Make Your Restaurant Fun and Profitable in the New Year

 In 1. David Scott Peters, Employees, Marketing, Operations, service, Training

By David Scott Peters

The end of a year often gives us opportunity to reflect on our successes and not-so-impressive moments from the past 12 months. Now is the time to take inventory and decide what you want from your restaurant in the coming year.

You work hard every day to make your restaurant a success. But if you’re not having fun, do you think your employees and customers are? Take a moment and see if your restaurant could benefit from implementing any of the following ideas. You might be surprised at the small changes you can put into practice to make your restaurant fun and profitable again.

Appreciate your guests. There is an acronym in the industry that focuses on putting your customer first. G.U.E.S.T. stands for greet, understand, educate, satisfy and thank. Without your guest, you have nothing, right? So show them that you appreciate them and that you’re glad they want to spend their discretionary income in your restaurant.

Appreciate your employees. One of the best ways to make work fun is to make it fun for everyone who works with you. You can make coming to work and being at work more fun in the way you treat your employees.

Try some new and inexpensive marketing ideas. When you’re lean on cash and can’t afford a lot of advertising — outside your four walls — I encourage you to look inside your four walls for advertising opportunities, also known as four-wall marketing. You’ve got them in your doors, now you need to tell them what you do. Give customers a reason to come back or to purchase more items while they are there.

Increase the chatter. Teach your employees that they have everything to do with how much money they make. If they simply take orders instead of taking an opportunity to sell with each order, it’s their bank account that suffers. If they can increase ticket averages, they can increase their take-home dollars. It’s the art of the upsell.

Create a little competition. Develop server incentives and contests that encourage upselling and increase sales. Not only teach employees how to upsell, but pick specific items to focus on. For example, the server who sells the most specials one night gets a prize. Or whoever sells the most bottles of wine in one week wins. Get them to compete with each other, increase their ability to sell and increase their average ticket. They make more money, you make more money. It may have cost you a little bit of money up front, whether it’s a cash prize or movie tickets, but whatever it is, it’s a lot less than advertising and you’ll make it back with increased restaurant sales. Plus this strategy fuels great customer service, giving your customers the feeling they’re special.

You spend a lot of time inside your restaurant’s four walls and so does your staff. But it shouldn’t be a struggle. A few simple things can make work fun and profitable again. I challenge you to implement just one of these ideas in the New Year and watch the response you get from customers and employees.

David Scott Peters is a restaurant expert, speaker and founder of He specializes in teaching independent restaurant owners how to use systems for increased sales and increased profits. He is the nationally acclaimed restaurant coach whose unique “SMART Systems” approach to boosting profits has earned him the title of, “The man who can walk into any restaurant in America and find $10,000 in undiscovered cash before he hits the back door – Guaranteed!” Learn more tips, tricks and secrets in David’s free weekly e-newsletter, “Instant Action Systems.” Simply sign up to receive the e-newsletter at

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