“Free Sample” might be the greatest two-word phrase in the English language. Whether you’re getting cheese, chocolate, or some kind of meat on a stick, it’s nearly impossible to say no to a free sample. And believe or not, offering free samples is a great way to increase long-term profits—as detailed in this article from The Atlantic. Food courts, specialty shops, and Costcos have been benefitting from giving free samples for years, and there are several reasons why restaurant owners should consider adopting the practice.
Offering a free taste of an appetizer or a drink is a small gesture that will be much appreciated by your customers. Your customers will not only be more likely to return in the future, but they’ll also recommend your restaurant to friends. You’ll be known for doing something that few other restaurants outside the food court dare to do: give free samples.
It can be tough to bring customers up to speed regarding your restaurant’s newest cocktails and appetizers. And even if customers know about your new offerings, they might have a tendency to stick to known commodities. By giving guests free samples of something they haven’t tried yet, you’ll be helping them make informed decisions when ordering their food and drink.
According to a Cornell study , increasing customer satisfaction results in more sales at winery tasting rooms. This same concept can easily be applied to bars and restaurants. The more satisfied your customers, the more likely they are to purchase more items. Whether those items are drinks, appetizers, entrees, or desserts, your restaurant will reap the benefits.
Diners Appreciate Variety
Alternating free sample offerings encourages customers to frequently visit your restaurant. Whether you decide to offer a different sample every two weeks or every month, the idea is to provide patrons with a good reason to keep coming back. And by providing a unique experience each time, you’ll be doing just that.
For best results, be sure to keep track of what food and drink samples result in the most purchases. Weigh this against the cost of offering the samples to decide what samples are the most profitable for your restaurant. This will help you plan future samples while ensuring that your restaurant maximizes profit.