How to Boost Your Restaurant Lunch Sales

9 min.
Jun 29, 2023 4:04:51 PM

Are you frustrated with the stark contrast between the bustling dinner rush and the sluggish lunchtime pace at your restaurant?

If you are, keep reading, because it's time to turn those slow lunch hours into vibrant, profitable periods.

In this article, we will provide you with practical tips and strategies to transform your restaurant's lunch sales.

By introducing enticing lunch set menus, special offers, and group discounts and leveraging the power of social media promotions, you can create an irresistible lunchtime experience that will have customers flocking to your tables.

Let's dive right in.

Design a Set Lunch Menu

With limited time during lunch breaks, busy customers appreciate a seamless and efficient dining experience. 

A well-designed lunch menu can do precisely that—enhance the dining experience for your busy customers and, on the other hand, boost your lunchtime sales.

Let’s explain why.

By offering set menus in your restaurant, guests can make quicker food choices, resulting in faster ordering and efficient meal preparation. 

This reduces wait times, accommodates more customers, and ultimately increases lunchtime revenue.

So, to reap these benefits, you should keep your set lunch menu concise, featuring a selection of popular and quick-to-prepare dishes.

You can include options such as salads, sandwiches, wraps, or daily specials with a rotating variety that will cater to different tastes and keep your customers engaged.

For example, take Noci, an Italian restaurant tucked away in Islington.


Source: Noci 

They have mastered the art of attracting the midday crowd by offering a fantastic lunch menu from Monday to Friday, 12-5 PM. 

For a mere £14, their customers get a drink, their signature focaccia with Datterini tomato, and a tantalizing plate of pasta. 

With three quick-to-prepare pasta options, Noci delivers an affordable and satisfying midday meal that keeps their guests coming back for more.

Bao Soho, located right in the heart of London, provides another excellent example. 

Their lunch and dinner set menu, available from Monday to Thursday, is a hit among busy workers and lunchtime warriors. 

For just £15, their guests are treated to a delightful bao bun, a tantalizing xiao chi, and a comforting rice bowl. 

It’s a convenient and reasonably priced option that guarantees a quick and delicious meal to fuel anyone’s day.


Source: Bao, Soho

And remember, your patrons don’t expect your lunchtime offering to be as extensive as your dinner menu.

They crave smaller portions at reasonable prices, allowing them to enjoy a satisfying and affordable meal. 

So, offering fixed-price options with a main dish, side, and drink, just like Noci, or creating tiered choices at different prices can work wonders for your lunch sales. 

In summary, with a well-crafted set lunch menu, your restaurant can become the go-to destination for busy customers seeking a satisfying and efficient midday meal.

Offer Daily Lunch Specials

Another effective strategy to boost your restaurant's lunch sales and keep regular customers returning is to offer them daily lunch specials.

These specials add excitement and variety to the lunchtime experience, giving your guests a reason to visit your establishment day after day.

You can, for example, create a schedule of weekly specials featuring different dishes on specific days of the week, like beef Wellington on Wednesdays or seafood specials on Fridays.

Let's take a look at some real-world examples to illustrate this practice.

Schooners Patio Grille, a Californian restaurant, offers customers daily lunch specials throughout the week.


Source: Schooners

They have a diverse lineup of specials, which you can see in the image above. 

By offering something unique and different each day for a reasonable price, Schooners keeps their regular lunch-goers intrigued and eager to return.

FoxFire, an Illinois-based steakhouse, takes a similar approach by offering daily lunch specials from Monday to Friday. 

Their menu boasts a range of delectable options at affordable prices. 

For instance, customers can enjoy a Monday special featuring a half-pound bacon cheeseburger with fries and soup or salad or savor a delicious lobster roll on Thursdays.


Source: FoxFire

Introducing daily lunch specials creates a sense of anticipation and surprise for your customers. Regulars will be enticed to visit frequently to experience the unique offerings of each day.

So, make sure to promote these offers through your website, social media platforms, and in-house promotions to entice new and existing customers.

To sum up, by consistently offering enticing and reasonably priced daily lunch specials, you can assure loyal customers and significantly boost your lunchtime sales.

Provide Incentives for Larger Groups

To further boost your restaurant's lunch sales, consider providing incentives for larger groups

Many customers prefer dining with coworkers, and attractive offers can sway their decision in your favor.

One effective strategy is to offer discounts tailored explicitly for larger groups. 

For example, introduce a special deal for groups of four or more during lunchtime. 

This will entice colleagues to choose your establishment, knowing they can enjoy a satisfying meal all together while saving money.

Take inspiration from Chef & Brewer Collection pubs, which have over 140 locations in the UK. 

They offer a variety of weekly specials, pub classics, brunches, and lunches.


Source: gourmet society

What sets them apart is their generous 25% discount on the total bill for groups of up to eight people.

Enticing offers like this can bring colleagues together for a delicious meal and establish your restaurant as their preferred choice.

Alternatively, you can consider other incentives like "6 meals for the price of 5" or "2 people sharing a combo meal" to attract larger groups and increase your lunch sales.


