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Suggestive Selling in Quick Serve Restaurants

No one wants to feel like a wallet with a person attached. Customers are individuals and want to be acknowledged that way. From the first day cashiers start working, train them to make eye contact, smile, learn the names of regulars, make conversation and suggest a menu item or extra that enhances the meal. In other words, provide Service That Sells!

“Oh, no,” your employees might think. “You snuck in that S-word again. Please don’t make me do it. I’ll smile and serve all you want, but I don’t want to sell!” Remind employees that all you’re asking them to do is suggestive selling — or soft selling. It’s helping customers make decisions, recommending what’s good on the menu, asking questions about what they’re in the mood for, then helping them choose a food or beverage item they’ll like or an add-on that will make their meal taste better.

Start with Product Knowledge

The backbone of successful suggestive selling is product knowledge. How silly do cashiers sound when they can’t name the soft drinks available? They’re not doing the operation any good, either. And such ineptness doesn’t do much for customers’ lasting impressions.

Give it a Shot with Every Guest

Making menu suggestions shows customers they’re worth your employees’ time. It’s perceived as better service and keeps traffic coming through the doors. There’s no better way to build your profits. How do you motivate your hourly employees to embrace suggestive selling? You have to train them to do it, just like you train them to handle cash or operate the fryer.

Use Pinpoint Dialogue

Forget the stale “Want fries with that?” Encourage employees to use “pinpoint dialogue” — well-timed words and phrases that not only help increase sales, but also let customers know there’s a living, breathing person serving them. All employees have to do is listen to the guest’s order, determine what would best complement it, then offer a direct suggestion like: “Some guacamole on your burrito?” “An apple turnover with your coffee?” “A bowl of soup with that salad?” These simple recommendations are easy to do and they’re painless. What’s the worst that can happen? The customer may say “no thanks.”

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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