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How to Increase Average Check in a Restaurant (10 Strategies)

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In the bustling culinary arena, simply filling chairs isn’t the only recipe for success. There’s an art to enhancing each diner’s spending, turning their experience into a melody of flavors and increased revenue. 

It’s not just about more customers; it’s about making every plate count for more. 

Can a pinch of creativity and a dash of strategy amplify your restaurant’s average check size? Absolutely! Journey with us as we unwrap ten tantalizing strategies to elevate your restaurant’s revenue, ensuring each visit marries gastronomy with generosity.

What is the Average Check in a Restaurant?

Your check average value can increase by implementing several strategies.

The average check in a restaurant is the amount of money that a customer spends at the restaurant in a single transaction. It is a key metric to calculate restaurant profits, as it can be used to track how much revenue is being generated per customer.

The average check can vary depending on the restaurant, location, and the time of day. The average check for a fine dining restaurant is likely to be much higher than the average check for a fast food restaurant. Similarly, the average check for a restaurant in a major city is likely to be higher than the average check for a restaurant in a rural area. 

Here is a general overview of the average check for different types of restaurants:

  • Fast food: $8-$12
  • Casual dining: $12-$15
  • Upscale casual: $15-$25
  • Fine dining: $50-$100 and up

Restaurant owners can use the average check to track their performance over time and to identify areas where they can improve. For example, if a restaurant’s average check is below the industry average, the owner may want to consider ways to increase sales, such as upselling and cross-selling, offering meal deals and specials, or targeting high-value customers.

10 Strategies to Increase the Average Guest Check

To increase their restaurant’s check average, restaurant owners are introducing new strategies of doing so. Here are the top 10 methods to increase restaurant sales and the average price of each order.

Upsell and Cross-sell

How to increase the average check in a restaurant depends on your team’s knowledge in up-selling and cross-selling

Two of the most effective techniques to increase the average check are cross-selling and upselling. These strategies, when executed effectively, can lead to a win-win situation where the customer enjoys a richer dining experience and the restaurant sees increased revenue. 

Upselling involves encouraging customers to order more expensive items on the menu, while cross-selling involves encouraging customers to order items that complement their original order. 

Here are some examples of up-selling: 

  • If a customer orders a glass of wine, the server might suggest upgrading to a premium bottle, explaining its superior taste profile and value.
  • Upon choosing a steak, a guest could be informed about the option of choosing a larger cut or a more premium meat grade.
  • For dessert lovers, offering an addition like a scoop of gourmet ice cream or a side of specialty liqueur can enhance the dish and the bill.

Here are some examples of cross-selling: 

  • When a guest orders a main dish, suggest side dishes or sauces that pair perfectly with it. For instance, a garlic bread or a specific dip to go with their pasta.
  • Recommending wine, beer, or a specific cocktail that complements the flavors of the dish they’ve selected.
  • If someone orders a salad, suggesting a protein addition like grilled chicken, shrimp, or tofu can enrich the meal.

Offer Meal Deals and Specials

Use the average check formula to increase check values.

At first glance, offering meal deals and specials might seem like a tactic to provide discounts. However, when structured, these can be powerful tools to increase the average guest check and overall restaurant revenue. 

Meal deals and specials can be a great way to encourage customers to spend more money. For example, you could offer a two-course meal for a fixed price, or a special on drinks or appetizers. Here are some example you should consider trying:

  1. Encouraging Group Dining: Specials like “family deals” or “group discounts” can attract larger groups. Bigger groups generally result in a higher total bill, even if the cost per individual might be slightly reduced.
  2. Introducing New Items: By including newer or less popular dishes in meal deals, restaurants can encourage customers to try them. Once the diner develops a liking for these items, they may order them at full price on future visits, boosting the average check.
  3. Beverage Pairing: Including drinks in meal deals can significantly raise the bill. Beverages, especially alcoholic ones, often have high-profit margins. Offering a special on a main dish with a paired wine or cocktail can increase revenue.
  4. Limited-Time Offers: Seasonal specials or limited-time meal deals create a sense of urgency. Customers may be more inclined to splurge on something they believe won’t be available for long.
  5. Increasing Table Turnover: Meal deals can expedite dining decisions, leading to faster table turnover during peak hours. More table turnovers can translate to increased total sales for the restaurant.
  6. Customer Loyalty: Regularly changing meal deals and specials keep the dining experience fresh and can encourage repeat visits. Regular patrons might spend more if they’re excited about trying a new deal each time they visit.