Source: The Montpelier

All in all, the key is to provide a compelling reason for customers to choose your restaurant over others during their lunch outings.

By offering incentives for larger groups, you can boost sales, foster a sense of camaraderie, and encourage repeat visits from satisfied customers.

Reach Out to Your Local Businesses

When it comes to choosing a lunch spot, convenience is vital for busy individuals.

So it's not surprising that, with limited time to spare, they prefer restaurants within a reasonable distance from their workplace.

That's why savvy restaurant owners like yourself should tap into the local business community to attract these time-conscious customers and boost lunch sales.

Let's explore some strategies to make it happen.

First, be proactive in reaching out to other companies. Present your enticing lunch menu, daily specials, and group discounts directly to the local professionals hungry for a satisfying meal.

Consider distributing coupons, offering free samples, or even organizing special events to pique their interest.


©Kaycoo via Canva

Imagine the anticipation and excitement when you bring delicious food samples to a nearby company in the morning. 

Hungry employees will eagerly await their lunch break, rushing to your restaurant to experience more of your mouthwatering offerings.

And don't worry about the cost of free samples—your sales will soar once these hungry customers become loyal patrons.

Another practical approach is forging partnerships with local businesses. 

Propose a collaboration where employees of partnering companies receive a discount every time they dine at your establishment. 

Or offer your establishment to host their corporate lunches for discounted prices. 

This mutually beneficial arrangement will boost your lunchtime foot traffic while adding value to the partnering business's staff. 

Take inspiration from The Barbeque Nation, a successful restaurant chain that offers a corporate lunch program.


Source: The Barbeque Nation

By offering exclusive discounts and customized offerings for corporate lunches, they have become the preferred choice for professionals seeking a satisfying midday meal.

So, seize the opportunity and connect with the local business community. 

Your restaurant will become the favorite destination for busy workers, leading to increased lunchtime revenue and a thriving lunchtime rush.

Promote Lunch Offerings on Social Media

As a restaurant owner, you know that having fantastic lunch offerings is only half the battle. The other half is making sure your potential guests know about them.

That's where the power of social media comes in.

With a large portion of the population actively engaged on platforms like Facebook, TikTok, and Instagram, promoting your lunch offerings on social media is a game-changer for boosting your sales.


Source: Gitnux

Did you know that 63% of people use social media to discover new restaurants and explore enticing menu items? That's a significant opportunity you don't want to miss.

Plus, studies show that 32% of people will visit a restaurant's website directly after seeing its content on social media.

So, let's dive into how you can make the most of it.

First and foremost, showcase your lunch offerings through captivating posts, eye-catching images, and engaging videos on popular social media platforms.

Create buzz around your lunch menu, highlight your lunch specials, and emphasize any group discounts or promotions you offer.

Spark curiosity and make your patrons’ mouths water with compelling visuals of your delectable dishes.

Take a look at the Instagram account of Union Market, an American restaurant and market from Richmond, Virginia.


Source: Union Market on Instagram

They tantalize their followers daily with mouthwatering photos of their delicious special lunch offerings.

Imagine your potential guests scrolling through their Instagram feed and being greeted by one of these photos. 

The sight alone will have them eagerly rushing to your restaurant as soon as their lunch break begins.

So, follow in Union Market's footsteps and tap into social media's power to promote your lunch offerings.

Craft engaging content, share eye-catching visuals, and encourage interactive engagement with your audience.

By doing so, you'll witness a remarkable boost in your lunch sales and establish a strong digital presence for your restaurant.

Schedule Enough Staff During Lunchtime

Long lines and extended wait times can deter customers from dining out during lunchtime.

However, by providing quick service, you can reduce wait times, serve more customers and significantly boost your lunch sales.

The key to achieving this is scheduling enough staff during the lunch rush.

Let's explore how you can make it happen.

Start by analyzing your lunchtime foot traffic patterns. Identify the peak hours and busiest days, and schedule additional staff accordingly.

Having a well-staffed team on hand enables you to handle the lunch rushes efficiently, getting customers in and out of the restaurant within an hour or less.

For example, a reliable restaurant reservation system can significantly help you with its data reporting features.


Source: Tablein

You can combine the power of staffing with the concept of set lunch meals that are quickly prepared, as we mentioned earlier.

This winning combination not only reduces waiting times but also ensures that customers receive their meals promptly, leaving them satisfied and more likely to return.

Remember, staffing adequately during lunchtime is a strategic investment that pays off. 

It enhances customer satisfaction, maximizes the number of customers served, and boosts your lunch sales.

By analyzing data, adjusting staffing levels accordingly, and focusing on quick service, you will create an environment that attracts time-conscious diners seeking a satisfying lunch experience.


In conclusion, by implementing these strategies and adapting them to your restaurant's unique offerings and target audience, you can increase your lunchtime sales and create a thriving midday dining experience.

So, embrace the simplicity of set menus, cater to larger groups with enticing incentives, leverage the reach of social media, and ensure efficient service through adequate staffing.

Finally, get ready to serve unforgettable lunches and watch your restaurant thrive.

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