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7 Tips to Grow your Restaurant Sales at the time of a Sales Dip

Updated: Jun 19, 2020

Your restaurant sales are not growing fast enough. When you look at the sales data month to month and week to week, you realized that it is somewhat giving you a flat line.

Now, you are wondering what to do about it?

I'd like to share with you a few tips on how to increase your restaurant profits when your sales are dropping.

And I hope, after applying those ideas into your business, you will be equipped to:

  • Know why you are where you are

  • Identify the weaknesses of your restaurant

  • Try a few things that will bring some sales for you this month if done well

  • Determine what are the things you need to do so the sales are steadily growing

  • Analyze what has worked and what has not worked

So now, here are the 7 tips to help you grow your restaurant sales at the time of a sales dip:

1. Study your trends

I know this sounds really hard, but we need to study our trends. You and I must be excellent at analyzing our own progress.

This will require you to spend a couple of hours to see what worked and not in the past. What should you stop doing and start implementing now?

You need to eliminate things that are no longer working. Perhaps, they have not worked for a long time, but you just ignored them.

These may include:

  • Marketing initiatives that you've done but did not give positive results

  • Menu items that are no longer popular

  • People who are hard to train

When these things happen, you must acknowledge the fact that it's time for you to trim the fat.

If sales are not growing that much, this is a great time for you and me to sit down, and study our trends.

SWOT Analysis is one of the best ways to do this. The SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) Analysis can be a useful framework for you to have systematic and precise planning for your restaurant.

We have a YouTube video on how to conduct a SWOT Analysis, (you can watch it here on this link: where I talked about dozens of questions that you need to go over and answer.

This would help you identify the weaknesses of your restaurant. So, you must drop what's not working and bring new things for your business to grow.

2. Defibrillator Offer

The Defibrillator is a device that they used in medicine that delivers an electric shock to restore a person's normal heartbeat. It's a tool that they put on someone's chest and zaps their heart and wakes them up.

In restaurant marketing, you do need an offer that customers can not refuse and revive the relationship you had with your past customers.

The truth is, thousands and thousands of people have already gone through your restaurant in the last few years.

You may be here in this business for 2 or more years, and where are those people now, right?

You need to revive that relationship with them through your Defibrillator Offer.

What I mean by that is, you must give them an offer that they can not resist.

For example, next Monday, let's come up with a Defibrillator Offer.

For instance, in our pizzeria, a 16" pizza usually costs $15-$16. So for our Defibrillator Offer, we will give it for only $11.99. We will offer it just for one night, between 5 PM-8 PM, on that next Monday.

So, I will put all of my efforts to promote this one-time offer to our past customers.

Here's a fact: If you can bring back 10% out of 100, even 1 out of every 100 customers that you had in the past, you are hitting your goal.

Your restaurant is going to be busy, so you have to bring them back. Get in touch with them.

You need to have a strategy in place to collect your customers' email addresses and phone numbers.

This way, you can send a mass email or text message directly to them. Like it's 3 PM, and the offer starts at 5 PM, they are already thinking about dinner. This is going to be an offer they can't just decline.

If you have been collecting pick-ups or you have deliveries, you already have a lot of phone numbers. You may also have multiple email addresses if you do online orders.

For the next few days, that should be your focus. Crafting an email and text messages to send to your past customers.

As always, you need to consider the logistics. You must have a POS button and a team memo. Inform and schedule your staff accordingly so we can serve your customers very well.

Also, utilize your social media pages to post about your offer, as well as your local Facebook Groups.

If you want to know more about creating your own Defibrillator Offer, send us an email at

We also have a Making Dough Agency, where we serve our fellow restaurant owners with Text Message Marketing.

Visit our website at, fill-up the form, and let's start your SMS marketing for your restaurant. We'll be happy to help you out.

3. Cut Cost

If you are going through a season where your sales are not growing fast enough, then we need to talk about losing weight.

If you are going through a season where your sales are not growing fast enough, then we need to talk about losing weight.

You must always have a strategy for growing sales and cutting costs. You must be aggressive in doing both.

That's how you grow profits, as you cut costs, increase your sales simultaneously.

You always have two options when it comes to cutting costs:

✔ Fixed costs - are things that are non-negotiable like your rent. Your landlord rules it, and you can't do anything about that.

However, you may have some fixed monthly subscriptions that are recurring.

For instance, you may have a linen service that you can negotiate your contract with. Pick up the phone now, and ask your service provider if they can give some consideration.

You can say, "Hey, our sales are not growing as much. What deal can you give me? Currently, I may not be able to afford your services, is there anything you can do to help me out here? How can you reduce my charge for the next six months?"

