When money has been tight, and I was focused on budgeting, I still found myself eating in restaurants. Why? Because we all need food. While deciding to "splurge" at a restaurant, my mind wrestles between my body's hunger and my wallet's budget. I frequently decide to eat out. My mind is able to legitimize dining out, with the subtle understanding of doing it cheaply, meaning no beverage, and a low-mid priced meal. When a server is not interactive and not suggestively selling, my plan succeeds. But when a server has a great attitude and is softly suggesting items, my plan tends to fail. My $10 meal suddenly becomes $20, and the increased spending rarely bothers me. There is power in how a server can set the tone. I can walk into a restaurant feeling cheap, but hungry. But a server's suggestive selling can provide just the spark to change my thinking. Suddenly, I think that beverage sounds nice, and "don't I deserve a soda?" (even though it costs more than what I would pay for a 12 pack of soda at the grocery store.) Next, that $12 entree sounds so much better than that $8 entree, and you figure "it's only $4 more, and she did recommend it." My $10 meal suddenly becomes $20, and the increased spending rarely triggers a response. Even though my plan had failed; I mean "What plan?"
People that enter your restaurant are generally not there with their last $10. And once we are in your seat, we want to feel good if the server seems to feel good. And generally that involves splurging.
As a server, this is the best way to give yourself a raise. Plus I always found selling to be fun, even with the toughest guests, perhaps even especially the tough ones. One important point is the sincerity and always sell what you believe in. If today's special isn't a winner, then pick something that you sincerely things is a great item.
As a guest, I like to know what the staff think are especially good items. Good product knowledge tells me that the management "is on it" and the their is good dialog between the kitchen and FOH.
Specials should always be described with pride and enthusiasm - why would you not? From a restaurant standpoint, I would suggest eliminating the very term, "suggestive selling".
I prefer, "give the guest the opportunity to spend as much as s/he wants". I also think that painting a word picture enhances the guest experience and the restaurant's bottom line.Think about the difference between, "Anything to drink?" and "Would you like a frosty margarita to go with those fish tacos?" The first is from an automaton, the second is personal and interactive. Consider the words, "will that be all" and "Here's our dessert menu. Everything is made on premise from scratch. If you like chocolate, the Death by Chocolate is, excuse the pun, killer". Notice I used the word "you" in that last sentence, not "I". As a customer, I don't care what my skinny 22 year old server' s favorite is, I want to know if the dish is something I am going to enjoy.
I have hundreds of years of experience in this area! Please please believe me suggestive selling is KEY!!! The server should have tasted everything on the menu & should suggest what ever they like the most themselves because if it is a personal opinion it will be sincere. It could make or break your business!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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