Igniting revenue optimization for fast-casual restaurants

Igniting revenue optimization for fast-casual restaurants

With everyone jumping on the fast-casual bandwagon, effective revenue optimization becomes essential to survival in a hyper-competitive market. Award-winner Judith Cartwright, founder and managing director of Black Coral Consulting, tells us how to achieve it.

The fast-casual restaurant market is thriving, reaching USD 124.5 billion in 2022, growing at 10.4 percent CAGR, projected to be USD 337.8 billion by 2032 (source: Allied Market Research). The high-energy restaurant market, popular for its convenient, affordable and satisfying meals in vibrant settings, thrives on consumer demand.

Today’s customers seek innovative food choices. This is consequently reflected in customized menus featuring dishes packed with new and bold flavors, as well as gluten-free options. So, the emphasis is on “trending” meal and diet choices and even certain ingredients.

The rise in popularity of chef-driven fast-casual restaurant franchises is another market-boosting factor. Consequently, celebrity chefs are creating their own brands and menus that pack a punch to pull in the punters.

Tips for maximizing revenue

Invest in the right tech

Investing in the right technology is essential for effective revenue optimization. Fast-casual restaurants can leverage solutions to streamline processes, boost revenues and enhance the customer experience. Consequently, offering features such as online ordering, delivery services and improved customer engagement. Resulting, in an increase in the convenience factor consumers crave.

A survey by the National Restaurant Association revealed 79 percent of guests choose restaurants that offer online ordering options. While a study by Toast POS found restaurants that implemented tableside ordering and payment solutions experienced a 20 percent increase in table turnover, resulting in higher revenue.

Design your menu strategically

A well-crafted restaurant menu can significantly impact revenue optimization, and there are statistics to prove it.

A Cornell University study found that highlighting dishes with descriptive menu labels increased sales by 27 percent. It even improved customers’ perception of the quality of the food. Charm pricing at USD 9.99, not USD 10, increases sales by about 8 percent according to a study in the Journal of Consumer Research. Limited time offers and seasonal specials can drive revenue growth too. A survey by Technomic found that 41 percent of consumers are likely to visit a restaurant for a limited time offer.

When it comes to menu engineering, it’s crucial to consider layout in different formats, including mobile first. Optimize mobile menus for appeal and impact. Engineer dishes at the right price and place to enhance the mobile dining experience.

Enhance the guest experience

Delivering exceptional customer experiences is crucial for revenue optimization. After all, service, ambience, personalization and small touches come at a premium. A study by Deloitte revealed 60 percent of customers are willing to pay more for a better experience. Personalization is not negotiable if you want to boost your revenue. According to Infosys research, 74 percent of customers feel frustrated when website content is not tailored to them. Furthermore, 59 percent of consumers say personalization influences their purchasing decisions in a positive way.

Entertainment and atmosphere – the vibe – also play a significant role. According to the National Restaurant Association, 73 percent of consumers are more likely to visit a restaurant with live entertainment.

Optimize your staff and operation

It goes without saying that efficient operations and staffing are pivotal for revenue optimization. Furthermore, they all dovetail with improving the guest experience. Gallup study shows well-trained staff boost revenue and engaged customers spend 23 percent more at restaurants. Streamlined processes save time, money and ensure prompt service. According to a report by Upserve, reducing wait times by five minutes can increase revenue by up to 20 percent. Thus, it encourages guests to order extra as they know it will arrive quickly. Data-driven decision-making is crucial, as Oracle Hospitality notes 83 percent of restaurant operators believe data analytics is vital for business success.

Get your table timing right

The more times you can turn your table, the greater your revenue. Therefore, analyze your demand peaks and troughs closely to optimise table use. You can optimize table turnover by defining meal periods and durations. Analyze the number of people at each table and their timing patterns. Take this one step further and consider dynamic pricing, charging more for a table during peak periods. Protect against no-shows with clear terms and conditions in place, ensuring the preservation of revenue for your restaurant business.

Leverage the Instagram effect

If your restaurant is in an Instagrammable location or has Instagrammable features, consider asking for a minimum spend. You would do the same for a great view or perhaps the best seat in the house. If it’s a sought-after premium product or experience, charge for it.

It’s all about people

Effective people management leads to optimal revenues. Ensure staff skill sets match the venue and role. Align staffing levels with demand patterns for each sitting to optimize operations. The fast-casual dining landscape also requires some out-of-the-box thinking in terms of balancing a personalised service with frictionless technology.

Fast-casual restaurants thrive through exceptional and personalized dining experiences, blending technology, strategic menus, vibrant ambience, trained staff, streamlined operations and creative data analysis. Recipe for success: ignite effective revenue optimization for sustained growth, ensuring your outlet thrives and stays ahead in a competitive market.

Judith Cartwright,
founder and managing director of Black Coral Consulting

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