Restaurant PPA: What Is It and How Can You Calculate It?

Marketing 16 minute read 2nd January 2024

The amount of money a customer spends says a lot about how your restaurant and its servers are performing. Therefore, you should pay attention to your restaurant PPA.

While repeat visits don’t necessarily mean higher revenue, you might have an opportunity to get higher revenues. A variety in the order might increase your per-person average. That, in return, will increase your income. So, let’s see what you need to know about this metric.

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What Is PPA in Restaurants?

The first step to calculating a particular restaurant KPI, such as PPA, is understanding what it represents. So, before we jump to the calculation and ways to increase it, let’s answer, “What is PPA in restaurants?”

PPA stands for per-person average and indicates how many restaurant sales come from a particular guest. The more items you can sell each guest, the higher your restaurant’s PPA. It’s about the efficiency of your restaurant servers since you won’t be serving guests yourself.

There’s a common misconception that success in the restaurant business only comes from how fast you do things.

Of course, how fast you serve your guests matters. But what good would that speed do if guests aren’t happy with the food? Or if they don’t like their server’s attitude?

So, while you should measure things like table turnover rates, you should also focus on how you’re spending that time.

However, don’t fix a particular time for calculating the PPA. The ideal situation would be to calculate it every day at different hours.

This will tell you how your restaurant performs during different times of the hour. For example, you might find that your cookie dough is performing exceptionally well during the evening. Or you may find that people pair it with your latte.

Knowing this, you can make decisions that promote these things even further, encouraging other customers to try them as well. Restaurant managers can also use this data to create better training programs for younger staff.

Moreover, you can have deep insights into how each server is performing. Imagine the ease you will have when incentivizing better players and fostering healthy competition.

How To Calculate PPA and Get Your Numbers Right?

Now that you know the definition and benefits, let’s move on to “How do you calculate PPA?”

There are multiple ways of doing so. You can take your total sales in a specific timeframe and divide it by the number of guests. However, one of the best methods is to focus on servers. This method lets you see who’s performing better and assess why. With this method, you divide a server’s total sales by the number of guests they served during the shift.

For example, server A made $200 from 10 guests on Monday. But on Tuesday, they made the same amount from 7 guests. This means their PPA improved.

On the outlook, calculating this metric isn’t hard. But you have to keep an eye on your servers to get the numbers right. You might have the wrong information if they don’t log the correct details about their day.

Have your restaurant managers create an extensive system to record each server’s sales and the people they serve. It can be a manual register or a bookkeeping tool.

Another option is to use a restaurant POS system. The servers enter all orders into the system to process them.

Some systems even have an option to add the servers’ names, etc. Using this option, you can know how many sales a particular server made.

Lastly, a staff scheduling system can also help you track server sales during a particular time frame.

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How To Increase PPA in Your Restaurant

What’s the use of discussing a restaurant metric if you don’t know ways to improve it? After all, you measure things to see what you can do better.

The funny thing about this metric is that your restaurant might not always have lines of guests. But you can still have a good PPA.

It means you’re focusing your energy on making existing customers happy. That’s even better for increasing revenue since gaining a new customer costs five times more than retaining an existing one. So, here’s how to increase PPA in your restaurant.

Keep Your Staff Happy

While it may seem unrelated, keeping your staff happy can increase your PPA. After all, if you take care of your employees, won’t they give their best to take care of your guests?

Firstly, they’ll talk nicely to your guests. When people visit a restaurant for the first time, they like to ask the server what’s popular. They like it when servers guide their first experience.

Besides food, exceptional service makes restaurant customers stay longer and spend more money.

Even with existing customers, nobody likes a rude server. Of course, an occasional slip won’t be that devastating.

But if the server’s attitude remains unbearable for the whole visit, you won’t see that customer again.

Plus, a happy server will always be alert if your guests need something. Or they might visit the customer and give them more recommendations. But the server has to learn how to sell without aggressive promotion.

