Based onpersonal experience, many restaurateurs underestimate the importance of having servers trained in sales in their restaurant. Although most of the people serving food are pleasant enough, and can do their jobs, the best servers are always also the best sales people. Not only the get the highest tips, but they also increase the restaurant’s profit.
Both, sales and marketing skills are key elements to make any business profitable. Usually (but not always), the restaurant owners and/or managers take the helm of the marketing while most of the sales rest on the shoulders of the servers. And this is probably where the problem lies since often, the servers just learn the operations and dishes. They never get any training in sales.
It happened to me more times that I can think of: I finished a very satisfactory meal just to be presented with the check, before anybody bothered to ask me whether I want dessert, coffee, or perhaps just an after-dinner drink. When a server brings the check, customers usually pay and leave the place, missing extra sales for very little extra effort.
Same thing with the water; offering your client’s mineral (or just bottled) water is an easy upsell that very few servers even consider.
There are many other examples where a trained server can increase the check amount without being pushy or bothering the clients. A client won’t order (or very seldom will take the initiative to do it) an item that doesn’t know of, or it’s not blatantly displayed in the menu. However, many of them will appreciate an informed suggestion by a professional waiter.
Customer engagement is also another important element of the overall dining satisfaction
Don’t underestimate the importance that your servers have in your business? After all, they are the main contact that the customers have with your restaurant. They are your image, your sales force and represent (for good or bad) your restaurant and the opinion that people dinning at your place have about it.
If you are not doing so now, implementing a formalized sales training for your servers should be very high in your priorities list.
Jose L Riesco
©Riesco Consulting Inc.