Use Waitstaff Training to Boost Profits


The person who can have the greatest impact on your productivity is the person who just clocked in at four o’clock. Don’t look at her as the server. Look at her as a salesperson who is either maximizing the leads you’ve generated for her (customers who walk in the door) or letting good prospects get away. Sales don’t happen all by themselves. The path to increased sales starts with you, and your waitstaff training program.

Here’s a way to see which type of server works in your operation: meet Sam and Susan. Sam arrives at work on time, ready to work his assigned shifts. He serves the customers politely and he’s been doing this job for years. The manager depends on Sam, so often assigns him the larger stations within the restaurant and asks him to help train new employees.

Susan arrives at least 15 minutes before her shift, visits with you to set daily goals, walks the floor to make sure everything is up to standard and learns the daily specials and crafts a script. Susan believes it’s her responsibility to manage her client’s experience from entrance to exit and works to create real relationships with her regular customers. She keeps greeting cards at the restaurant and presents one to the couple at her table celebrating an anniversary and includes a free dessert. She keeps a list of favorite entrees on the menu and has a story to tell about each one. She keeps her approach fresh and entertaining and she strives to have fun with her customers. Her average per check commission is 20 to 25 percent, and she consistently sells appetizers, desserts and premium drinks.

Well, do you have a team of Sams or Susans?

Not many operations have a full team of Susans (most of us are happy just to have one or two) and while you may not be able to turn all of your team members into this model, an effective waitstaff training program will help transform your team members into better servers and more professional salespeople.

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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