          Target High-Value Customers

           Increase restaurant average check size by focusing on high-value clients.

          High-value customers are patrons who frequent your establishment and spend more than the average diner. They might be regulars who dine with you weekly, and you can track their spending habits by offering that they join your loyalty program.

          Here’s how targeting high-value customers can boost your revenue:

          • Personalized Experiences: By recognizing and remembering the preferences of high-value customers, restaurants can offer personalized suggestions or dishes, encouraging these patrons to indulge in their favorite (often premium) offerings.
          • Large Menus: Creating exclusive or limited-edition menus along with your regular menu that offer gourmet or unique dishes can appeal to high-value customers who are looking for a distinctive dining experience.
          • Loyalty Programs: Tailoring restaurant loyalty programs to reward higher spending can incentivize these customers to consistently choose premium options, knowing they’ll receive exclusive benefits or discounts in the long run.
          • Special Events: Organize wine tastings, gourmet nights, or chef’s table experiences that cater to the tastes of high-value customers. These events often come with a higher price tag, increasing the average check.
          • Personal Invitations: Reach out to high-value customers with personal invitations for new menu launches or special occasions, making them feel valued and more likely to visit and spend generously.
          • Feedback Mechanisms: Actively seek restaurant feedback from high-value customers. Their insights can guide you in refining your premium offerings, ensuring they continue to find value and spend more on subsequent visits.
          Loyalty Program
          Create a Loyalty Program for Your Restaurant
          Boost customer loyalty and transform one-time restaurant guests into regulars with an easy-to-implement loyalty program

          Improve Your Restaurant’s Atmosphere

          When looking for ways on how to increase restaurant check average, make sure to focus on improving the ambience in your restaurant.

          The atmosphere of a restaurant plays a pivotal role in the overall dining experience. It’s not just about the food; the setting, decor, music, and overall feel can deeply influence a diner’s perception of value and their willingness to spend. 

          A great atmosphere can encourage customers to stay longer and spend more money. Make sure that your restaurant is clean, comfortable, and inviting. You may also want to consider offering live music or other entertainment. 

          Here’s how refining your restaurant’s atmosphere can lead to an uptick in the average guest check:

          1. Perceived Value: A well-thought-out ambiance can elevate the perceived value of a dining experience. Customers may feel more justified in spending more in a setting that feels upscale and carefully curated.
          2. Longer Stay, More Spending: A comfortable and inviting atmosphere can encourage guests to linger. The longer they stay, the more likely they are to order additional items, be it desserts, drinks, or other add-ons.
          3. Boost Premium Offerings: An elegant ambiance aligns well with premium menu offerings. If your setting feels high-end, diners might be more inclined to opt for that expensive wine or gourmet dish.
          4. Enhance Mood: The right lighting, music, and decor can put diners in a relaxed and happy mood, making them more open to indulgence. A contented diner might be more receptive to suggestions from staff or decide to treat themselves.
          5. Social Media Magnet: In today’s digital age, a picturesque ambiance is a magnet for social media enthusiasts. An Instagram-worthy spot can not only attract more patrons but also encourage them to order visually appealing (and often pricier) dishes for the ‘gram.
          6. Elevate Brand Perception: A polished atmosphere can enhance the overall brand perception, positioning the restaurant as a go-to place for special occasions or premium dining experiences.
          7. Reduce Wait Time Impatience: A pleasant atmosphere can make wait times feel shorter. If diners are enjoying the ambiance while waiting for their food, they’re less likely to get impatient and more likely to order additional items or return in the future.

          Offer a Variety of Payment Options

          Increase you check average by implementing more payment methods.

          The way consumers choose to pay for their meals has been evolving rapidly. With technological advances and shifting consumer preferences, offering a diverse range of payment options is no longer just a convenience—it’s a strategy. 

