How to Increase Sales at Your Cafe
Increasing cafe sales
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With a generally fast turnover, there's almost always room to increase sales at a cafe. There are ways to get patrons to buy more when they visit and ways to encourage existing clientele to come in more often. And, of course, you can boost sales by reaching entirely new customers. Where the latter is concerned, finding ways to strengthen ties to the community is a tried-and-true tactic for cafes. Here are some ways to increase your cafe's sales that are relatively affordable and easy to implement.
Expand Your Menu
A larger menu with more meal-oriented options can be an effective way of increasing sales at a cafe with a limited menu. Adding soups, salads, sandwiches, wraps or other dishes takes you from a place for a cup of coffee and a snack to a quick and affordable mealtime destination. Many cafes do well with specialty offerings, such as organic or vegan products. Include some such items on your cafe's menu to usher new demographics through your door.
Encourage Larger Purchases
In conjunction with trying to get new customers, don't overlook upselling to get your current patrons to buy more during their visits. Offer them a discount when they add a food item to their drink order. Make it an obviously better deal to order the largest size beverages. Having servers and baristas suggest the largest size to customers who don't specify a size in their orders can boost sales. Just don't get carried away with insisting your staff aggressively upsell. It gets annoying and can alienate customers.
Offer a Customer Loyalty Program
Chain cafes figured out long ago that customer loyalty programs significantly increase sales. You can cheaply print or buy punch cards for patrons to present when they make a purchase. For example, give your customers every tenth beverage free. Give them an incentive to come to your cafe every time they're going out for something you sell. You'll likely have much more success with a program that periodically rewards frequent purchases than one that asks for a sum of money upfront.
If there's room in your cafe for live music, poetry readings, game nights, or other events, host them. Publicize your events calendar online and around the community. Contact musicians, writers, public speakers, and organizers of various groups and clubs to see if they'd be interested in using your cafe as a venue. Offer your wall space to local artists. Let them sell their work (you can take a small commission, if you like), and they'll send people over to see it.
Start Social Networking Accounts
The Internet is an effective promotional tool for businesses willing to put in the time and effort to interact with the public. Try starting a Facebook account. Friend local businesses and advertise your profile in-house. Encourage customers to look you up and friend you. Don't use social networking websites to spam people, though. Post updates and share stories of interest to the local community or related to the cafe and restaurant industry. Let people know what events you're hosting. Show that you read what your friends post by commenting. By genuinely interacting with people, you foster loyalty and reach new customers.
Written by: Jon Mohrman