During one of our Service That Sells! restaurant training programs, a waiter came up to us and said, “I know why you guys are pointing out that suggestive selling raises our tips; it’s really so that the restaurant makes more money.”
Yes! Exactly! He was absolutely right! When the company succeeds, the employees succeed. We admit it! The best way to get to know your guests and make them comfortable is to talk to them. The best thing to talk to them about is your food and beverage. After all, that’s why they’re here. And the best way to get your customers to buy what they came in for is to train your servers to sell it to them. Anyone can be an “order-taker.” It requires service to sell.
The art of the “soft” sell
Please understand that the kind of selling we’re talking about here is suggestive selling, soft selling, not “Used-Car-Salesman-Pushy-Loud-Pinkie-Ring-Checkered-Coat-Platform-Shoes-Buy-or-Die!” selling. Suggestive selling means helping guests make decisions that are good for them. It’s recommending what’s good on the menu, asking questions about what guests are in the mood for, and then helping them choose the food or beverage they’d like.
Suggestive selling is nothing more than recommending (not “pushing”) specific extras, appetizers, sides, desserts and beverages. Suggesting specific items shows guests they’re worth your time; it’s perceived as better service. Bottom line: you and your servers have everything to gain from suggestive selling (higher sales, bigger tips, better service, more business) and nothing to lose (the worst that can happen is that the the guest says “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.