Teaching Servers to Sell


Per person check averages have never mattered more than they do right now. For restaurants to make up for fewer in-house guests, they have to make the most out of every guest they have. This means providing exceptional service, of course, but it also means enhancing that guest experience with extras, add-ons, and other average boosters. The challenge is that most servers are afraid to “sell” to guests, and some will avoid it at all costs. Teaching servers to sell doesn’t have to be an uphill battle, especially when you focus on the art of the soft sell. Here are some tips to get you started:

  • Suggest, suggest, suggest. It’s not about pushing menu items on customers, it’s about recommending items that will enhance their dining experience. By telling a customer about your favorite dishes and making pairing recommendations, you’ll improve the level of service you deliver… and you’ll create guest loyalty. After all, most menus have over hundred items to choose from and most guests appreciate a little guidance!
  • Let the food sell itself. When you describe items well, you sell those items… without any direct sales talk. Listing ingredients, telling guests how the chef prepared the dish and describing those details with vivid language gets the guest excited about the dish… and gets you the sale. Product knowledge is key.
  • Ask questions. Sometimes just asking if a guest has any questions will easily open up the conversation for you to recommend items and add-ons. Then, ask your own: uncover preferences and make recommendations that will best please your guests.
  • Relax. The main challenge most salespeople have is to convince a customer to buy something. You already have a customer that you know is going to buy something. Your job is just to help the customer find what he or she will really enjoy and to create an entire dining experience.
  • Be sincere. Customers can tell when you’re trying to “sell” them or “serve” them. If you don’t genuinely want to make customers happy, you shouldn’t be in the hospitality industry!

These tips also work for teaching servers to sell when taking orders by phone.  

The Teaching Servers to Sell Training Workshop

The online Teaching Servers to Sell Training Workshop is designed to change transform order-takers into salespeople. When servers have the tools they need to suggestively sell, guests have a more enjoyable dining experience, sales improve for the restaurant, and servers make more money. Everyone wins! Modules within this workshop include:

  • To Sell is to Serve, to Serve is to Sell
  • Increasing Check Averages
  • Behavior vs. Attitude for Higher Sales

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