How to Take Action and Power to Boost Restaurant Guest Count

The most important number for your restaurants – the one you need to look at every shift, day, week, and accounting period – isn’t on your P&L.

That number? Guest count.

I only have a few clients who have positive comp guest counts. Those brands connected with their guests during the pandemic in a unique way – and maintained that goodwill post-pandemic.

For everyone else, guest counts are lagging, with sales increases being related to inflation. That’s representative of a trend in the industry.

Guests have made a clear choice in response to inflation and managing their household budgets.

They don’t trade down. They just go to restaurants less often. 

Make Guests Spend More with You

What would the rest of your numbers look like if the guest count deficit began to close?

They would look even more beautiful. 

The act of looking at guest count erosion every shift, day, week, and period can either:

  • Serve as a reminder for you to keep working to truly increase revenue, or
  • Just make you feel frustrated, victimized, and helpless.

I vote for the former.

The happier you make your guests, the more frequently they will make your restaurants part of their personal rotation.

Matthew’s Four Questions for Increasing Guest Count

  1. Do your restaurants exude hospitality and service?
  2. Does your brand lead your segment with food quality, presentation, flavor, and the look and feel of your dining rooms?
  3. Does a honed marketing message communicate to diners that you have what they want?
  4. Do you look around your restaurant and experience a culture that creates smiling, happy guests and employees?

Have you ever caught yourself reading the business section of your online news source and mentally throwing your hands up in the air or just feeling grateful that you have what you have?

You sell yourself short on creativity, innovation, observation, and power.

Don’t ever tell yourself that you can’t close the guest count gap “because that is just how things are.”

Instead, answer those four questions above, create initiatives, and spring into action.

Somebody will do it. Somebody will win. It may as well be you.

My best clients constantly re-examine their assumptions about their brands and businesses, and never allow outside forces to dictate their action or level of success.

You can educate people effectively, inspire them strongly, upgrade menu items, learn from your competition, and build an effective culture that guests and employees buy into.

This outlines the work I do with the leaders I coach and advise as well as the companies that rely on me to help them with strategy.

Matthew mabel's toolkit for creating a dream restaurant business.

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