Effective Strategies for Increasing Average Check Size in Restaurants

Nov 1, 2023

In the highly competitive restaurant industry, finding ways to increase revenue and profitability is a top priority for restaurant owners and managers. One effective approach is to focus on increasing the average check size, which refers to the amount of money spent per customer during a visit. By employing smart strategies, educating staff, and implementing other proven techniques, restaurants can encourage customers to spend more which can equate to increased sales and potentially the bottom line. As such, our DHW Restaurant Industry Team outlines some effective methods that restaurants can implement to increase their average check size.

  • Menu Engineering and Upselling: Menu engineering involves strategic placement and pricing of menu items to influence customer choices. By highlighting high-profit margin items or creating enticing specials, restaurants can influence customers to spend more. Additionally, training staff to effectively upsell by recommending higher-profit items or suggesting add-ons and upgrades can significantly impact the average check size. The key here is for owners to understand the most “profitable” versus the most “popular” items as the most popular item could be a drag on profit. As such, operators should understand which items drive “profit” and educate their servers on this concept.


  • Limited-Time Offers and Special Promotions: Creating a sense of urgency and exclusivity can be a powerful motivator for customers to spend more. Restaurants can introduce limited time offers, seasonal specials, or chef’s recommendations that are available for a limited period. These time-limited promotions can encourage customers to order more, try new items, and ultimately spend more money.


  • Bundle Deals and Prix Fixe Menus: Introducing bundle deals or prix fixe menus can entice customers to spend more by offering a combination of items at a discounted price. These offerings not only simplify the decision-making process for customers but also create a perception of value, encouraging them to spend more while enjoying a complete dining experience.


  • Enhancing Beverage Sales: Beverages often carry higher profit margins than food items, making them an ideal avenue for increasing average check size. Restaurants can focus on developing a well-curated drink menu, including signature cocktails, craft beers, and premium wine selections. Additionally, training staff to suggest and recommend suitable, profitable beverage pairings can further drive-up beverage sales and overall check size.


  • Dessert and Add-Ons: Encouraging customers to indulge in desserts or tempting add-ons can substantially increase the average check size. Restaurants can display visually appealing dessert options, offer dessert tasting platters, or provide attractive discounts for ordering multiple desserts. Additionally, promoting extras such as sides, appetizers, or condiments can further boost the final bill.


  • Loyalty Programs and Incentives: Implementing a loyalty program can be a great way to incentivize customers to spend more at your restaurant. By offering rewards, discounts, or exclusive perks to loyal customers, you can foster repeat visits and higher spending. Loyalty programs can also gather valuable data about customer preferences, allowing you to tailor marketing efforts and promotions to specific segments.


  • Exceptional Customer Service: Providing outstanding customer service is crucial for increasing the average check size. Well-trained staff who are attentive, knowledgeable, and engaging can create a positive dining experience and encourage customers to spend more. By creating a warm and welcoming environment, restaurants can build customer loyalty and foster a willingness to spend more.


Increasing the average check size is an essential strategy for maximizing revenue and profitability in the restaurant industry. By implementing a combination of menu engineering, upselling techniques, limited time offers, enhancing beverage sales, promoting desserts and add-ons, utilizing loyalty programs, incorporating technology, and providing exceptional customer service, restaurants can effectively encourage customers to spend more. These strategies, when implemented thoughtfully and consistently, can help restaurants not only increase their average check size but also enhance the overall dining experience for their customers. To learn more about how these strategies can increase sales and profitability for your restaurant entity, please contact Tim Reynolds at 828.322.2070 or tim@dhw.cpa.