According to a recent survey by Fooda, over 90% of Americans buy lunch instead of bringing one from home. Of these workers who buy their lunch, 63% of them will purchase from a nearby restaurant.
The average office worker spends $37 a week on lunch, which tallies up to a sizable $2,000 a year. If your restaurant is centrally located in a business hub, you have a prime real estate for a buzzing lunch hour. Below we reveal 10 effective ways to attract a lunch crowd and boost your restaurant’s revenue.
1. Offer a Pre-Fixed Lunch Menu
The average office worker has one-hour lunch breaks. For the businessman that wants a proper sit-down lunch—but doesn’t have more than an hour to enjoy one—a three-course, the pre-fixed lunch menu is exactly what he or she is looking for.
The menu should be highbrow, yet uncomplicated, with just two or three variations per course. Advertise your lunch menu as a “Power Hour Lunch Menu,” and include a brief description that explains how this menu is designed to take one hour to consume. You want to emphasize that this includes the entire dining experience, from sitting down to walking out the door.
Your guests will appreciate a menu that satisfies their cravings for a hot, prepared lunch. While they might not come every day, office workers in the area are likely to make weekly visits to your restaurant for such a satisfying and quick lunch. (And ideally with their coworkers!)
Remember: The price point must be fair, so the pre-set menu should not cost more than $20. Providing a heavy lunch isn’t necessary, either. Halve your regular portion sizes to accommodate the guest’s needs, your profit margins, and the kitchen’s cooking times.
Benefits of a pre-fixed lunch menu:
- Less time spent preparing food
- The faster ordering process for customers
- Easier to handle lunch rushes
- Less stress on your restaurant staff
2. Offer a Lunch Special
For a daily flow of return diners, opt for a daily lunch special. This will be attractive to office workers in all income brackets. Every day, offer one or two lunch specials that are easy to prep for and even easier to churn out. And make it a price so good, it’s impossible to go elsewhere.
Since the lunch crowd is seeking alternatives to paper-bag lunches, they are looking for a filling and delicious meal that is affordable. If you can keep your price range between $7 and $12, you will have daily regulars coming in from nearby businesses.
Serve smaller portions during your lunch specials to keep costs down and attract more customers during the lunch rush. Most workers don’t want an overly filling meal for lunch, but one they can get fast and tastes great.
3. Offer a Group Special
At least once a week, co-workers get lunch as a group. It’s typical for work friends to catch up or companies to major work meetings off-site at a restaurant. In fact, group lunches are used as an office tactic to increase productivity.
Attract large parties with a special office group discount. It doesn’t matter how profitable a company is, and a lunch discount is always desirable. Offer a percentage off the entire bill for a certain number of people, or offer a set menu. If you make office groups feel welcome at your restaurant, you will get return business from them.
4. Offer Fresh Pre-Made To-Go Containers
Plenty of office employees eat lunch at their desks. Help them to eat a good quality meal with fresh, pre-made, to-go containers of your food. You don’t have to offer your entire menu, just a few items to get started with.
The snacking dining trend has led diners to be more comfortable with picking up small servings, so take advantage of this new way of eating, and offer easy-to-prepare to-go containers that take an employe