Are you looking to grow your restaurant? While some might think simply in terms of moving to a larger location or adding patio seating to their restaurant, there are other, less expensive ways to expand and grow. Many have started offering additional services and features. And these end up becoming some of the most reliable and lucrative revenue streams for restaurants.
In this article, we’re going to examine some of the most popular revenue streams that restaurants have tapped into. But first, let’s talk about why you might want to do this in your own restaurant.
Why Restaurants Should Diversify
Let’s face it, when the pandemic unfolded, a lot of restaurants struggled because of forced closures or restrictions on capacity.
Even under non-pandemic circumstances, we all know how tight the profit margins can be within the restaurant industry. This can create a scary prospect for many restaurant owners.
So it’s only fitting to give yourself a little more wiggle room by making sure your restaurant has other revenue streams.
Diversification doesn’t just mean more money in your pockets. It’s also a great way for you to connect with your customers. They start thinking of you as more than just the place where they go out to eat. They think of you as a brand. And depending on how you decide to diversify, this can create an ongoing service that opens you up to even more opportunities.
Now that we understand the why of additional revenue streams for restaurants, let’s look at a few strategies that might just inspire you.
How to Diversify Your Income with 6 Powerful Revenue Streams for Restaurants
1. Sell Branded Merch
If the pandemic has proven anything, it’s that people feel a fierce loyalty to their local restaurants. Creating merchandise in a modern style that features your restaurant’s logo or slogan can be a great way to cash in on that loyalty.
Merchandise is also a great way to advertise your restaurant throughout your community, keeping you top of mind with customers.
For instance, you could order branded…
- T-shirts / Hoodies
- Drinking glasses
There are so many possibilities — and with several local and national printing companies hopping on the merch game, it makes it easier than ever to stock up on merch at reasonable prices. You can sell it at your restaurant’s location or even set up an online store right on your website.
You might even generate excitement on social media for your merch. Create a poll to see what colors or designs people like best or even post pictures along with dates for when your merch will be available. You could even hold a contest for people to submit designs for your upcoming merch, with a gift card, discount, or another prize for the winner.
2. Online Ordering
This method has really grown since 2020 when the pandemic forced many restaurants to close. But it continues to grow as a truly productive way for restaurants to generate income that is separate from filling their physical seats.
With online ordering, you’re not restricted by how many people you can fit in your physical space. The revenue potential is limitless.
Many restaurants are finding this to be a valuable strategy that they plan to continue even after the pandemic is over.
And third-party apps like UberEats and DoorDash are not the only way to leverage this option. DevourNow is a great end-to-end solution that partners with restaurants to provide online ordering directly from their restaurant website, without the hassle of high commissions and other fees.
3. Create a Cookbook
Cookbooks aren’t just for celebrity chefs. You have a restaurant with food that everybody enjoys. Why not use what you’ve already got and turn it into a cookbook that customers can enjoy for years to come?
Include some of your customer’s favorites in it. Think about specials you’ve had in the past that were a great hit. Perhaps ask your head chef and even bartender to create new favorites that you can include in the cookbook to sweeten the deal.
4. Hold Cooking Classes
Everybody is looking to expand their skills, even in the kitchen. And being someone whom they already know and whose cooking they love might be just the edge you need.
Start small, with one cooking class per month. This will allow you to gauge the level of interest and receive feedback to improve the class as you go.
Publicize the classes as much as possible, perhaps with signs around your restaurant, social media posts, and even newsletter announcements.
5. Meal Delivery Kits
We’ve all seen the popularity of such kits as HelloFresh or Blue Apron. People everywhere love meal kits, using them to expand their cooking repertoire or simply as a way to spend more meaningful time with their family.
It’s not just big brands who can cash in on this idea. Local restaurants can also leverage meal kits as part of their strategy to diversify their revenue.
And it might be easier than you think. In fact, you might just be in the perfect position to do it. You have the expertise, a host of recipes at your disposal, and ingredients that can be packaged for easy, at-home assembly.
Catering is another great way to add to your revenue without breaking the bank. Again, you already have the recipes and the ingredients. With a little planning, you can easily increase your recipe volume to serve a larger crowd.
Take time to look over your menu to see what items would work best. Anything that gets soggy over time won’t be a good fit. Choose items that will hold up for a few hours until your customer needs them.
Look for ways to customize your menu. With the prevalence of so many dietary restrictions and allergies, it’s wise to be flexible in your menu and offer such variations as gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegetarian.
Granted, not all of these revenue streams will work for your restaurant’s brand. But the good news is that you don’t have to go into it blindly. Test the waters with your social media audience and newsletter email list to see if there could be an audience for one of these ideas.
Whether you need additional income to get through a rough patch or simply want to expand your brand, there are so many different options to help your restaurant.
We hope this post inspires you to see what’s out there for additional revenue streams for restaurants. Who knows, maybe one of these ideas will be just the key to unlocking additional income.
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