10 Best Tips to Increase Average Order Size at Your Restaurant

restaurant order tickets how to increase average order size

10 Best Tips to Increase Average Order Size at Your Restaurant

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Increasing average order size at your restaurant is crucial for improving your bottom line. Especially today, with the limit on seating capacity according to the new color coded reopening plan for California restaurants.

The average order size is the amount of dollars spent by customers in your restaurant divided by the number of tickets in a given time period. For example, if you make $1,000 for 40 tickets per day your average order size is $25.

To cover all your expenses and still make the restaurant profitable, make sure to maximize profits from each and every customer, both in house and online.

After calculating the restaurant’s daily, weekly or monthly average order size, it’s time to make a plan. Start by deciding on a realistic goal. If your daily order size is $25, then $30 can be the next milestone you set to reach.

Follow these practical tips and strategies to increase the average order size at your restaurant.

Upselling to Raise the Average Order Size

wine pairing waiter raise average order size

Upselling is an important strategy to increase the average order size at your restaurant. This is when waitstaff encourages diners to choose an upgraded version of the same thing they ordered.

Say the diner ordered a standard size burger, but the waiter suggests the meal plan. Meal plan has a beverage and fries in addition to the burger but it also costs more.

Customers pay more for one ticket. Servers can also offer to substitute what the customer ordered with a higher-end version of the same item. For example, a top shelf wine or a specialty cocktail.


Cross-selling is when service workers offer supplementary items to what the customer has already ordered. This is another great method for boosting your average order size.

Why not offer diners a nice bottle of wine to go with that steak, a small appetizer while waiting for the main dish or a light dessert to complement their espresso at the end of the meal?

Some helpful phrases for servers to use are:

  • Customers usually like pairing X with Y…
  • Our chef recommends A with B…

Pointing out why the larger size version is better, mentioning add-on options or describing the meals in vivid, appetizing detail are all good strategies.

Understand Diners to Boost Average Order Size

Being attentive to your guests will increase your chances of raising the restaurant’s average order size much more than just pushing menu items arbitrarily. Train your staff to listen to the customers so they can suggest items the customers want before they even know it themselves.

Train Waitstaff to Be Menu Wise

service staff at restaurant training to increase average order size

Educate your staff about the menu. Allow them to taste as many meals as possible as well as alcoholic beverages. Schedule an alcohol training course or a meat workshop where they can get acquainted with food they may not have experienced before.

This will allow servers to make more confident suggestions and take the wheel when the customer is hesitant or not too sure about what to order. This is a crucial tactic not only to increase average order size, but to drive customer satisfaction up.

Use Online Menus to Raise Average Order Size

Customers who order online don’t have the server to guide them through the menu. They won’t get big appetites from seeing their neighboring table receiving their meals, either. 

To raise the average order size in these cases, the online menu has to be both appealing and easy to use. For the menu, stick to:

  • Bestsellers: Only include your bestsellers – meals that bring in the orders.
  • Captivating pictures: High quality and professional pictures make menu items stand out and irresistable.
  • Simplicity: Use simple search words. The simpler the description, the more it will show up in online searches.
  • Customizing: You want online orders to be swift and easy. Include all substitutions, additions and sides so customers can easily add more items to their order.

Learn more about how to improve your restaurant website to raise profit.

Modify Your POS Systems

pos system for average order size

While your servers should be knowledgeable about the menu and attentive to your guests’ needs, don’t forget they’re only human. They might miss a chance to upsell or forget to offer a wine pairing.

Help your staff increase your average order size by including forced modifiers to your POS system. This will make the system pop up with reminders on upgrades, side dishes, alcoholic beverages and desserts and will optimize every server/customer interaction.

Learn which restaurant POS system is best for you here.

Create A Game Or Contest

Many restaurants create games or contests to increase revenue through raising the average order size. McDonald’s for example has the Monopoly Game, where customers are encouraged to order more frequently and upgrade their meals to get more game pieces which they can win big prizes with.

Introduce Premium Products

premium products average order size

Offer higher-priced items or the option to upgrade dishes with premium ingredients. Premium products such as specialty wines, truffle oil, craft beers, imported cheeses, branded goods, or even an entirely separate premium menu can motivate diners to spend more.

Cheetah can be of great use in this department. We supply restaurants with wholesale products and offer free shipping for orders over $100.

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Make Your Menu Sales-Oriented

Your POS system highlights best-selling dishes, which makes it easier to spot meals worth cutting. It’s also useful in making a list of items most frequently purchased together, like burgers and fries and use that data to create meal deals. Bundling dishes will encourage customers to buy more.

Showcase Mouth-Watering Food

Many people eat with their eyes, meaning they order because something that looks delicious caught their eye. Make your display the most appealing and appetizing you possibly can. Bread, pastries, meat cuts, pizzas, muffins, cupcakes and cakes, anything that’s savory and delicious will attract customers to add more items to their purchase.

This strategy is the first step in transitioning from delivery to takeout. Read more here.

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