Increasing Your Average Check Amount

The average check amount is regularly overlooked by restaurant managers and owners, who choose to focus on increasing customer headcount rather than the average customer spend. Firstly, what does the “average check” represent?

Divide the total spend by total number of guests to get the average check amount. This tells you how much the average guest spent at your location during that period.

Although overall guest count is important the average check is a number that you want to focus on keeping as high as possible. Increasing your average check is not just great for you, it’s also really good for your servers and bartenders because with an increase in the average check amount there’ll be an increase in their sales and, therefore, their overall tip amount. Here are some ways they can hep you increase their average check, their tips, and your overall take.

Tailor Their Approach

Each group of customers is different, and each requires a different approach when you’re up-selling items. A group of guys in the 20’s are likely to react better to a beer suggestion than a group of women in their 40’s, whom are more likely to order wine when it’s suggested. Intuitively tailoring their approach to each table can easily help your servers increase their average check amount.

Up-selling From Sodas to Beers and Cocktails

A guest might start with a soda but by the time their meal arrives they may want something else to go with it. This is a perfect opportunity for your severs and bartenders to offer an alternative that suits the dish in front of them i.e. offer red wine with steak, offer white wine with fish, offer an IPA or other beer with a burger and fries. Up-selling to these items can also be done at the start of the meal, as used in the example above.

Appetizers and Desserts, to Share?

Recently, people have become less and less inclined to order two courses, often opting to stick to just one main course. However, if your employee suggests sharing an appetizer or a dessert the collective group sees it as lighter on their stomachs and lighter on their wallets and are more likely to choose this option, adding another item to the check that they weren’t going to order before; if you have a big group of people or a small family you can suggest “starting with some appetizers to share”.

Knowing Why They’re Dining

When guests are out for special occasions, birthdays, anniversaries, leaving parties, etc, they are more likely to splash out on more expensive and lavish items; including rounds of shots. Working out why your guests are dining with you gives your employees an insight into how best to serve them and how best to up-sell to them. Are they on a time constraint? Up-selling drinks is better than an extra course. Here for a celebration? They can up-sell deserts, shared appetizers, and drinks.


When you compare, side by side, your server’s individual sales reports you will quickly be able to discover who has the highest average check and, therefore, who already employs some of these tactics. These are the servers that you need concentrate on less, once all your servers are ending their nights with about equal average check amounts then you can start using competitions and other incentives to really try and push the figures up.