Secondly, rewards make a person willing to work better. If you incentivize employees who have a better PPA, you will increase your restaurant sales. A little healthy competition is always a good thing to achieve your goals.

Thirdly, when you pay your employees on time and appreciate them for their efforts, they enjoy their job. And it’s no secret that the work you do with enjoyment is always the one you do best.

Lastly, give your employees a discount voucher or a free dish if they sell the less popular items.

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Train Employees To Upsell and Cross-Sell

Convincing customers to buy a bigger version of something is upselling. On the other hand, convincing customers to purchase related items is cross-selling. Both of these methods work wonders to increase your PPA.

But again, you won’t be serving the guests yourself. So, you must train your servers with tips and tricks to upsell and cross-sell. Here’s how.

Start by teaching your servers to take notes. Your servers must know if a customer always orders the same thing. Otherwise, they won’t be able to put these methods into action.

Next, make them memorize the menu. If someone asks for recommendations, they shouldn’t have to choose a menu. This is one of the most essential elements of restaurant customer service. They should give options quickly.

Teach them the appropriate combinations of food, drinks, and desserts. However, they shouldn’t force customers to spend more.

Subtle sales are one of the most important things you need to teach during employee training. They should ask relevant questions and try to guess the customers’ preferences. Once they’re sure of their taste, they should gently push them in the right direction.

But not all customers will order the same thing. So, employees have to keep an eye on purchase history as well.

Knowing this information, they’ll be able to give better recommendations. It would also be a good idea to make your interior better.

For example, keeping desserts on display will make customers curious, and they might end up buying more.

Or you can provide customers with a guest WiFi network. This will bring you remote workers who will spend more time in your restaurant. The more time they spend, the more likely they are to make purchases.

Make Your Menu More Exciting

Menu development is another way to increase your restaurant’s PPA. Customers will probably look at the menu Even if they have already decided what to eat.

The better your menu is, the more curious your customers will be. It’s no secret that you should keep options from the same category in the same place. For example, all drinks should be in the same column, all steaks should be in the same column, etc.

But accompanying this with a unique column of popular items or pairings will guide customers better.

They don’t want you to impose things on them, but the truth is they’re usually clueless about what to order. But your recommendations should be worth their time and encourage them to return.

Moreover, match the names of the dishes with your brand tone. Unique names stick in your customers’ minds.

For example, if you have a themed restaurant, keep the names according to that theme. Plus, describe the dishes exactly as they are. List the ingredients in an exciting way. This will encourage them to order more items.

However, don’t make it too hard to believe. If a customer orders something because of the description, but it doesn’t match the dish, it will disappoint them.

So, keep these things in mind and incorporate your brand elements when designing your menu.

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Use Digital Signage To Promote New Dishes

Let’s end this list with restaurant digital signage. These are screens that you place in your restaurant to give news, updates, and promotions.

Placing the day’s specials and popular items on these screens will make customers curious. But again, if the names aren’t interesting and unique enough, this strategy will go to waste.

Moreover, give discounts on items that aren’t popular but taste good. Display that on your digital signage.

You can also use it to describe the dishes and entice customers to try them out. While giving free items with the order is not always feasible, you can consider this as well. If they like it, they’ll be willing to order it the next time they visit.

Additionally, you can give an offer that encourages customers to buy a less popular item.

For example, you find that your strawberry ice cream is popular during the evening. But you have a hard time selling the vanilla flavor. You can launch an offer to give a strawberry scoop free with two vanilla scoops.

The use of technologies in restaurants can genuinely boost your PPA in different ways. Therefore, explore the options and use them.

Increasing Restaurant PPA Is the New Way To Increase Sales

The path to success keeps changing in the food industry. So, while calculating the overall metrics of your restaurant is helpful, you should also pay attention to individual numbers.

To know how well your restaurant performs, you should calculate your restaurant PPA. Then, your goal will be to encourage your guests to spend more during each visit.

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