          Make it easy for customers to pay for their meals by offering a variety of payment options, such as credit cards, debit cards, and mobile payments via restaurant POS.

          Here’s how expanding payment methods can lead to an increase in the average guest check in restaurants:

          1. Enhanced Convenience: When customers find their preferred mode of payment available, they are more likely to feel at ease and potentially spend more, rather than restricting themselves to the cash they have on hand.
          2. Embracing Tech-Savvy Diners: By offering modern payment solutions like mobile wallets, contactless payments, or QR code-based payments, restaurants appeal to tech-savvy diners who might be inclined to spend more when using their preferred digital methods.
          3. Upselling Opportunities: When using digital payment methods, especially those integrated with Point of Sale (POS) systems, diners can be presented with last-minute offers, promotions, or suggestions that encourage adding something extra to their order.
          4. Tapping into Restaurant Loyalty Programs: Many payment apps and credit cards offer rewards or cashback. By accepting a wide range of these, restaurants can encourage customers to spend more to maximize their reward points or cashback benefits.
          5. Easier Splitting of Bills: Digital payments often allow easy splitting of bills among groups. When individuals aren’t concerned about dividing the bill manually, they might be more inclined to order freely, thus increasing the overall bill amount.
          6. Faster Turnaround Time: Digital and contactless payments can speed up the checkout process, allowing restaurants to serve more customers in the same duration. Over time, this can positively impact the overall revenue.
          7. Encouraging Impulse Purchases: With the ease of digital payments, diners may be more inclined to give in to impulse decisions, like ordering a dessert or an extra drink, without worrying about having exact change.

          Train Staff to Sell

           Increase your average check size by teaching staff to sell extra menu items, such as additional dishes, red wine, etc.

          One of the most significant assets any restaurant possesses is its staff. Beyond their traditional roles of providing service, explaining to clients what a dish tastes like, managing the cash register, or taking orders, they can also be instrumental in driving sales and enhancing the overall guest experience and helping to increase the total number of sales.

          Your waiters and restaurant manager are your front line of defense, so it is important to train them on their menu knowledge and how to sell your food and beverage items. Teach them about the items on the menu inside and out, how to make recommendations for each menu item, and how to handle objections.

          Here’s how adequately training staff to sell can result in an uptick in the average guest check:

          1. Knowledgeable Recommendations: A well-informed server can describe dishes, drinks, and add-ons confidently. When they have a deep understanding of the menu, they can suggest items that complement what the guest has already ordered, encouraging patrons to try (and buy) more.
          2. Building Relationships: Customers tend to spend more when they feel a personal connection. Staff trained in interpersonal skills can build rapport with guests, leading to repeat visits and larger orders.
          3. Addressing Hesitations: A trained staff member can read a guest’s hesitations or questions and provide clarifications, ensuring that uncertainties don’t turn into missed sales opportunities.
          4. Promoting Specials and Limited-Time Offers: Staff can highlight daily specials, specific dishes, menu modifiers, or signature cocktails made with fresh juice, steering customers towards exclusive (often pricier) options that they might not have considered.
          5. Enhancing the Dining Experience: By effectively describing dishes, sharing stories behind them, or suggesting pairing options, staff can transform a meal into an experience, making guests more amenable to spending.
          6. Handling Objections: With proper training, staff can handle objections or concerns, turning potential negatives into positives. For instance, if a guest feels a dish is too expensive, the staff can emphasize its uniqueness, quality of ingredients, or the expertise behind its preparation.
          7. Efficiently Managing Peak Times: During busy hours, trained staff can quickly suggest popular or your most expensive items from your menu, ensuring tables turn over quickly without compromising on sales.

          Use Technology to Your Advantage

           Implement restaurant tech to increase check average

          Many restaurants have become increasingly reliant on technology, not only for convenience but also for a more enriched dining experience. For restaurateurs, tapping into this tech-driven shift can directly correlate to a heightened average guest check. 

          There are a number of technology solutions that can help you to increase your average check. For example, you can use a POS system that tracks customer spending habits or a loyalty program that rewards customers for spending more money.

