It’s no secret that increasing the frequency of guest visits provides a tremendous boost to profitability. But how do you get people who come in once a month to come in twice or three times?
You can try external-marketing devices – ads, offers, discounts and the like – or take the internal-marketing approach, providing the brand of service that turns newcomers into regulars, and regulars into fixtures of your restaurant. Learning and using guests’ names is the starting point to increasing visit frequency, then you can sweeten the V.I.P. treatment by training your servers to divulge “insider information” — secrets about the menu or services your operation offers that only those “in the know’ are aware of.
Sharing insider information with guests makes them feel special and part of the regular crowd. Here are some dialogue examples:
- “I shouldn’t tell you this, but…” This one works wonders when adding value to guests’ meal experience. It should be made to sound friendly, not devious: “I shouldn’t tell you this, but the featured wine is one of our least expensive wines, but in my opinion it’s also one of the best.” (See below for more ways to increase wine sales.)
- “It’s not on the menu, but…” Servers can use this one to let guests know about special dishes the kitchen can prepare or tasty spins on traditional menu items.
- “We removed this item from the specials board a few minutes ago, but…” Everyone loves specials, particularly when they’re just for them! Train servers to describe the entree with mouth-watering details, then add that a few orders are left and “I could order one of those for each of you before one of the other servers finds out they are still available.”
- “Here’s something only our regulars know…” Who wouldn’t feel special hearing a recommendation like this?
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