Blog / March 10, 2023
How London Restaurants are Increasing Sales With Upsells & Automation
Between inflation, labour shortages, an ongoing energy crisis and rising operational costs, hospitality operators throughout the United Kingdom are facing unprecedented challenges in keeping their businesses afloat. In the hyper-competitive London market, where restaurant closures were up 64% in 2022 as compared to the year prior, the pressures are even higher.
Fortunately, a growing number of businesses across London are finding ways to leverage technology to combat these combined economic forces. This article will explore how innovative operators are embracing marketing automation and upselling strategies to optimise their existing channels and increase their restaurant sales.
Below, we will cover:
- How to increase restaurant sales with upsells
- How to drive sales and retention with automation
- Upselling & automation strategies in action: Flat Iron Square
How to Increase Restaurant Sales with Upsells
Through Reservations and Online Orders
A hospitality experience begins long before guests arrive at your restaurant or food is delivered to their home. Often, the very first guest interaction is online.
A white-labelled reservation solution allows you to ensure consistent branding across every digital touchpoint and avoid the commission fees charged by third-party platforms. It also allows you to customise booking and online ordering flows to reflect the unique hospitality experience you wish to create for your guests.
Upselling is a great way to elevate your guest experience and increase average spend at the same time. This involves incorporating optional add-ons and special pre-order items as part of the booking or online ordering process. Common examples include:
- Champagne on arrival
- Luxury ingredient supplements (e.g. truffles, caviar, Wagyu beef)
- Limited-availability or family-style dishes
- Birthday cakes
- A tin of holiday biscuits
- Signed cookbooks or restaurant merchandise
Besides driving their restaurant sales higher, our SevenRooms partners across London also find these upsells to be an effective means of increasing engagement, as guests who have something special to look forward to — especially something for which they’ve already paid — are much less likely to make a late cancellation or no-show.
In Your Restaurant
In today’s experience economy, it takes more than just delicious food to wow your clientele. More than 70% of guests expect personalised interactions, and 76% get frustrated if this doesn’t happen. Savvy operators know that data is their most valuable resource when it comes to creating exceptional hospitality experiences for every guest at scale.
With a direct reservations solution, guest data is collected the moment someone makes a reservation, places an online order or joins your waitlist. This information is compiled in a central database known as a Customer Relationship Management, or CRM system.
Besides opening up opportunities for targeted marketing (more on that later) and tracking item-level spend data, guest profiles in this database will include client tags that specify preferences, dietary restrictions and more.
Restaurants can tap into this wealth of knowledge to maximise every table touch and boost sales through targeted upselling. For example, your sommelier could bring over the reserve wine list straight away when a known big spender sits down to dinner. Or a server may want to tell regulars that they’ve saved a shareable ribeye “just for you.” These small gestures have an outsized impact, as acknowledged guests are happy guests, and happy guests spend more money.
London Restaurant Upsell Examples and Inspiration
To date, SevenRooms’ highest-performing partners across London have driven as much as £170,000 of incremental revenue to their restaurants through upselling. Below are some unique ways these restaurants are increasing sales through online bookings.
- At Moorgate eatertainment venue Clays, group drinks packages and sharing platters are available exclusively via pre-order.
- Japanese omakase counter Maru features upgrades for sake and wine pairings, plus a special online-only tea pairing.
- Featured below, the iconic Ritz Restaurant London offers celebration cakes and copies of their signature cookbook guests can opt to pre-order before they arrive.
How to Drive Sales & Retention with Automation
Restaurant Email Marketing Automation
Email marketing is all about sending the right message, to the right guests, at the right time — and Marketing Automation tools help you achieve this more efficiently.
Email marketing automation software makes it easy for operators to send hyper-targeted communications to specific guest segments. Common examples include thanking first-timers, re-engaging guests who haven’t dined in a specified period of time and responding to positive or negative feedback.
The best marketing automation solutions come with a library of pre-built email campaigns proven to boost repeat business, retain more guests and create opportunities to capture incremental revenue. These additional touch points also help operators build strong guest relationships while saving their teams valuable time — truly a win-win scenario.
CRM and Guest Profiles with Automated Tags
Guest data provides the fuel for a robust marketing automation strategy. We’ve seen how a direct reservations solution like SevenRooms allows restaurants to capture and catalogue contact information like email addresses and phone numbers. An integrated point-of-sale system also allows operators to track spend data, adding nuance to guest profiles within their CRM database.
SevenRooms custom auto-tags provide even more detail on every guest. These help you identify the guests that matter most to your business based on visit or order count, spend thresholds, feedback ratings and more.
Better yet, with Email Marketing functionality tailor-made for restaurants, operators can do away with traditional Email Service Providers, send their own custom communications and easily track the email performance metrics that matter: reservations, covers, online orders — and most importantly, revenue generated.
Upselling & Automation Strategies in Action: Flat Iron Square
Since opening as a small music venue in October 2016, London’s Flat Iron Square has blossomed into a 40,000 sq ft food, drink and entertainment hub with concepts ranging from food stands and sit-down restaurants, to cocktail dens, wine bars and their eponymous beer garden. In an effort to increase cover counts across the board and begin accepting table reservations in the beer garden for the first time, the team turned to SevenRooms.
This case study explores how SevenRooms helped Flat Iron Square generate £127K of prepayment revenue in just 8 months. By promoting special events and experiences via their reservation widget, the venue was able to capture additional revenue before guests even set foot on the property. Plus, with reservation upgrades, they could offer upsells and add-ons to help boost guest spend.
With this upselling strategy in combination with Marketing Automation tools that helped them drive repeat business, the team scored huge goals during the 2021 UEFA European Championship. Enforcing sizable table minimums, they sold a staggering £100,000 in prepaid tickets over the course of just a month, and added over 50,000 new guests to their client database through promoting the final match alone.
A More Profitable Future
Rising costs, inflation and the energy crisis are just a few reasons why more London operators are turning to technology to strengthen their businesses. By implementing upselling strategies and leveraging marketing automation software, restaurants are able to optimise their existing channels — online reservations, online ordering and email marketing — and increase revenue. Better yet, these time-saving tools allow their teams to focus their efforts on creating memorable hospitality moments for their guests. It is these experiences that keep guests coming back for years to come.
Book a demo today to learn how SevenRooms can help your London restaurant increase sales through upselling and Marketing Automation.