All on the Table: Strategies for Increased Sales and a Bigger Bite of the Pie

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Article contributed by Janet Davis, JADE Jamaican Grill

Conversations are still at high pitch over New Year’s resolutions. And what makes this year particularly buzz worthy is the fact that it’s also a leap year and the beginning of a new decade. But while the making of New Year’s resolutions is passé to some at this point, the resolve to grow, get better and keep up with the world around us is not without merit. For businesses it’s simply a must.

Seemingly no industry has been immune to changing consumer habits aided by technology, online shopping, mobile ordering, sustainability, a leaning towards shopping local, unique experiences, and a more health-focus lifestyle. Nowhere is this more evident than the retail sector. Blue chip brands, once darlings of their domain are being eaten alive. Payless, Forever 21, Bed, Bath & Beyond, Gymboree, GameStop, and countless others have either shuttered altogether or given up significant ground with the closing of hundreds of locations. All you need do is walk through some of America’s once busy malls and hear the deafening sound of nothing.

But while retail has suffered tremendously, the restaurant industry has not escaped the carnage. Subway, Pizza Hut, Burger King, Applebee’s, and Ruby Tuesday are just a fistful of chains steadily reducing their footprint. And, from all indications, the slaughter isn’t over yet. But businesses that employ the right strategies, I believe, can position themselves to maintain their foothold.

Several years ago I spoke at the annual NY Restaurant Show. This particular workshop [I was a speaker in 2018 and 2017] was centered on Cultivating Sales through Catering, steps restaurants can take to diversify their service offering, increase revenue all while maintaining brand integrity. All on the Table: Strategies for Increased Sales and a Bigger Bite of the Pie encapsulates this approach.

Whether you’re a chain or a mom and pop, brick and mortar stores need to leverage the buy-in. That is, maximize on their existing customer base. Why would anyone spend on menu, marketing, and all the meat and potatoes that go into operating a company only to serve just one slice of an entire pie?

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  • DAVO by Avalara
  • RATIONAL USA
  • AHF National Conference 2024
  • AyrKing Mixstir
  • Simplot Frozen Avocado
  • Atosa USA
  • T&S Brass Eversteel Pre-Rinse Units
  • McKee Foodservice
  • RAK Porcelain
  • Easy Ice
  • BelGioioso Burrata
  • Imperial Dade
  • Day & Nite

Consumers are fickle for sure. And while it’s not good business to change your business as you would your clothes, one must adopt to changes in the marketplace. Restaurants, then, must be fluid enough to lean, bend but not break the bank, in order to surf these tempestuous consumer tides. I suggest a three-pronged approach to navigating these waters:

    • Cater to Existing Customers for Corporate and Lifestyle
    • Provide On-Premise with Cooking Classes and Unique Food Experiences
    • Go Mobile via Food Truck

Cater to Existing Customers for Corporate and Lifestyle invites clients to tap into additional service offering. The same customer that stops in for a bite is employed somewhere, has kids, is married, belongs to an association, etc. That means the average customer falls into at least several of these demographics. So, that same customer can be a client that needs catering for a corporate luncheon or a lifestyle event such as a birthday, anniversary or a graduation party. How much of a stretch then is it to establish a robust takeout and catering pickup or delivery service? The same customer visits your establishment on a consistent basis to eat food they obviously enjoy. Why not offer more to chew on.

Taken a step further, you can add more to the mix by including staffing. For a corporate event, a luncheon that requires setting up a buffet station. A soiree on the other hand may demand staff to setup, serve and breakdown.


Provide On-Premise with Cooking Classes and Unique Food Experiences propose offering one-of-kind social and professional events during down times, off days, and in underutilized sections of your space. If you haven’t tapped into the special event market now is a good time. Obviously, not every venue is equipped to offer this due to limitations on FOH and BOH. But for those that are, this can account for a steady revenue stream. Foodies and companies looking for unique cooking and team-building activities may turn out to be a healthy addition to your bottom line.


Go Mobile via Food Truck has real potential to broaden the scope of your business and drive sales 100 percent over. This model has so much upside you could be adding another business entirely, and doing so without starting from scratch. With the restaurant as home base, many of the major pieces are already in place. The only major consideration here is funding and there’s definitely ways to get around that.

When the rubber meets the road, if you’ve done your homework, you are on track to bringing in beaucoup dollars. Food trucks can be a money maker on wheels. Think of all the events you can service weekdays and weekends. And, not just lunch. Consumers have been renting food trucks for years for parties of all sorts. Food trucks can pull in a tremendous haul at a community festival or fair where thousands are gathered and where you’re more likely to run out of food instead of having too much.

But there’s more. The icing on the cake is the built-in marketing gained from your truck going city to city, even across state lines where your print and to some extent your online presence may not reach in the same way.

If you are to stay in the game it is imperative you leave it all on the table. How else will shoppers see what you have to offer? Present your customers with the whole pie. I don’t know too many people who stop after having just one slice.


Chef Janet Davis JADE Jamaican Grill

Janet Davis is the CEO of Cherry Hill, NJ-based JADE Jamaican Grill, a food, special event and media enterprise comprised of JADE Grill and JADE Consulting. In 2016, JADE graced the culinary scene at the Democratic National Convention (DNC) in Philadelphia, bringing its distinctive flavor to the Media Party at Citizens Bank Park and the Welcome Delegate Reception at the Kimmel Center for Performing Arts. Chef Janet has made numerous appearances on NBC, FOX, PBS and PHL TV in Philadelphia, and has been featured in Catering Magazine and the Philadelphia Tribune. A sought-after speaker whose repertoire includes Princeton, Drexel and Temple Universities, Janet has served as keynote speaker for the 3rd Annual Women’s History Month Celebration for Union Township, New Jersey, Moderator at the New Jersey Restaurant & Hospitality Expo and session presenter at the International Restaurant & Foodservice Show of New York. Through her visionary leadership, Janet has orchestrated strategic alliances with RWJ University Hospital, Bloomingdale’s, the New Jersey Food Processors Association (NJFPA) and others. 

  • McKee Foodservice
  • T&S Brass Eversteel Pre-Rinse Units
  • Day & Nite
  • Simplot Frozen Avocado
  • BelGioioso Burrata
  • Cuisine Solutions
  • DAVO by Avalara
  • Atosa USA
  • Imperial Dade
  • RAK Porcelain
  • AyrKing Mixstir
  • AHF National Conference 2024
  • RATIONAL USA
  • Easy Ice