4 Ways to Capitalize on the Lunch Crowd

When the clock strikes noon Monday through Friday, hungry diners leave their desks in search of food to help them power through the rest of the day. In fact, one study found that 66 percent of working Americans buy their lunches instead of bringing food from home.

Attracting the masses during the lunch hour is different from bringing in evening and late-night diners. Why? Because lunchtime diners often want quick and convenient options rather than a sit-down meal. You may already have a loyal customer base during dinner hours, but opening your doors to the lunch crowd can create a new revenue stream.

Here are a few tips to help you gain traction with lunchtime diners:

Provide delivery to local businesses

It’s not uncommon for offices to place group lunch orders for meetings, brainstorms and other events. If your establishment is already a hit with neighborhood businesses during the evening, start offering lunchtime delivery. Consider adding a few menu items specific to corporate and group orders, including sandwich platters and family-sized salads, and simplify delivery by outsourcing to a third-party delivery service that provides on-demand drivers and manages the influx of delivery orders so you don’t have to.

Introduce lunch specials

Lunch specials can help your restaurant attract customers that want convenient, quality food at a reasonable price. Consider offering smaller portions of top dinner entrées with a drink and side for a discounted combo price that is more affordable than your dinner options. Since many customers want to get back to the office as soon as possible, another way to bring in revenue during the lunch hour is to offer prepared meals and grab-and-go options, so customers can quickly run into your restaurant, select what they want and be out the door in a matter of minutes.

Offer online ordering

To make more businesses aware of your lunchtime takeout and delivery options, join an online ordering platform. Then, the next time a nearby business goes to place a lunch order on the platform, your restaurant can easily be found. Online ordering during the lunch hour also makes it easy for individual customers to place orders ahead of time and pick them up quickly, rather than waiting in line.

Use marketing to your advantage

One of the easiest ways for customers to find out about your lunch delivery, online ordering and menu specials is through marketing efforts you already have in place. Before the flurry of lunch activity, post specials, coupons and other offers on your social channels. In addition, a top trend in marketing lunch is, promoting offerings that can be ready in a certain timeframe. While many lunchtime customers opt for quick service restaurants, if you own a sit-down restaurant, market your menu items that can be ordered ahead or ready quickly. The more you spread the word about your lunch offerings, the higher order volume you’ll see during the noontime rush.

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