Getting customers inside your restaurant feels like a war in itself. Once you have them in the building, you need to ensure each customer is spending a sufficient amount of money to keep profits flowing.
Poor average customer spend can be very damaging to your business. Your business might be teeming with people, but your profits could be extremely marginal if each customer is not spending enough.
Read on for our guide to average spend per customer, including why it is important and how to calculate it. Then, we'll share 10 of the most reliable methods any restaurant owner can use to increase average customer spend in your venue.
For more information on boosting the general success of your venue, check out our guide on how to increase sales in your restaurant.
Why is the average spend per customer important?
Average spend per customer is important for restaurants as it is one of the most transparent metrics for restaurant performance. The amount of money you can expect to make each time a customer walks through your doors is a reliable way to measure your revenue and work on ways to improve it.
Increasing average spend per customer is oftentimes a more attainable goal than broader goals about restaurant sales. Attracting new customers and comprehensively streamlining your restaurant's operations are important steps on the path to success, but they can also feel like intimidating, unattainable goals.
On the other hand, there are plenty of simple, actionable steps you can take to increase customer spend, on average, in your hospitality venue.
How to calculate average spend per customer
To calculate average spend per customer within a given time frame, you will need 2 pieces of data: Total sales value, and the total number of customers served. Then, simply divide the sales value by the number of customers served in that time frame.
You should have systems in place for tracking this information. If you don't already, ResDiary and its range of integrations can be used to gather this data and much more, allowing you to make more informed decisions about your business.
How to Increase Average Spend Per Customer in Restaurant: 10 Ways
Once you've calculated your average spend per head, the final number might be much lower than you would have hoped. That's why we have assembled 10 methods any business owner can use to increase the average spend per customer in your hospitality venue.
The most simple way to increase average order value, and boost sales generally, is to raise prices on your menu. Serving similar dishes at higher prices equates to more money for your business.
However, this must be done in an intelligent way. Jacking up the cost of a meal in your venue with no thought or care is a surefire turn-off for your customers.
For example, consider reworking some of your dishes to have a more premium appeal. Your customers will be much more likely to be willing to spend more for their favourite meals if you've included high-end ingredients or cooking methods.
Upselling can be a very significant revenue driver for your restaurant. If your staff is genuinely dedicated to giving your customers the best dining experience possible, this is a highly effective way to improve average spend per head.
Ensure your staff have tasted your menu so they can offer real, personal insights and authentically describe dishes. Conduct training to ensure upselling is taken the correct way by your customers, and doesn't come across as unpleasant or pushy.
You can incorporate upsells into your menu with menu addendums such as "Add bacon for $5". Putting this option right in front of the customer makes it easy for them to justify adding their favourite food to their meal.
If a customer is on the fence about purchasing a more expensive meal or beverage, a small tasting can be instrumental in assuaging any doubt they have that it is the right choice for them. Offering samples is a low-cost way to ensure customers feel comfortable splashing out on higher-end offerings, because they know how a dish tastes.
When it comes to scoring upsells, well-trained staff members are key. If your customers understand that your team is genuinely committed to giving them the best possible dining experience, they will be far more amenable to spending that little bit extra to improve their experience.
Who doesn't love ending dinner with a delicious dessert? A well-crafted dessert menu can be an amazing way to secure more money from your customers.
When training your staff on upselling, spend plenty of time on dessert. A gentle push might be all it takes for your customers to indulge in some tiramisu.
Overly-intricate desserts can have low profit margins, so focus on serving simple but delicious sweet courses. Desserts are also often ordered with beverages like tea, coffee and wine, raising your profits even higher.
Drinks – particularly of the alcoholic variety – can offer high profit margins and are a great way to increase average customer spend. There is nothing more natural than a delicious beverage to wash down a meal, so customers will likely be amenable to some upselling in this area.
One of the best ways to leverage the power of alcoholic beverages in your restaurant is wine pairings. No foodie can resist having the perfect vino complement to their meal. Encourage or pay for a staff member or 2 to get an entry-level sommelier certification. Then, they will be extra-qualified to let your customers know what the perfect drink is to go with their meal.
Prix fixe menus are 2-3 course menus that allow customers to pay a fixed price and choose from a small selection of dishes. When executed properly, these menus can lead to significantly higher spending per head.
Customers are often more willing to splash out more money on an expensive meal when they have the sense they will receive a delicious fine-dining experience.
Set menus are often considered a hallmark of a high-calibre restaurant. Successfully transitioning to such a menu might completely transform your restaurant into a high-end hospitality venue locals rave about.
You do not need to completely convert your menu to prix fixe. You can instead have a smaller prix fixe menu inside your complete menu if you feel this would go down better with your diners.
Optimise your menu
There are myriad ways you can make sure your menu is engineered for higher average customer spends. Here are a few of our favourite tips:
- Price anchoring: Do you have a particular dish you're especially keen to push? Place it in close proximity to one of the most expensive menu items. The power of comparison will have your customers much more inclined to buy it.
- Top-right corner: Research suggests that this is where the eyes of your customers are more often drawn. Place your most profitable dishes here.
- Bells and whistles: From flowery copy to bright colours, use every trick in the book to highlight your most profitable dishes.
Reward customers for their spending
Loyalty programs are a great way to get more customers to return to your venue. Returning customers spend more than newcomers, so anything you do to incentivise customer loyalty will help improve average customer spending. You can explore a range of ResDiary integrations promoting customer loyalty here.
If your primary goal is to increase average customer spending, you should implement a specific type of loyalty program. Your program should specifically reward customers for spending more money, so avoid a simple program like stamping a card for each visit a customer makes.
Instead, you might implement a points system, with more points dished out for higher spending. If loyal diners are torn between a cheaper and a more expensive menu item, the idea of scoring more points could be what causes them to choose the higher-cost item.
Having and analysing comprehensive data about your customers and their dining habits can be very significant when it comes to finding ways to increase their spending.
By examining this data, your restaurant can more effectively identify opportunities to upsell or cross-sell. For example, your data might clearly point to one entrée as your most popular. If you can find the perfect wine to go along with it, your customers will be excited to add it to their favourite dining experience.
s there one dish that always has the palates of your customers buzzing for some dessert? Use our menu engineering tips to heavily promote this particular dish in the hopes of selling more desserts.
Bundles and group deals
Bundle offers are an effective way to increase revenue across a massive range of industries. They offer great value to your customers while also incentivising them to spend more money than they otherwise might.
Consider offering discounts for family meals, encouraging your diners to bring along their children. You can also cater for larger parties with group share deals, offering large quantities of food for set prices. Properly priced deals allow you to fill space in your restaurant while also knowing your customers will spend greater amounts of money.
Optimise your restaurant with ResDiary
There is no simple fix to increasing average customer spending in your restaurant. A range of methods must be used to achieve your goals of higher profit for your venue. Fortunately, tools like ResDiary contain much of the functionality you need to meet your targets.
Stepping outside of your comfort zone and taking major steps towards increasing customer spending can feel daunting. ResDiary can also help out with everything from loyalty programs to event management. Book a free demo today and see how our simple platform can help you go the extra mile when it comes to running a successful venue.