of its dishes to a nearby business to remind them that they’re on the map! This event will raise brand awareness and will give people a sense of your restaurant’s values. 

Change Up Your Menu

We know it might be hard to part ways with innovative new dishes on the menu, but sometimes you need to sit down and evaluate what food and beverage items are keeping guests coming back for more, and which ones aren’t. By conducting an occasional analysis of your top-selling menu items, not only can you pinpoint what dishes to upsell, but also which ones need to go.

Serve Seasonal Items 

Sometimes in the restaurant industry, it’s okay to be a follower. If the people want seasonal menu items, they should get seasonal menu items, even if pumpkin spice lattes aren’t your restaurant’s thing. Using the seasons as a marketing technique is a free and festive way to boost sales. Stay true to your brand and have fun deciding how you can incorporate seasonal items into your menu. On that note, promoting your restaurant’s catering service for seasonal events like holiday parties can increase your revenue too. 

Utilize Free Advertising Techniques 

You’ve most likely heard this before but let us reiterate: if your restaurant isn’t on social media, it should be! Social media platforms of all kinds can help boost sales. After all, they are free advertising at its finest. To go one step further, make sure you’re paying special attention to your restaurant’s website. An aesthetically please and easy-to-read webpage can be extremely valuable when it comes to gaining new customers, but it means nothing if Google scrollers can’t find it. Determining the best keywords to include on your site will ensure that internet users stumble upon your restaurant the next time they look for the delicious cuisine it’s serving up. 

Positive Reinforcement

You’ve got a handful of all-star customers who wouldn’t dream of going to your restaurant’s competition. Let’s keep it that way. Positive reinforcement, whether it’s in the verbal or tangible reward form, lets current customers know that they’re valued and that their recurrent business means a lot to your restaurant. Happy and loyal diners are often likely to pass on good reviews to friends and family, thus increasing sales. On the other hand, if your restaurant loses a valued customer, that shiny recommendation goes out the window, too. Forming bonds with recurrent restaurant patrons and offering coupons in the form of a loyalty program reinforces your gratitude for those die-hard customers. 

Participate in Restaurant Week

In New York City, restaurant week is more like a three-week event that happens a couple of times per year. (The next one is January 21st – February 9th, 2020.) While it’s highly recommended that your restaurant take part in the festivities and/or deals, there are other “restaurant week-like” events and festivals that you can get involved in to raise brand awareness, also. You’d be surprised by the number of restaurant weeks that are held in various boroughs and neighborhoods in NYC, so take full advantage of the opportunity to showcase your restaurant! 

The importance of sales is a no brainer, and with carefully planned strategies it doesn’t have to break the bank. With excitement and drive to make your business succeed, your restaurant should be on a fast track to increased sales without blowing its budget.