          Here’s how harnessing the power of restaurant technology, with platforms like UpMenu as prime examples, can significantly boost restaurant revenues:

          1. Digital and QR Code Menu: Interactive QR code and digital menus can showcase dishes with vivid imagery and detailed descriptions. This visual appeal can entice customers to order more, especially if they can see tantalizing pictures of dishes or read compelling descriptions.
          2. Personalized Recommendations: Modern platforms, like UpMenu analyzes customer order history through restaurant reporting features, allowing business owners to create more personalized recommendations, based on previous purchases.
          3. Real-time Promotions: Leverage technology to offer real-time deals, offer bundles of some of your more profitable items, discounts, or other tactics, especially during off-peak hours. Such spontaneous promotions can encourage guests to add that extra appetizer or dessert to their order.
          4. Streamlined Ordering Process: Technological integrations can make the ordering process smooth and efficient, reducing wait times. When customers can order swiftly, they’re more likely to explore the menu thoroughly and add more to their carts.
          5. Loyalty Programs: Platforms like UpMenu offer features that allow restaurants to set up loyalty programs. When customers know they can earn rewards or points, they’re more inclined to spend more per visit.
          6. Mobile Ordering and Payments: By implementing a mobile app for restaurants, businesses can tap into easy online ordering, especially when integrated with a food ordering system. Simplified payment processes via the system further ensure that the guest is more likely to complete an order rather than abandon their cart.
          7. Feedback and Reviews: Using technology to gather feedback can lead to improved service and offerings. By addressing areas of concern, restaurants can enhance the guest experience, leading to bigger orders in future visits.

          Promote Your Restaurant

          You can significantly increase your check average by promoting your restaurant

          The art of promoting a restaurant goes beyond simply attracting more diners. Done strategically, it can influence not only the frequency of visits but also the amount each guest spends. 

          When doing so, make sure that people know about your restaurant and what you have to offer. You can promote your restaurant through online and offline marketing channels, such as social media, advertising, and public relations.

          Here’s how promoting your restaurant can lead to an increase in the average guest check:

          1. Highlight Premium Offerings: Promotional materials that emphasize exclusive dishes, specialty cocktails, or limited-time offerings can entice diners to splurge on something special, pushing up the average spend.
          2. Package Deals and Combos: Promote combo meals or package deals that offer a group of items at a slightly reduced price compared to ordering them separately. While the discount might seem like a decrease in revenue, customers often end up spending more than they initially intended.
          3. Event Nights and Specials: Promoting theme nights (like a seafood night) or events (such as wine tasting evenings) can encourage guests to order additional items exclusive to these events, boosting the average bill.
          4. Loyalty Programs: Promote a loyalty program where diners earn points or rewards for spending more. When customers are aware that spending a bit extra can get them closer to a free meal or a discount, they’re more likely to add a few more items to their order.
          5. Customer Testimonials and Reviews: Promoting positive reviews or testimonials, especially around high-ticket items or special dishes, can influence other diners to try and spend on those recommended items.

          Get Involved in Your Community

          Increase your average check size by taking part in local events.

          Restaurants are more than just places to eat; they can become integral parts of their communities. When restaurants actively engage with and contribute to their local community, it can lead to increased patronage and higher average guest checks. 

          Here’s how community involvement can impact the bottom line:

          1. Building a Loyal Customer Base: By participating in local events, sponsoring community gatherings, or hosting fundraisers, restaurants can connect with community members and build a loyal customer base. 
          2. Word-of-Mouth Marketing: Being active in the community can generate positive word-of-mouth marketing. When residents see a restaurant as a community supporter, they’re more likely to recommend it to friends and family. 
          3. Event Hosting and Catering: Hosting community events or offering catering services for local gatherings can be profitable. These opportunities often lead to bulk orders and increased sales. 
          4. Community Specials and Discounts:Offering special discounts or promotions exclusively to community members can encourage more frequent visits and higher spending.
          5. Collaborations with Local Businesses:Partnering with local businesses, such as breweries or artisanal producers, can create cross-promotional opportunities. Collaborative events and menu pairings can entice diners to explore more items and premium offerings.

