Average Check Size: How to Manage It in Your Restaurant Business

Average Check Size for Restaurants | SynergySuite

In the restaurant industry, ensuring consistent revenue and profitability is a constant challenge. One crucial metric to monitor and improve is the average check size. The average check size represents the amount of money a customer spends on average during a dining experience, making it a pivotal factor in your restaurant’s financial health. Let us explore what average check size is, how to calculate it, what to analyze in your check size data, and common problems that may arise. We’ll also provide practical solutions to help boost this metric and enhance your restaurant’s financial performance.

Average Check Size: What is it?

Average check size is the average amount spent by a customer during a single visit to your restaurant. It includes expenditures on food, beverages, and any additional services, such as appetizers, desserts, or add-ons. This metric provides insights into your restaurant’s pricing strategies, menu composition, and upselling techniques. 

It’s important to monitor the average amount spent by each customer. This can help you assess the effectiveness of pricing strategies and upselling techniques.

How to Calculate Average Check Size

To calculate the average check size, use the following formula:

Average Check Size = Total Sales / Number of Transactions

What to Look for in Average Check Size Data

When it comes to analyzing your restaurant’s sales and revenue data, the average check size stands out as a key metric. It reveals not only how much your customers are spending but also the intricacies of their dining preferences. It is important you know what insights to look for in your average check size data that can provide crucial information when making decisions and developing strategies to make the most of each dining experience. 

Overall Trends in Average Check Size

When examining average check size data in the restaurant industry, it’s crucial to start by looking at overall trends. These trends provide valuable insights into the financial health and performance of the restaurant over time. By tracking the average check size across weeks, months, and even seasons, restaurant owners and managers can identify patterns and seasonality in customer spending habits. These insights enable them to adapt pricing, menu offerings, and marketing strategies to better align with customer expectations and market conditions. 

Comparison Across Periods

Comparing average check size data across different periods is a fundamental analysis for restaurants aiming to understand their financial performance. This comparison reveals whether the average check size is consistent or fluctuates over time. Analyzing periods such as weekdays versus weekends, lunch versus dinner, or even month-to-month fluctuations can highlight distinct trends in customer spending habits. 

This information is invaluable for decision-making. By making comparisons across different periods, restaurants can identify opportunities for growth, optimize their operations, and tailor their strategies to align with the changing dynamics of customer preferences and habits.


Segmentation of average check size data is a powerful tool that allows restaurants to gain a deeper understanding of their customers’ preferences and spending habits. By dividing the data into segments based on factors like customer demographics, dining occasions, or meal times, restaurants can pinpoint which customer groups contribute the most to their average check size. 

This information is invaluable for tailoring marketing strategies, menu offerings, and upselling techniques to specific customer segments. Analyze average check size by different customer segments, such as lunch versus dinner, weekdays versus weekends, and regular customers versus first-time visitors. Segmenting the data also helps identify opportunities for growth within each customer segment, allowing restaurants to create a more personalized and profitable dining experience for their patrons.

Menu Item Contribution

Menu item contribution is a crucial aspect of average check size data analysis for restaurants. Determine which menu items contribute the most to the average check size. Are high-margin items being ordered frequently? Are there underperforming items? Are people ordering specialty drinks? This information helps in fine-tuning menu composition and pricing strategies. 

High-margin and popular items can be emphasized, and lower-performing options can be reevaluated or modified.

Common Average Check Size Problems and Solutions

Finding common problems that often plague the average check size can be challenging. Here we will offer practical and effective solutions to help overcome potential challenges. By addressing these issues head-on, restaurant owners and managers can unlock the full potential of this crucial metric, ultimately leading to a more prosperous and successful dining experience for their patrons.

Declining Average Check Size

A declining average check size is a pressing issue in the restaurant industry that can severely impact a restaurant’s revenue. When the average check size consistently decreases, it can lead to reduced revenue and profitability. Here are some solutions to help correct this problem.

Menu Analysis

Review the menu to ensure it offers a variety of price points and appealing options. Consider adding high-margin items or changing pricing strategies.


Train restaurant staff to suggest add-ons, specials, and higher-priced items to customers. Implementing effective upselling techniques, such as suggesting higher-margin items or add-ons, can also increase the average check size. 


Encourage upselling by offering promotions like meal deals or wine pairings. Offering bundle deals, promotions, or tasting menus can inspire customers to order more and enhance their dining experience. 

Inconsistent Average Check Size

Inconsistent check sizes make it challenging to predict revenue and manage resources effectively. To combat this problem, a combination of strategies can prove highly effective. 

Implement standardized portion sizes and recipe consistency to ensure a uniform customer experience. Additionally, an in-depth analysis of your customer base and their dining habits can enable you to tailor your offerings to specific segments and ensure a more predictable revenue stream. Here are other solutions to help correct this problem.

Consistency in Service

Ensure that service quality and portion sizes are consistent across shifts and days to avoid customer dissatisfaction. Training your staff to employ upselling techniques consistently can help stabilize revenue, as can offering special promotions and limited-time menu items during slower periods to attract repeat business.


If there are inconsistent promotional activities, consider introducing regular promotions or specials to attract customers during slower periods. Offer special promotions and limited-time menu items to attract repeat business.

Stagnant Average Check Size

Stagnant average check size is a challenge that many restaurants encounter, as it can lead to a plateau in revenue and hinder growth. It may also indicate a lack of innovation or adaptability. 

By staying attuned to changing customer preferences and adapting their strategies accordingly, restaurants can break free from the confines of a stagnant average check size and achieve a more dynamic and profitable financial performance. Here are some solutions to help correct this problem.

Menu Evaluation

Restaurants should continually evaluate their menu, introducing fresh and enticing items to attract customer interest. Dynamic pricing, especially during peak hours or special occasions, can encourage customers to explore premium menu options, contributing to higher check sizes. 

