Multiple Streams of Revenue Make Better Restaurants

June 2023

The business model for new restaurants has evolved beyond “selling food to whoever shows up” – and savvy restaurant owners know that multiple streams of income heighten their chances of long-term success.

But what makes a good revenue stream for a restaurant? A good source of income should, of course, provide your guests with something they’re looking for – otherwise, it won’t bring in revenue! 

Additional revenue streams should also give your restaurant the flexibility needed to meet changing market demands – they should give you more options, not less. 

And finally, in times like these, revenue streams that reduce the impact of staffing issues are key. While Barrel House’s business plan allows franchise owners to provide steady jobs, with good pay and access to benefits, to our staff, we also know that this is a tough time in the industry – and minimizing the impact of staff shortages is always a priority!

New takes on in-person dining, carryout, online ordering, delivery, apps, loyalty programs, and even gift cards are all ways a restaurant owner can keep cashflow steady in every circumstance.

Below, we break down the different restaurant revenue streams that have helped bring Barrel House success.

In-Person Dining

This is the main revenue source that people think of when they imagine a restaurant – and for good reason! In-person dining is back in a big way, with more people visiting restaurants than before the pandemic.

Barrel House has capitalized on in-person dining through our We Care™ culture, extensive staff training, and technology improvements that help streamline the in-person dining experience (including fun innovations like robot servers, and more practical ones like handhelds for waitstaff.)

But the pandemic has proven that even in-person dining needs to diversify to be the best possible restaurant revenue stream.

Patios as a Restaurant Revenue Stream

The patio of Barrel House Bloomington, one of multiple streams of revenue.Outdoor dining, especially in the warmer months, is a huge draw for in-person dining. We’ve written extensively about why every Barrel House is designed with a patio, but the patio as a revenue stream is always worth mentioning.

When possible, a restaurant patio boosts seating capacity, and allows for more distance between guests – something we’re all a lot more mindful of post-pandemic. Should something like Covid-19 happen again, restaurants with patios will have a much easier time continuing in-person service.

Your restaurant’s patio also gives you a dedicated second space in your restaurant for events and live music, which can draw in large crowds of new guests. These community-building events are the perfect opportunity to impress new visitors, and turn them into repeat customers.

Adding a patio to an existing restaurant can be a headache. Do you sacrifice part of your parking lot? Can you place it on a side of the building that receives more shade? That’s why we design this revenue stream into all our restaurants from the start.

Carryout Orders Boost Restaurant Revenue

As with so many restaurant revenue streams, carryout really had its time to shine during the pandemic. Restaurants that are prepared to offer carryout can increase their revenue and expand their audience in all sorts of conditions.

Carryout orders don’t capitalize the time and attention of waitstaff. Once a meal is made, it’s ready for pickup, with no waitstaff needed.

In the current age of uncertain staffing, also allow a restaurant to operate with fewer employees. If the worst happens, and multiple members of the waitstaff team call out, a restaurant with a robust carryout program can remain open and serving no matter what.

This revenue stream also expands your audience of potential customers. There are plenty of folks in your community who don’t have the time or energy to sit down in a restaurant for an hour or so, but would be happy to call in and order and pick it up on the way home from work. Local customers will be glad to have an option other than traditional drive-thru and quick service food.

Online Ordering as a Restaurant Revenue Stream

Online ordering and carryout go hand-in-hand. It frees up your staff from waiting by the phone for call-in orders, and makes your restaurant an easy choice for a busy customer who just wants to put their dinner order in before they leave the office, and pick it up on the drive home. 

Online ordering is one of the technological improvements that Barrel House has prioritized. We have a franchise-wide online ordering platform that allows us to route orders to the correct restaurant while taking advantage of our brand’s larger size to ensure fees are as competitive as possible. This allows us to offer our franchisees a system that integrates well with the Barrel House workflow, which makes it easy to accept orders online.

This convenient stream of revenue can be daunting to implement, but with Barrel House, it’s another well-integrated piece of the business plan.

Restaurant Revenue Stream: Delivery

If carryout is convenient for customers, delivery is almost too easy. Having delivery available to customers has been growing in popularity since the pandemic, and business is booming. Whether it’s described as a “must have,” a way to expand your audience to new customers, or “unlimited potential,” it’s clear that delivery is a part of the restaurant industry’s future that’s here to stay.

Choosing delivery partners can be a challenge, but as a franchise, we’ve developed relationships with the most competitive partners to ensure ease of operation and customer satisfaction.

Once those good relationships are established, delivery is a win for everyone – customers get the food they want, exactly when they want it. Your kitchen can serve more meals without the need for more waitstaff. Your customer base is expanded in a huge way, as anyone in your delivery radius may have a hankering for one of our delicious Barrel Burgers.

And, like so many of the restaurant revenue streams on this list – delivery is pandemic-proof, and with Barrel House, your delivery plan is always in place in case of emergency.

Barrel House’s App & Loyalty Program

The Barrel House app (available to all our franchise partners) makes online ordering easier than ever, but it also brings our loyalty program into play. Integrating online ordering with the loyalty program helps you overcome the biggest hurdle – gaining users’ contact information.

Loyalty programs are trending as a restaurant revenue stream for a reason. Their ability to boost spending and customer retention are well worth the development investment – and we know from experience!

Having an app on customers’ phones increases Barrel House’s top-of-mind awareness, gives us a way to connect directly to customers, increases engagement, and gives valuable data about what guests want from our locations. It also makes online ordering easier than ever, boosting revenue even when we don’t offer a deal or discount.

The Most Overlooked Restaurant Revenue Stream: Gift Cards

Gift cards are an old classic – and people tend to forget about them. But gift cards can be a powerful revenue stream for restaurants, so don’t forget them!

Gift cards are usually purchased after guests have already paid for a meal, making them the perfect ‘add on’ for in-person or carryout guests. They’re also one of the rare ways restaurants can be paid in advance for their services, which is tough to beat.

During the pandemic, gift cards were a way for guests to support their favorite restaurants through hard times. Though we hope the industry never sees a similar shutdown, having this option in our franchisee’s back pockets is good for peace of mind.

Gift cards also introduce a lot of great marketing angles. They’re the perfect gift for holidays and major milestones, and a Barrel House gift card is something unique to your community.

Why Open a Restaurant With Multiple Streams of Revenue

When opening a restaurant, consider the “millionaire model” – few extremely successful people get there on a single source of income. A restaurant can succeed in the same way.

Multiple revenue streams improve customer experience by giving them benefits they really want, like outdoor dining, convenient ordering, pickup, and delivery options, loyalty rewards, and gift ideas. Because customers love these revenue streams, they’re able to bring your restaurant more business, and higher profits.

Additionally, each new stream of revenue is another source to rely on should you ever run into issues with in-person dining. While we hope to never see another pandemic, there’s serious peace of mind in knowing that your restaurant has options when it comes to keeping the lights on and the staff paid.

And speaking of staff – revenue streams that allow you to make more money without creating more work are a win for everyone! Increasing revenue without adding to your hardworking staff’s workload, or trying to hire in a tough market, 

As a bottom line, Barrel House builds franchise locations with multiple streams of revenue simply because it’s better for everyone involved. The experience for guests and staff is improved, and profitability is higher – and those results are tough to argue with.

If you want to learn more about Barrel House’s revenue streams, and how you can get involved, we invite you to give us a call!