Waitstaff Training Tips: Small Changes Add Up to Big Sales


You want more sales. Your servers want bigger tips. And your customers want better service… without being “nickel-and-dimed” to death. Small changes in your operation can help everyone get what they want. Get your team on board with an effective waitstaff training program. Here are a few waitstaff training tips to get you started:

  • Tell the truth. If you ask your restaurant staff how much profit a restaurant makes from $1 in sales, many would say around 75 cents. (Don’t believe it? Try it at your next staff meeting.) Here in the real world, we know that somewhere between a nickel and a dime is closer to the truth. Your team members should also know what’s at stake to make their operation successful. No profits, no pay raises. No customers, no restaurant. Sometimes the bottom line is the best motivator.
  • Encourage solutions. If you ask waitstaff how to raise check averages, chances are you’ll get regurgitated responses from your own training materials. But if you ask for innovative solutions, you’ll get those, too. Ask servers to share success stories at pre-shift meetings and set-up a revolving contest that awards sales ideas and strategies.
  • Bring in a rookie. Sure, we all want the professional to motivate us—or the consultant that can pinpoint areas of weakness—but an enthusiastic, inexperienced new employee can often recharge our own batteries. When you pair a new server with an experienced one, both of them will benefit. The new employee will be trained, of course, but the experienced server will be forced to remember the “why” behind small details… why we offer premiums (for a better experience), why we suggest certain items (for the best possible meal)… and, yes, why we got into the business to begin with (we like people, remember?).
  • Reward successes. It sounds basic, but too often we forget to monitor—and report—the success of our restaurant training programs. Waitstaff may be easier to monitor (sales receipts, etc.), but everyone on the team should be responsible for service and sales… and rewarded for it as well.

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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