4 Strategies to Increase Check Sizes this Summer

Mid-season slumps are common in the restaurant industry during seasons with extreme temperatures. During the summer, high spikes in heat keep your regulars indoors with their air conditioner, decreasing foot traffic to your business. While offering delivery can counteract the slip in sales, higher temperatures often encourage your customers to order lighter meals and smaller portions. Fortunately, there are strategies you can implement to upsell and increase your average in-store and delivery check sizes to beat out the seasonal slump.

Train Your Staff to Upsell the Menu

Hold meetings during shift changeovers to discuss new menu items and specials with your staff. For example, if you have a special oyster on the menu, prepare your employees to discuss what region the oysters are from. Staff can also suggest an “add-on” item such as a wine that would pair well with the oysters, or a personal recommendation that they love. If you’re struggling to encourage your staff members to upsell, offer incentives such as monthly bonuses to the employee with the highest check sizes.

Optimize Your Menu

Organizing and designing your menu to help indecisive guests is a great opportunity to increase average check. List your most profitable items first, and use food photography to highlight your best dishes. If you utilize online ordering for pickup, set the default size for drinks and meal portions to “medium” so that guests are encouraged to order a larger size before adding it to their cart. You can also upsell using size suggestion in-store by calling out specific sizes in signage (ie. “Get a medium cheese pizza for only $5.99!).

Offer Bundles/Combos

Offering pre-selected combos is a great way to increase a check size as your customer is ordering their meal. Guests will appreciate not having to think too hard about their choice and will also enjoy getting a package deal. Doing this also creates an opportunity to offer an add-on item like a dessert. For example, your menu may read, “$8.99 sandwich, drink, and chips special — add dessert for $0.50!” Consider using the combo method in partnership with limited time deals, such as one-week only specials, holiday promotions, and online ordering-only specials.

Use Your Digital Ordering Platforms — Web or App —  to Auto-Upsell

Utilize your online ordering platform or app to upsell when guests order digitally. Set up your digital ordering platform to suggest add-on items when guests are checking out, such as a drink or a bag of chips for $1.00, or populate a list of potential add-on items. Leverage guest reviews to suggest customer favorites. Be sure to highlight and promote popular and high-profit menu items, both in-app and in any associated promotional emails.

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Jenna Calderara

Jenna Calderara

Jenna Calderara is the B2B Content Manager on the Marketing Team at Grubhub and LevelUp Agency. She is also a holistic nutritionist. When she’s not at work she enjoys cooking, blogging about wellness, and trying new Boston-area restaurants. Follow her on Instagram @jennacalderara or at @wellcanvas for nutrition and wellness!

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