I don’t trust to statistics but statistic says that 70 % of guests don t know what they will order when they come to restaurant. Restaurant staff have that task to suggest them food and beverages by their needs and make their experience in the restaurant even better.
Lets’s say that statistic is a big lie but I know that even those who knows what they want to eat, they still don t know that they could eat and drink much more then that. Your waiter is there to describe and recommend dishes in attractive way and make them to order more.
When waiter or bartender is able to explain the offer and demonstrate its benefits, customers are much more likely to add on.
How To Figure Out Customers Needs And Wishes?
Eye contact – Take the extra moment, possibly with just eye contact to affirm their importance to you and your restaurant business.
Smile – Your smile opens the door, speaks about your waiter openness as a service person and his approach. The phrase “the customer is always right” is a well-known rephrasing of this. Customers naturally goes to restaurants to enjoy and don’t want to see depressed faces around them.
Greetings – „Welcome to our restaurant „ will be good start. First impression is very important.
Waiter should come with smile and friendly approach to guest.
Positive attitude will will help to achieve your goal to increase sales volume of your restaurant, and guests will be less likely rude when rejecting a suggestive selling.
For effective suggestive selling in restaurant you need time and continual practice to train restaurant staff.
Trying to figure up what are customer needs is not always easy. Someone who maybe look like vegetarian could prefer meat and steak and opposite. Be sure that you don’t push to much your guest to order something , more to add on something what nicely compliment his order.
When it comes to returning customers,it is a bit easier. Try to remember what your regular customers like to eat and drink, an adjust your recommendation according to that, or suggest something what your regular guest still have not try and you might think that he could like it.
Encourage regular guests who always order the same dish to try new dishes from menu. This may increase frequency of their visits. And do this discreetly.
Wait staff training for Suggestive selling in restaurants
Wait staff are an integral part of success. Your waiter should know the best everything about the food and beverages in your restaurant menu. But does he have skills and knowledge to convince restaurant customers to try the food on his recommendation?
If he does, keep him as a gold, if he does not – do some training.
Suggestive selling in restaurants is not easy , your staff members need to feel confident in their customer service skills. And to feel confident they need to have lot of practical work. So push them into the fire. He will grant confidence and loyalty of customers by time.
Most important thing about suggestive selling is that your wait staff need to think about it less how much to sell something and more how to help restaurant guest to get best experience when eating in your restaurant.
First, they need to know restaurant menu perfectly. Restaurant guests need to be aware of all the ingredients in a dish, especially in these days of food allergies (nuts, seafood, strawberries), violent dislikes (offal, coriander) and vampires (garlic).
Waiter must not order food for guest, idea of suggestion selling in restaurant is to add food or drink on ordered meal.
For example, when customer watching at restaurant menu, waiter should ask : „ Would you start with glass of red wine, we have an excellent merlot. It will complement that steak nicely.“
And if the guest ordered stakes for two, waiter should know that they will wait for their meal about 20 minutes, and he helping to guest to get nice experience with offering them salads for start because 20 minutes is much time to wait if you are very hungry. It is all about „add on“.
And if guest want a dessert for example waiter should add on coffee or some other drink which complements desert. The receipt will be really boosted if your waiter succeed to add on bottle of wine to a meal. Restaurant manager should even consider to send key servers out for sommelier training. If the guest refuse offer waiter should not take it personally. Instead, he should try to add something else like fresh fruits which chef brought this morning . Knowing the restaurant menu gives more flexibility and it is the best guide for suggestive selling.
What should waiter always recommend? Wait staff must recommend an appetizer before the meal, fresh fruit if the customer refuses dessert, suitable wine with the meal, low calorie meal if necessary, another bottle when the first one is almost empty, etc.
Give your customers mouthwatering description of dishes
When explaining dishes to customers waiter should use descriptive language. Using the right adjectives description becomes powerful tool for suggestive selling in restaurant.This is one more reason why waiter need to know restaurant menu perfectly. When suggesting drinks he should accent brand names, colors and use adjective like fresh, iced, popular. This will make that low-profit well drink sound like a high-profit premium cocktail.
This kind of drink and dish description will make that customers feel that they get high quality customer service instead of sales pitch. It can also maintain customer’s loyalty.
Examples of mouthwatering description of dishes
Mouthwatering description means flavorful, succulent, gorgeous, delicious food which gets you salivating.
“We have an excellent dry white wine that has won several recent awards, and it will complement that fish nicely. Can I interest you in a bottle?”
„Would you like to start with a delicious tomato-basil bruschetta served with seasoned virgin olive oil and toasted French bread.”
