November and December are traditionally busier months for restaurants. Between holiday parties, friendly get-togethers, and exhausted shoppers wanting to take a break for a meal, sales go up. To boost profits this busy season, follow these tips to increase traffic, maximize sales, and spread goodwill.
Treat Guests Like VIPs
Your guests are the most important people in your restaurant – treat them that way! Take away some of the extra stress guests are under during the busy season by gifting them some of your restaurant’s “secrets.” Train servers to use dialogue such as…
- “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.
- “I shouldn’t tell you this, but…” This one works wonders when adding value to guests’ meal experiences. It should be made to sound friendly, not devious.
- “Here’s something only our regulars know…” Who wouldn’t feel special hearing a recommendation like this?
Recognize Loyal Guests
Loyal restaurant guests are your ticket to maintaining traffic when the busy season ends. Celebrate regulars with a special promotion such as “The 12 Days of Guests.” Every day for the 12 days before Christmas, highlight one of your loyal guests on a “Wall of Fame” in your store. With their permission, put up their picture, a fun story about them, and what makes them special to your restaurant. Share it on social media and show the world how thankful you are for your regulars. Keep the display up through January – people may want to bring in friends to show off their celebrity status!
Stay Out of the Weeds
The busy season can also create more opportunities for your servers to fall into the weeds. In addition to increased traffic overall, parties are larger and guests are more demanding. Don’t wait to train your staff on the four-step plan to stay out of the weeds: Observe, Anticipate, Prioritize and Act.
Serve Your Community
The holiday season offers unique opportunities for restaurants to engage in community service. Partner with a local school or church to host a giving tree or food drive. Talk to your employees about needs they have in their neighborhoods. Depending on your restaurant’s theme and prices, you may want to donate gift cards to organizations who provide gifts to families in need. And remember – people in your community need help throughout the year. Whatever cause you adopt, find a way to contribute after your busy season ends.
Service and Sales Training for the Busy Season
The Service & Sales Excellence Waitstaff Training Series is based on Service That Sells!, a restaurant training philosophy developed by restaurant owners for restaurant owners. Click here to learn more.