Put the Special Back in Specialty Drinks


What’s the point in ordering and stocking all those funky drink mixes and garnishes for unique specialty drinks if servers don’t suggest and sell them? Suggesting just the right kinds of specialty drinks to the right people can be an art form. It is also the perfect way to ensure guests have an exceptional experience and leave a great tip.

Train your servers to wow guests by suggesting specialty drinks in mouth-watering detail. Here are a few examples:

  • Suggest tequila-based drinks to go with Southwestern or Mexican-themed foods. For example, “How about a margarita or one of our famous Tequila Matadors to go with your Southwest Sirloin? The Matador is made with gold tequila, pineapple juice, a splash of fresh lime and it’s served over crushed ice in a champagne flute.”
  • Appeal to your guest’s desire to try something “off the beaten track.” Instead of the standard glass of wine, suggest a refreshing wine drink. For example, “The Asian Chicken Salad is an excellent choice. I recommend a white wine to go with it. If you want something really special, try our White Bellini. It’s made with peach juice, sparkling white wine, a dash of black currant juice and a dash of lemon juice. It’s a real taste treat!”
  • Don’t serve boring old coffee to every guest. Instead suggest coffee specialty drinks to every table. For example, “Would you like to try one of our famous iced coffee drinks? They’re just the thing to take the heat off. The Icy Fudge Sludge granita is very popular. It’s a frosty shake made with mocha cappuccino, rippled with hot fudge and whipped cream. But my favorite is the Iced Raspberry-Vanilla Latté. It’s very tasty.”
  • Suggest wine-based drinks for something special on warm nights. For example, “We have an excellent choice of wines. And for something a little different, I suggest a Kir Royale. It’s three ounces of premium champagne and a splash of creme de cassis.”
  • If parties of three or four order the same soft drink, suggest “group” drinks or the beverage by the pitcher. For example, “Since you’re all getting the cherry cola, you may want to try our one-and-only Cherry Bomb. It’s cherry cola served in a huge fishbowl you all can share, garnished with dry ice, cherry ice cubes and a splash of grenadine. It’s a lot more fun to drink than a plain glass of cola — and you get to keep the container!”

Restaurant Service and Sales Training

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.

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