How do you maximize sales in your peak periods?

Restaurants budget for potential sales increases.  It may sound silly to even say – restaurants do not budget for the sales they might lose.  It would be a rare occurrence that you would even know about sales that were not achieved.  Or would it?

What if your next sales goal was to create additional sales from the guests that are already in your restaurant?

There’s gold in that line-up

If we’re going to increase sales, it would be helpful to assess your sales increase potential.  Let’s dig deeper into how to maximize sales from your existing traffic during peak periods.  During your busiest rush periods, there is untapped sales potential from your already full restaurant and from the lineup at your door.  Keep an open mind, and consider the following.

In order to get an idea of how much sales potential is waiting to be discovered, you need to ask:

  1. How long is the average restaurant guest’s visit during meal times?
  2. How many minutes are lost per table, when a vacated table is not turned or re-sat immediately?
  3. How soon does the answer to #2 add up to one less table of guests served?
  4. How much lost revenue do those tables represent?

What is the amount of sales you’re missing out on?

So, how many lost table turns are your restaurants budgeted for?  In other words, how many lost table turns can you afford?  One per shift?  Two?  One per day?  One per week?  The answer is, of course, that no restaurant budgets for the loss of business or missed opportunities.  However, it’s important to understand how much lost revenue, or more importantly, how much opportunity for increased sales and profits, this situation represents.  Are you beginning to see new possibilities to maximize your sales, more so than in slower periods, during your busiest/peak periods?

How much more in $ale$ do you want to make?

Conversely, how much revenue would it add up to if you began to add even just one table per meal time?  If your average table of guests adds up to only $60.00 and you serve one more table every rush period…would you benefit from an additional $31,000 in sales per year?  If you’re lined up twice per day, 5 times per week, and your average guest tab is $75.00 or $100.00…could you use an additional $39,000 or $52,000.00 simply from being more efficient during meal times?  Are these numbers significant to you?

If your peak meal times last several hours and/or your dining room holds a larger number of tables, your potential for these opportunities could represent much larger amounts of money.  Let’s look at the following examples:

  1. If your restaurants seat on average fifty 4-seat tables and each table turn could be reduced by 2 minutes, your average sales per table is $50.00, and your average visit during a meal time is 45 minutes, you could be missing out on an additional $1,100.00 per week, or $57,200.00 per year.
  2. If your average sales per table are $75.00 and the average visit is 60 minutes, your potential for missed opportunities is $1,245.00 per week, or almost $65,000.00 in additional sales per year.
  3. If your averages sales per table are $100.00 and the average visit is 1 hour, and turning a table takes 5 minutes longer that it could or should, (which by the way is closer to reality in most restaurants) your potential for additional sales you could begin to realize is $4,160.00 per week or $216,320.00 per year!

IT’S IMPORTANT TO NOTE that these examples are only based on Monday to Friday mealtimes, and don’t include the weekends, which are the highest sales volume periods for many restaurants.  It’s also only taking into account 1 location.  How many restaurant locations are you operating?

In the next segment, we’ll tackle the best ways to capitalize on those missed opportunities, with practical approaches, in the regular course of business that brings everyone on the team together in a concerted effort to increase efficiency and profits.