Think back to how you learned to drive a car and you can see why role-playing is so effective. Did you watch a quick video and then jump behind the wheel? Probably not.
Someone showed you the proper techniques, then you went through the motions in a parked car until you felt confident enough to go solo around the block. It wasn’t until you received the green light that you grabbed the keys for good.
Don’t give employees the go-ahead to perform important skills with customers until they’ve demonstrated a certain level of proficiency in role-play sessions. Here’s how to conduct them:
- Write the role play scenarios down before the training meeting. Provide specifics and “set the scene.”
- On a tablet, white board, or flip chart, identify the behaviors you’re after. Be specific.
- Call up role-players one scenario at a time, and have employees take turns playing the customer.
- Give everyone a turn — having good and not-so-good responses in role-plays reinforces learning.
- Discuss each scenario when the role-play is finished, pinpointing good aspects and areas that need improvement.
Server Role-Play Prompts
Need some ideas for server role-play prompts? Here are a few to get you started:
A customer at the bar orders a martini. What would you say to upsell that customer to a premium spirit?
Great response: Our Martinis are the best in town. We have a Green Apple Twist with Jolly Ranchers and a Dirty Martini that’s perfect with Beefeater Gin. Which would you prefer?
A group of four has just been seated. What can you say to increase your check average with an appetizer?
Awesome recommendation: Our nachos are great with guacamole and sour cream. Would you like those or a sampler plate with all our favorite appetizers?
A table of two is hesitant to order dessert. What response could you use to make the sale?
Sweet answer: Our specialty dessert tonight is a six-layer chocolate cake with mocha filling and fudge icing. I can bring you one with two forks — it’s perfect to share!
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.