Surfing the Waves of Successful Sales!

Catching a great check average is a bit like catching a great wave. First you have know your product (or surf board) and how it will perform, you have to read the customer (or wave), you have to gain the momentum by gaining confidence (paddling), and finally, at that last moment, you have to possess complete confidence to jump up on that sale and close (jumping up and riding it into the barrel).

Restaurants are in the business of sales and providing the service expectations that our guests require. We produce our own product on site, sell it on site and provide service on site. We are in an industry unlike any other. Our success of failure results in immediate feedback and immediate rewards.. We are also in a unique position to be proactive in dealing with this feedback in a positive manner. It is a dynamic relationship between product, services and consumer. We can either ride that wave or wipe out spectacularly. Waiters are the catalyst in this relationship and therefore each one is a potential Kelly Slater of sales and service.

When surfing through your station as if each table is your own sales territory, follow these four key elements:
 Observe
 Anticipate
 Prioritize
 Act

People do not like being “sold to”. Suggestive selling is a subtle art. Stay balanced. You are doing the customer a favor...looking after his best interests by offering your expertise!

Many of your guests are not familiar with the daily specials. As their intermediary, you are in the position to smooth the way for a confused customer. Above all, be sincere. Recommend items you know are superior.

Never oversell. Stay balanced and don’t wipe out. Always allow the guest to finish ordering before you start suggesting. Be aware of what the guest is ordering and make sure he understands what he is getting.

If a guest orders too much, and you are certain he can’t handle that much food, advise him. He will appreciate your concern and honesty. Always respect the wave.

Suggest appetizers while people are studying the menu. “Would you care for some soup or salad with your dinner tonight?” Paddle!

Suggest side orders with entrees. “Would you care for a Side of Asparagus with your Salmon, or maybe we can top it with some Crabmeat?” Paddle harder!

Always be persuasive and display complete confidence. Make suggestions so positively that the customer wouldn’t dream of questioning your recommendation.

Don’t ask the guest a “yes” or “no” question. This requires him to make a decision. Remember, people come here to relax...not think! If you display confidence and complete product knowledge, the guest will trust your judgment and allow you to take care of him. Be in tune with the wave and be confident!

To sell effectively, you must create a need or desire to try something. This requires creative wording or questions. For example:

 “Would you like some wine?”

If the guest responds “no”, your sales pitch is over before it got started.

 “We have the perfect bottle of wine for your dinner tonight. A bottle of Sonoma Cutrer Pinot Noir would compliment your Filet Neptune very nicely...”

With this method, you have exhibited your knowledge and confidence of food and wine by suggesting a specific bottle of wine. The guest has now developed confidence in you. This will greatly enhance your opportunity to make this sale, as well as future ones.

Not every guest if going to buy a bottle of wine, an appetizer, or a dessert, but you must remember...we know two (2) facts about every guest:

 They are planning to spend money
 They want to have a good time and enjoy their meal

If you keep these two facts in mind, you will be amazed at how easy it is to sell;
Providing, of course, you possess the necessary knowledge and confidence.

Through suggestive selling, you can:

 Increase check totals...the higher the check, the better your chances of a good gratuity
 Expose the guest to a new and different product he may not have tried (if you have not recommended it to him). Thus, his evening is more enjoyable and he may return with friends.

Suggestive selling is the essence of good salesmanship. Eventually, it will come easily as you build your self-confidence. Then, you will be in control of the situation. Follow these instructions and soon you will surfing the big waves of successful sales! Surf’s up, Dude!


Fresh and novel approach to training films keeps eyes riveted on screen as Hula Dancers Sway, Surfers Shred, and attractive Beach Boys & Girls show their stuff!
Honolulu, Hi (August 20, 2008) -

A new generation of restaurant industry training films has been created, specifically designed to appeal to a younger crowd of employees entering the service profession. The DVD premier of the film World Class Restaurant Service presents the time honored techniques of great table service with a decidedly modern and Hawaiian flair. Filmed on location in Waikiki, this film includes footage of surfing, sailing, hula dancing, and beautiful ocean vistas to help emphasize its instruction in great customer service. Highlighting an ideal of Service with Aloha as humble and caring expressions of giving, this training film defines Aloha as local hospitality that can be expressed in any restaurant, regardless of location.

The World Class Restaurant Service script was written by veteran restaurateur Al Cloutier. In addition to writing, directing, and producing restaurant industry niche films and commercials, Al has managed restaurants for 25 years.

Co-produced, filmed, and edited by Eric Jordan, a filmmaker known for his excellent work in several documentaries (Paving the Wave, For the Love of Surfing, and Waikiki, Riding the Waves of Change), World Class Restaurant Service showcases Eric’s unique talents and perspective.

World Class Productions LLC is available to produce restaurant industry training films, documentaries, and commercials for a wide variety of businesses or individuals.


If you would like more information about this topic, or to schedule an interview, please call Al Cloutier at (808)221-6873 or email at .

To order World Class Restaurant Service DVD for the introductory price of $24.95 call, email, or visit us at

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Tags: Customer, Sales, Server, Service, Techniques, Training, Up-Selling, Waiter


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