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How to Diversify Your Income:
Cafes, Restaurants & Bars

Takeaway + Pre-prepared Meals

The most obvious way that many hospo venues can diversify their income streams is via takeaway meals. Apart from straight-up, ready to eat takeaway, your business could also create pre-prepared meals. With pre-prepared meals you can provide the ingredients – and maybe even complete some of the cooking processes. Then leave it up to your customers to finish off the dish at home. The main benefit of these pre-prepared meals, is that instead of arriving luke-warm and perhaps soggy, your customers can enjoy your signature dishes piping hot! For some great examples of pre-prepared meal kits, check out Melbourne’s newest takeaway app, Providoor, and the restaurants that have signed up.

Hot tip: Make sure to advertise your classes in your venue, on your website and on your social media. So that your customers, both current and potential, know what’s happening! You may even want to get some influencers or the media in on the action to spread the word.

Groceries + F&B

Unfortunately, panic buying has been a real part of our collective pandemic experience. In order to combat this, as well as increase their revenue streams, some venues have turned to selling their stock as groceries for the general public. If you work with lots of local produce or wholesalers, this can be a great opportunity for you to continue to support your third-party vendors. And to effectively avoid waste in your venue.

Before you begin doing this, it’s worth taking the time to have a chat with your suppliers; work out which groceries and pantry ingredients they are able to supply to you to sell onto others. Also, make sure that you do your research; know the rules and regulations of selling groceries – it’s likely that you’ll need a license to do so.

St Kilda Wine Store and Grocer
Opal St Kilda Stocking Take Away Booze and Food


If your customers aren’t currently able to enjoy your offerings, why not take this opportunity to both give them a glimpse into your world and diversify your income stream? From teaching your customers your signature recipes, coffee techniques or specialty cocktails, classes can be a great way to increase your revenue. As well as increase your brand exposure. Of course, during the restrictions of COVID-19, running in-person classes is not an option. However, hosting virtual classes can help to provide a sense of community and connection for customers during this time; when everyone is at home and has more time to up-skill.

To run a successful class, it’s important to firstly choose the right recipe, especially for online classes. Think about which recipes are simple enough for others to follow along and use ingredients and tools that are easily accessible. Especially if you’re not going to be able to send your participants what they need. If you’re running a virtual class, make sure to share the ingredient and utensils list in advance. This allows your customers to be prepared, and include alternative ingredients for those with intolerances or allergies. Once you’ve decided this, you’ll be able to work out the more practical side to the classes. Such as budgets, pricing and learning platform.

Virtual Events

Apart from classes, your business may have previously hosted many events. Such as weddings, birthdays, themed-events or even open mike nights. Of course, these are not currently possible, but how about reimagining what sorts of events you could host in the virtual world? Whether it’s an educational webinar or a more entertaining food-themed game night; anything is possible with the wonderful technology of video-calling widely available (thank you, Zoom!)!

Whatever event you choose to host, the most important factor to consider is how you’ll sell tickets and host the event. There are many booking platforms, such as Eventbrite, that can help streamline your reservations and payments. After that, it’s up to you to decide how and where you’ll host your event. Similar to booking and payment methods, there are a multitude of platforms available. So, have a look around and find one that suits your needs.

Important: Before your event, make sure to do a practice run with your team and troubleshoot any technical difficulties that may arise!

Virtual Classes

Merchandise + Gift Vouchers

Selling merchandise that represents your business, such as branded tote bags, reusable coffee cups and t-shirts, is also an excellent secondary source of income. These can act not only as a new way to earn revenue, but also as free advertisement when your customers wear or use your merchandise! Similarly, gift vouchers are a great way to both diversify your income, and also keep customers coming back to experience your venue when they spend their voucher. Some may even gift your vouchers as presents, thus expanding your pool of potential customers!

The Final Step: An Online Store!

While all the ideas we’ve mentioned are great sources of secondary income, it’s important to make sure that they’re readily available for your customers (especially in COVID times) and go digital with an online store! Having all your new offerings in one place will enable your audience to see everything that you have available, and streamline both their purchasing process and the way you fulfil orders.

To create an online store, you may want to consider third-party options, such as OrderMate. Or, depending on your website building software, you may be able to expand directly onto your website. You may need the help of a graphic designer or web developed for this one!

Website building software, such as Squarespace, allows you to add gift cards to your store. You can also pair your gift cards with merchandise to create excellent gift packages. This makes it easier for customers to buy already-made and ready-to-give gifts from your business.

Need some help with creating or marketing any of these ideas? Get in touch with the team at Milk Bottle Projects today by contacting us at nikki@milkbottleprojects.com today!