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10 No-Brainers for Boosting Revenue

BOSTON ( MainStreet) -- Little things can mean a lot.

The business world is filled with "why didn't I think of that" examples of straightforward product and service additions that have pumped sales and pleased patrons.

Simple ideas can be a boost to the bottom line. How about if Dunkin' Donuts had soy milk for vegetarians and the lactose intolerant?

Two of McDonald's' (MCD - Get Report) best-selling items -- the Egg McMuffin and Big Mac -- were the brainchild of single franchisees looking to spice up their menu. Perhaps the single greatest thing ever to happen to Subway is the modest price promotion a Miami franchise launched that became the omnipresent "$5 footlong" phenomenon.

The notion of selling breakfast was hardly a radical idea when McDonald's looked to extend their sales day in the 1970s, but it was a novel one that has paid off. Today, breakfast sales account for roughly 25% of all revenue for the chain and its competitors -- including, recently, Subway and Taco Bell (YUM) -- are stepping up their morning efforts. About 60% of restaurant traffic growth over the past five years has come from breakfast sales, according to analysts at NPD Group, a leading market research company.

Improving coffee offerings has also been a small improvement that has paid off big for McDonald's. Its so-called McCafe locations average about 15% more in revenue because of those selections.

When Starbucks (SBUX) pulled the word "coffee" from its signs, some wondered what it was up to and whether it signaled a move toward an expanded menu. Among the simple changes driving increased revenues: juice. Last year it bought juice maker Evolution Fresh in a $30 million deal intended to make itself more attractive to non-coffee drinkers.

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