If there’s one sector that’s struggling to get to grips with Revenue Management, it’s the catering industry. Yet, at first glance, restaurants seem perfectly eligible for this practice, which has been widely deployed in the leisure industry (transport, accommodation, ticketing…). But what is the situation? What are the obstacles? Is the sector less eligible than it seems? What levers can be deployed? In an ailing market hard hit by rising costs, the subject of Yield can quickly become critical.

In fact, RM is a bit like cooking. Its vocabulary can largely be borrowed from that of the catering industry, which makes it easier to understand.

Catering: a sector full of potential

First of all, all the ingredients are there: limited stock, fluctuating and seasonal demand, booking processes, variety of offers. There’s no shortage of factors to qualify for Yield. But there are still a few hairs on the soup: the proportion of reservations remains relatively low (as in parking lots, hairdressing salons or certain sports arenas), and dynamic pricing is limited (we’re not going to charge more for the latest chicken supreme).

On the other hand, the general framework offered by the catering industry enables us to envisage additional levers that would be inconceivable in other industries. For example, the modular capacity of tables to avoid empty seats, or the ability to adjust the opening hours. These levers are virtually non-existent in the airline industry, and hardly at all in the hotel sector, apart from communicating rooms or mobile curtains in the medium-haul sector.

All these elements of the sectoral context make it possible to use MR in the foodservice sector, with Yield levers that are quite similar to those used elsewhere. This is why a number of operators have already adopted this practice, and why colleagues such as Revenue Management Solution and Flynt have already taken up the subject to offer them solutions.

Among the levers, on the menu or à la carte, we can mention:

The sauce begins to take…

In conclusion, a non-exhaustive list of levers that provides a fine playground for a Revenue Manager. He too is a chef. He has to compose with his ingredients, test his pricing recipes, write them down and reproduce them if they’re good. And have the right tools and equipment. We’re in much the same business…

And both of us, each in our own way, “put butter in the spinach”…