Upselling & Loyalty Programs

Implementing effective upselling techniques, such as suggesting add-ons, higher-margin dishes, or pairing options, can also elevate the average check size consistently. Consider administering a loyalty program that rewards customers for spending more, encouraging them to return.

Customer Engagement

Engage with customers through email marketing or social media to promote new menu items and special events. Encourage customer feedback and tailor your offerings to their preferences.

Low Average Check Size During Specific Hours

Low average check size during specific hours is a common challenge for restaurants, especially during off-peak times. Some time periods may yield lower average check sizes, impacting your overall revenue. To address this issue, restaurants can implement targeted strategies tailored to those hours. If certain shifts or days consistently yield lower average check sizes, here are some solutions to help correct this problem.

Menu Design and Variability

Low average check size during specific hours often stems from menu-related challenges, where customers may not find enough variety or value in their dining options. Restaurants can address this issue by crafting unique menus or offerings specifically designed for those hours. Implementing cost-effective meal deals or bundle options can further incentivize customers to explore and spend more during specific hours. Consider redesigning your menu to appeal to different customer segments during these hours

Pricing Strategies

Consider adjusting prices for specific time slots or offering happy hour specials to attract more customers during those hours. Introducing smaller portion sizes or lower-priced menu items can cater to patrons seeking a quicker or lighter dining experience. 


Create promotions, discounts, or happy hour deals during slow periods to encourage higher spending. Upselling during these times is crucial as well; well-trained staff can suggest add-ons or higher-margin items to boost check sizes. Focus on marketing efforts to attract larger groups or private events during off-peak hours.

High Seasonal Variability

High seasonal variability in average check size can pose a considerable challenge for restaurants, as it makes revenue unpredictable and resource management complex. 

By embracing some dynamic solutions, restaurants can navigate the challenge of high seasonal variability and maintain profitability year-round. Here are some solutions to help correct this problem.

Seasonal Menu Changes

High seasonal variability in average check size can be effectively managed through strategic seasonal menu changes. Seasonal menu changes that highlight specific ingredients or flavors can attract customers looking for variety. Introduce unique seasonal menu items that command higher prices. By offering seasonal specials or limited-time items that resonate with customer preferences during different times of the year, restaurants can encourage patrons to explore new menu options, leading to higher check sizes.

Upsell Seasonal Specials

High seasonal variability in average check size often presents an opportunity for restaurants to strategically upsell seasonal specials. During peak seasons, when customers are more inclined to indulge and celebrate, restaurants can introduce limited-time, high-margin dishes or seasonal-themed promotions. Training staff to effectively upsell these seasonal offerings can encourage patrons to explore new menu items and enhance their dining experience, resulting in higher average check sizes. Train staff to upsell seasonal dishes or drinks. Offer loyalty programs or discounts during slow seasons to maintain customer loyalty.

Marketing Campaigns

Launch marketing campaigns that highlight seasonal offerings and their value. Set flexible pricing strategies and bundle deals that align with customer preferences during different times of the year can help stabilize revenue. Through compelling marketing content, restaurants can entice patrons to explore a wider range of menu items and enhance their dining experience, resulting in higher average check sizes.

Inefficient Upselling

Inefficient upselling, or the lack of effective techniques to encourage customers to spend more, is a prevalent challenge for many restaurants. To tackle this issue and increase average check sizes, restaurants can invest in staff training and menu design to improve upselling skills. If upselling efforts aren’t effective, here are some solutions to help correct this problem.

Staff Training

Provide staff with additional training on effective upselling techniques, such as product knowledge and suggestive selling. Staff should be well-versed in suggesting add-ons, recommending higher-margin items, or proposing pairing options that complement the customer’s order. Monitor and incentivize upselling performance among your team.

Menu Design

Restaurants can pay careful attention to how their menus are structured and presented. Adjust menu design to draw attention to higher-priced items or specials. Incorporating suggestive icons, illustrations, or item pairings can guide customers toward complementary dishes, enhancing their dining experience and spending. Ensuring that the menu design aligns with the restaurant’s branding and customer preferences is essential. Use technology, such as point-of-sale systems, to prompt staff to suggest additional items.

Underperforming Menu Items

Addressing the challenge of underperforming menu items requires a proactive approach that includes menu revamp and pricing review.  Review menu items that consistently have low sales and don’t contribute much to the average check size. Here are some solutions to help correct this problem.

Menu Revamp

Consider reworking or removing underperforming items and replacing them with high-margin and popular alternatives. Promote specialty or signature dishes to encourage customers to try them. Adjust menu descriptions to make items more enticing.

Pricing Review

Conducting a comprehensive pricing review is crucial. It ensures that menu items are priced according to their value and the prevailing market conditions. Assess whether the prices of underperforming items are competitive and adjust them if necessary. 

The average check size is a pivotal metric for restaurant owners and managers to focus on. By diligently tracking this metric and implementing strategic solutions to address common problems, you can increase your restaurant’s revenue, profitability, and customer satisfaction. Remember that enhancing the average check size requires a combination of menu optimization, staff training, and creative marketing strategies.

Stay on Top of Your Restaurant Analytics with SynergySuite

Being able to readily stay on top of your data, and make informed decisions based on that data, it’s absolutely critical to have implemented a quality restaurant reporting and analytics platform like SynergySuite. 

Many of the problems and challenges of running a restaurant can be solved or avoided with the right restaurant reporting tools. We offer restaurant analytics software that captures and presents your data in an easy-to-understand dashboard. We make it simple to use your valuable data to save time, improve profitability, and ensure compliance with regulations.

Schedule a demo today to see how SynergySuite can help you take your restaurant business to the next level. 

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