This is going to require a lot of negotiations, and you have got to be one doing this. Worst case, nothing to lose, they say no, then go to their competitor.

Reduce some of those fixed costs that you have somewhat control over.

✔ Variable costs - these make up your biggest expenses in this business, your labor, and food costs.

For your labor costs, first, you must see where you're at with your labor percentage, where you need to be, and how are you going to get there.

This is going to be pretty easy. Determine where you at, and where should you be (your industry standard or for whatever that you serve).



For us, where we're at, we're always looking at less than 60% for our combined food and labor costs, including taxes. Our goal is to be less than 23% when it comes to our labor.

Start small, like how you can save $10 a day? You can do this by staggering or playing the schedule of your staff a little bit. Like somebody comes in 15 minutes later, the other one comes in after another 15 minutes.

Ten dollars a day can result in over $3,650 a year. Twenty dollars daily is above $7,000 in 12 months.

Look at those numbers, start with a goal of $10 savings, and then move to $20, and then, $30.

The other one is your food costs. Where are you, where should you be, and how are you going to get there?

If you don't know where to start with this, because, maybe, you have hundreds of items that you carry just like all of us, you must identify your top 10 most expensive pieces on your invoice.

In our case, it's cheese and pepperoni. Those are the biggest things.

However, you can not cut costs in every way and overwhelm yourself. So, choose one that will have the most impact.

Incorporate more strict portion control as a system in place. Again, observe where you at, and how consistent the people are with the portion control.

Do they need further equipment? Have a conversation with your leads and managers to check and monitor this.

Again, these are 3 tangible things you can do as far as food costs are concerned: 1.) Identify your top 10 most expensive items; 2.) Choose one item, ideally the most costly; and 3.) Figure out how to reduce that one item.

4. Hit the ground running

Our goal is to hit 2 digits for our sales month to month. For us to achieve this, you must have an on-the-ground strategy.

You have to be visiting other local businesses within the 3-5 mile radius of your restaurant, daily, weekly, and monthly.

What we do is we visit over 100 business establishments every single month. We go visit, we drop off free food and menu.

We get to know the decision-makers, those who decide if they need catering when they have meetings.

We offer our catering service to local businesses such as Walmart, banks, car dealerships, schools, and a lot more.

5. Host an event and invite the community

Hosting different events can definitely help you boost your sales.

In our case, we are in San Antonio, Texas. We have a lot of craft breweries and wineries around us that are local.

We see if they have any upcoming new beers or anything like that. We speak to them if they would be interested in hosting a beer or wine tasting event with our restaurant. This has worked great for us.

We both create a buzz about our event. We were able to tap into their customers, and they also benefit from our customers.

So we came up with a very successful event, bringing hundreds of people to sample their beer, and order food from us.

We also host a lot of kid events. We have our "Build Your Own Pizza Nights" or BYOPs.

We also partner with our local schools.

You can surely do this with your local schools, all you have to do is to reach out. Tell them that you would love to organize a "Spirit Night" with them and offer to donate a percentage of the sales to them.

We all know that schools serve thousands of families. So, take this opportunity to be well-known to the community.

Go partner with other local businesses and see your sales grow.

6. Make an offer they can’t refuse - Facebook ad/$10 a day!

This one may require you spending some money, but you do need to consider having a Facebook ad. You must view this as an investment.

If you partner with Facebook and cuff over a hundred bucks, if they can connect you with the community, and raise you a thousand dollars, that is a good deal.

Invest in Facebook ads, but it doesn't have to be outrageous, ideally, $10 a day.

And the way you do that is you need to put it within the 2-3 mile radius of your restaurant.

You can also boost it if you want. If not, in the back end, you can go in and choose people who live in the 2-3 mile radius of your establishment.

Make sure you add in the interest, for instance, people who like tacos, or people who like burgers, etc. At least, it narrows down your audience.

If for example, you are promoting a Mexican pizza, then look for people who like Mexican Cuisine. You can do that to target your prospective customers.

Again, $10 a day promoting it within the 2-3 mile radius of your restaurant can go a long way.

You must have a strategy and track your data. When you make an offer, track it if it is successful or not.

7. Fortune is in the Follow Up

You need to have a strategy to follow-up with your customers.

It is not steady growth. If you just do Facebook ads, host events, etc and you do not have a strategy in place of capturing your customer's contact information (email addresses and phone numbers), you wouldn't be able to sustain that growth.

That is the secret to success, consistently follow-up with your customers.

Marketing your restaurant should be one of your obsessions.

If necessary, put a person in charge of your marketing plans. Make sure they report to you properly.

If there's a need for you to outsource just to have someone take very good care of it, then do it.

Again, somebody has got to be obsessed about growing your sales and marketing your restaurant day in and day out.


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