How to increase the average order size at your restaurant?
5 ways for restaurants to increase your average basket size
Average order size (or basket size) can influence the overall revenue of your restaurant. Here’s how to increase it.
Every restaurant owner knows this one table that can turn your night around. They’re not louder than any other table, they don’t linger after closing time, they’re not particularly demanding… What sets this table apart from the rest is the size of their orders: starters, main course and dessert for each and every guest. A bottle of wine (make it two!) A coffee for the road… And maybe another drink? By the end of the evening, their bill is way higher than average… so high that it might give your weekly or monthly results a sizeable boost.
Many of us hope for a table like this every day. Especially in the current climate: The top 100 UK restaurant groups’ have lost to £571 while [1 in ten UK restaurants have shut down during the pandemic. Understandably, the restaurants still standing hope their customers will spend more so things can start coming back to normal. Is there any way to incentivise your clients to spend more? If you don’t know what an average basket size (or average order size is) or how to increase it, we tell you everything there is to know in this article.
Any restaurant owner knows there’s no miracle solution to increase your revenue. You must be willing to offer your customers impeccable service and quality food over time. Hard work is what you need. But it can also help to have a good sense of business. Here are the basics any restaurant owner should know: your revenue is the sum, after tax, of all the bills your clients have paid over a certain amount of time. Your revenue depends on two factors: the number of covers and the amount each of those customers pay. In order to increase your revenue, you have to influence one of these two factors. It’s simple math!
When restaurants try to increase their revenue, they usually try to increase the covers they serve. There are two main ways to do that: you can increase the loyalty of your existing customers or you can try and acquire new ones. There are effective ways to increase customer loyalty: we go over them here. As for acquiring new clients, it can be more complicated (and expensive). Most restaurants don’t have an expendable budget to spend on marketing. Fortunately, there’s another way to influence revenue growth for restaurants: the average basket. So don’t put all your eggs in the same basket…
With the same number of covers, your revenue can increase drastically if your customers order more or if they order more expensive products. But can you do anything about it, really, besides hiking up your prices (which might very well have the opposite effect and keep them from ordering… or coming back)? Is there a way to get your visitors to consume more?
An average basket size is the price of an average order. For restaurants, we also talk about average order size. You can obtain that number by dividing your revenue by the number of covers that you’ve served over a certain amount of time. Keep in mind there is no one-size-fits-all answer to average ticket size. It’s still important to measure yours in order to track any unusual drops and see how it evolves over time. More importantly, by measuring your average order size, you’ll be able to put in place strategies to increase it and see if they work.
Here at sunday, we help restaurants become more efficient and profitable by using technology. Our methods have helped hundreds restaurants boost their average order size. Here’s what we recommend:
We’ll never say it enough: whether you want to increase customer satisfaction or customer loyalty, you need to pay special attention to customer experience. This is not new for the hospitality and restaurant industry, but it’s becoming so important nowadays that even manufacturers and distributors are jumping on the “customer experience” bandwagon. Today’s clients expect to be treated particularly well. This means a cosy decor, a nice atmosphere, and friendly staff. The more they feel at home, the more they’ll order.
Customer knowledge is a strategic priority for most companies: it’s an important factor for growth. By understanding your clients’ expectations and feedback, you can adapt to their needs and incentivise them to consume more. You have two main ways to do that: you can ask them directly what they think of your restaurant and if they have any feedback via a satisfaction form. But you can also try to understand important trends thanks to data. What meals and what drinks are often ordered together? Are your prix fixe menus more popular for dinner or for lunch? A good POS system can allow you to track their habits and draw the right conclusions.
You’ve understood the habits of your customers? Great! Now adapt your menu! Create prix fixe menus by grouping the items that are often ordered together, set up special offers for the times of day when orders are sluggish… If nobody seems to order alcoholic drinks on weeknights, you can introduce a happy hour discount. You can also introduce paid variations for some of your dishes: adding avocado to a burger, replacing a green salad with fries or guacamole… your customers will not request these options spontaneously, but offering the alternatives on your menu could drive up the bill.
“Would you like chips with that?”: this simple question can do a lot for your average order size. There’s a world of difference between not asking for chips spontaneously… and refusing them explicitly when they’re offered to you. Your waiters have to be straightforward. They can suggest sides or beverages that would complement the meals your customers have ordered. They can also suggest modifying certain dishes: “Would you like extra avocado in your burger?” Always remind your waiters that their role is to advise clients and to suggest mouthwatering options they might have missed.
Our partner restaurants have made an important observation: when they offer their customers the option to pay with a sunday QR code… their average order increases by 12%. 12% ! This might seem surprising at first, since customers pay after they order. How can the payment methods influence their orders? The truth is, technological innovations make your customer’s lives easier and simplify tedious things : ordering the bill, waiting for it, waiting for someone to bring your credit card back… When you remove these steps, they’re happier and more likely to order. They have more time and are less stressed. They can order whatever they crave without worrying about the time. Usually, people order the bill at 1:45 to be sure they’ve left the restaurant by 2. With sunday, your customers will have the time to order a coffee and a dessert at 1:45, knowing full well they’ll be able to leave whenever they want.
And there’s more: your waiters won’t have to handle the painstaking step of cashing the bills. They’ll have more time and more energy to dedicate to your customers. They’ll be able to advise them and encourage them to consume more (remember step 4). In short, digitising your restaurant can do a lot for your average basket. To learn more about QR code sunday payment options, head here!