          Provide Excellent Customer Service

          Your check average grows the better customer service you provide.

          In the restaurant industry, exceptional customer service is not just about making diners feel welcome—it’s also a powerful tool for increasing the average check. 

          Make sure that your customers have a positive experience at your restaurant. This means providing friendly and attentive service, as well as serving high-quality food and drinks.

          Here’s how providing top-notch customer service can lead to higher revenue:

          1. Building Trust and Loyalty: Outstanding service builds trust with customers. When diners feel valued and well-cared for, they are more likely to become repeat customers. Loyal customers tend to dine at the same restaurant more frequently and are willing to explore the prix fixe menu and order higher-priced items.
          2. Expert Recommendations: Knowledgeable staff can provide expert recommendations on menu items, wine pairings, and specials. These suggestions can persuade customers to try new dishes or premium options.
          3. Personalized Service: Tailoring the dining experience to individual preferences creates a memorable visit. Servers who remember regular customers’ favorite dishes or dietary restrictions can encourage them to return and order their preferred items.
          4. Handling Special Requests Gracefully: Accommodating special dietary requests or customizations without hesitation or fuss shows a commitment to customer satisfaction. It can lead to increased orders and returning customers.
          5. Efficient Service: Prompt and efficient service ensures that guests don’t experience long waits. This efficiency can lead to more orders, as guests are not discouraged by extended wait times.
          6. Turning Complaints into Opportunities: Addressing customer complaints or concerns promptly and effectively can turn a potentially negative experience into a positive one. Customers who receive exceptional service even after an issue are often more willing to spend.

          Pro Tip: To help increase average check value, it’s essential to start with creating an average check formula. Here’s what it should look like:

          Average check = Total sales / Total customers

          Restaurant owners can calculate the average check for a day, week, month, or year. They can also calculate the average check for specific menu items or categories, or for different types of customers (e.g., dine-in vs. takeout).

          Here are some tips for creating an accurate average check formula:

          • Use a point-of-sale (POS) system to track sales and customer data. This will make it easier to calculate the average check and to track trends over time.
          • Make sure that your staff is properly trained on how to enter data into the restaurant POS software. This will help to ensure that the data is accurate and complete.
          • Regularly review your average check data to identify any trends or areas for improvement. If you notice that your average check is lower on certain days of the week, you may want to consider offering special promotions or discounts on those days.

          FAQ

          The formula for calculating the average check (also known as the average guest check or average ticket) in a restaurant is:

          Average Check = Total Revenue / Number of Customers

          To calculate the average check, you simply divide the total revenue generated by the restaurant over a specific period by the total number of customers served during that same period. This formula provides you with the average amount of money spent by each customer during their visit to the restaurant.

          The average check customers spend in restaurants varies depending on a number of factors, including the type of restaurant, the location, and the day of the week. However, according to the National Restaurant Association, the average check per guest in the United States in 2022 was $46.90.

          The average check is important for restaurants because it is a key indicator of profitability. It is calculated by dividing the total sales for a given period by the total number of customers served during that same period. The average check can be calculated for a day, week, month, or year.

          There are a number of reasons why the average check is important for restaurants:

          • It helps restaurants to track their performance over time. Restaurant owners can use the average check metric to track their performance over time and to identify any areas for improvement. For example, if they notice that the average check is declining, they may need to adjust their prices, menus, or marketing strategies.
          • It can be used to compare restaurants to each other. Restaurant owners can also use the average check metric to compare their performance to other restaurants in their area. This can help them to identify areas where they can improve their profitability.
          • It can be used to set goals. Restaurant owners can use the average check metric to set goals for their business. For example, they may set a goal of increasing the average check by 5% in the next quarter.
          • It can be used to make informed decisions about pricing and menus. Restaurant owners can use the average check metric to make informed decisions about pricing and menus. For example, if they notice that certain items are not selling well, they may want to consider removing them from the menu or reducing the price.
          Juliusz Dzierlatka

          Juliusz Dzierlatka

          Digital content creator with +7 years experience in marketing, helping restaurants streamline daily operations.

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