Creating Multiple Profit Centers

Get creative…there are so many different ways to increase your cash flow!

You Have a Captive Audience


Diners in restaurants are a “Captive Audience”.  Once they are in your place, you have their attention and potential to sell them even more, either this time or next time.  The more fun you provide and the more you have for sale, the larger your daily revenues will be.

A RETAIL SALES AREA just makes sense in the entrance to your restaurant.  Find room at or near the host counter.  Your host staff can do a great job promoting and showing the merchandise.  Bringing in custom T-shirts, hats, hoody sweatshirts, pint glasses, shots or mugs, and many other “Impulse” gift-shop type items helps build your brand and your bank account.  If you are doing a great job convincing customers you are a Brand, not just a restaurant and if you have a catchy theme and logo, your merchandise will Sell!   Start small with a few test pieces and then print your most popular designs in bulk in a good range of sizes for men, women and kids.  Take detailed notes about which designs and which sizes sell out the fastest so you can streamline your inventory. Normally, price discounts begin when you purchase a gross (144 pieces) of any item and know that all the larger merchandise/t-shirt printers out there have talented staff artists that will bring your Brand to life.  Shop a few suppliers around and select your favorite designs and don’t hesitate to negotiate price… it’s a competitive world out there!


If your restaurant features old-fashioned recipes passed down from grandma or if you have really popular sauces, breads, coffee cakes, desserts, par-baked pizzas, etc… all of these can be easily packaged for sale as impulse items at your host counter or retail area.  Make sure you print graphically appealing labels for the packaging with your logo, a brief description or story about the item and any re-heating instructions.  Then train your host and service staff to “Suggest & Sell” these items to your guests.


Beer is undeniably popular all over the world, so of course if you serve beer and you have a casual place, you should start a Mug Club.  The value lies in building a “Core Audience” of regulars to your bar and restaurant that will not only frequent you weekly (daily?), but bring in their friends to join the club.  If you offer special Mug pricing and other value-added benefits, you can Sell the Mug Memberships in advance providing an up-front and steady source of yearly cash flow. So on top of selling the beer at a profit, bringing in customers who also have a bite to eat with their beer, your restaurant has a new source of steady cash.  Yearly Mug Memgerships cost between $50 to over $100 per Member based on the location, club benefits and deals provided.  Start by researching Mugs. Companies like “Boelter” offer many varieties and sizes of mugs.  The best ones are 20 – 22 ounces, so it’s a big appeal over the standard pint.  You can offer more beer per mug and offer the Mug Member a perceived value discount on every beer.  Wine clubs are also a GREAT idea.  Purchase some nicer, larger wine glasses and those with a membership get a more elegant glass and a larger pour.

(See Mug Clubs/Affinity Programs in MODULE 4)


Arcade games are popular with adults and kids alike.  I have already talked about the amount of money kids spend in your arcade, but you can also create a separate Adult arcade in your bar.  Pool Tables and Foosball will never go out of style and just print money.  Video games like “Big Buck Hunter”, NBA Jam, Road Race driving games and old classics like “Pac Man”, “Asteroids” and “Donkey Kong” are all super popular with your adults and bar crowd.  If you can find some space, there’s a guaranteed pay-off every week from games.

NOTE:  Arcade/Juke Box Companies or larger beer distributors will provide and maintain a selection of pool tables and games, ATM Machines and Coin Changers to your establishment in exchange for a portion of the revenues they generate (most take 50%).


In addition to brining in high traffic you can also make $ on cover charges.

If your liquor license will allow it or if you can get a separate “Off-Premise” sales license, having a stand up refrigerator stocked with six packs of beer to go is a huge opportunity to explore.  Check with your state liquor commission.

Not every restaurant has extra property or inside available “real estate”, but if you do, consider the highest and best use of extra space or convert a non-performing space into something more profitable.  In my travels I have seen most commonly “Ice Cream Windows”, “Candy shops”, “Vending Machines”, as well as Stand-alone “Taco Stands” or “Clam Shacks” and even go-cart tracks, boat rentals if you’re on a lake, bike rentals if your restaurant is near parks or tourist attractions, petting zoos, mini-golf, etc..

What New Profit Center Ideas can your team dream up?  Your restaurant opportunities are only limited by your imagination and available space.