Increasing the prices on your menu is all part of running a successful restaurant. Whether you’ve realised some dishes are just not profitable, or you’re reacting to an increase in the cost of produce, sometimes it’s necessary to increase prices. If you have regulars you can guarantee that they will notice if their carefully budgeted dining out experience suddenly goes up in price. So, how do you adjust the pricing strategy of your restaurant by increasing the prices on your menu upwards without upsetting those who regularly support your business?
There is probably nothing more compelling than honesty. If you’re being forced to increase your prices then just explain it to your customers. Whether you break the news via email, or explain it in person, they’re much more likely to accept it without getting upset if they’re informed of the reasons behind the change.
Sweeten the deal
You can decrease the sting of paying more – and increase your chances of keeping your customers – by adding a little sweetener at the same time. Perhaps your prices are going up across the board but you’re introducing a new loyalty scheme for regulars. Maybe there are discounts or coupons for certain combinations of dishes. If you introduce a treat at the same time as the price increase it should have less impact.
Add more mid priced dishes
If you’re increasing all the prices on your menu then add more dishes at the affordable end so that customers who don’t want to pay top dollar still have plenty to choose from.
Consider reducing dish sizes instead
If you’re already serving minimal haute cuisine this might not work; but if your portions are a pretty decent size you could consider reducing them, rather than raising the price. With fewer ingredients used per dish you’ll make savings. The other alternative is to swap out more expensive ingredients in a dish for cheaper, seasonal ones.
Grow your customer base
If all else fails and your regulars are not coming back then you may need to look to grow into a new customer base. Create a new marketing strategy targeting a slightly wealthier demographic in your area – to them you may represent great value even with the price increases, so you could establish a whole new customer base that way.