“Would you like a slice of our homemade chocolate layer cake layered with a rich dark chocolate ganache and strawberry filling „?
Some phrases and expressions that can be used with suggestive selling in restaurants ;
I can recommend today’s special ___.
Allow me to recommend ____. You will certainly like it. It is delicious.
Have you tried our _____? It is juicy and delicious.
We have an excellent dessert offer. I can recommend __ (recommend several different desserts).
Add Finger Food In Bars
Consumers around the world seek good tasting food when choosing what to eat between meals. Consumers in the U.S. seeking for something quick and easy.
According to the NPD study, International Food and Beverage Habits Brazil, Russia, India, Mexico, and China the U.S. has three peak times for between-meal snacking, whereas in Brazil and Mexico there are two between-meal occasions. This information can’t be ignored. It is opportunity for suggestive selling in bars and coffee shops. Offer small bites like nachos, jalapeño poppers and sliders an affordable prices and sell it.
Characteristic of perfect waiter for effective suggestive selling
Proper attitude, work clothes and self-confidence will influence customers and encourage them to order what they were recommended. Wait staff attitude must show that they care about what customers need and not about selling them something they did not wish to buy!
The success of suggestive selling in a restaurant depends on waiter’s skills and knowledge of the guests and restaurant menu. A good suggestive selling in restaurant would be achieved if waiter has characteristics such as:
Enthusiasm about making a sale
Enthusiasm is very important but how to achieve that your waiter or bartender has it? Be sure that your waiters are motivated to increase sales volume of your restaurant. They are usually motivated with potential bigger tips, but you as a restaurant manager should also motivate them with money or status.
Personal belief in the quality of recommended dish or drink
He or she must believe that the main meal. dessert or drink is exactly as it is presented. Let your waiters to try all dishes in the kitchen. This would help them to make a mouthwatering description of dishes and make them believe in the quality of recommended food. And if he do not like some dish, persuade him to try to imagine that he enjoy in the taste. Make themselves believe that customer will enjoy that dish. In this way waiter would sound more confidential to restaurant guests.
Handle with care
Customers must feel that the wait staff cares about their needs and works in their interest. People like to buy and not to be sold to! They need to have ability to understand the needs of customers . This means to recognize customer’s preferences and other factors such as how much time they have for a meal and how much money they can spend on dinner or lunch.
Teach waiters to deal with different states of mood
This is very useful skill for sale and for all aspects of living. If your waiter feel tired or lack of positive energy he need to try to change the mood into positive before he stands in front of the guests table. It is not always possible to do that, sometimes is even contra-productive , but thinking about alternative viewpoints already change the state of mind. Sales skills – are partly inherent, but can also be acquired through experience and training.
Calculate and Create smart offer
You need to have clear goal and benchmark to measure your profit. Maybe you will make a big response if you make „free“ or „half price“ offer, but could your restaurant afford it?
Calculate the profitability of your offer. Most expensive items from restaurant menu are not necessarily the ones that bring in the highest profits. When you making plan for suggestion selling focus on those dishes which are profit drivers.
Even no profit special offer is acceptable if it could bring new customers or make some regular once.
Special offer should be always part of your advertising. That is one of the main reason why people buy something. You should use it for restaurant promotion.
Would you like to serve you fries with it? Today is 50% off?
You’d be very surprised when you see the results of increased profits only with suggestive offering of fries with a meal with or without discounts. This could make a big positive changes in your final bottom line.
What you should avoid during suggestive selling in restaurant
Never suggest something to children. I really hate when waiter suggest to my son what he should eat, especially when suggesting fried food and I spent years to persuade my child to eat food like fish and vegetables. This could make parents angry – and we don’t want that right?
It s very important that your wait staff never suggest too much items from the menu. If waiter suggest wine, he should not suggest main meal. Think about a dessert. If your customers likes wine, maybe he should recommend dessert too. Waiter must develop a sense when should stop, and when jump in and stay unobtrusive.
Never suggest something to customer who knows exactly what he want and who finished his order with words „ „That would be all „ or „That’s it“ or „Thank you“!
Never recommend leftovers, something you would not eat yourself! I think that something what you would not eat yourself should not be at restaurant menu at all , but if there is something like that on menu, never recommend it. Do that only if you want to lose your customer immediately.
Never describe the food or drink as something that is not. This can lead to great customer’s disappointments. Always describe menu items as it is.
Possible customers reactions are different if do not receive what they were promised, they will be dissatisfied and react in the following ways:
- they will not comment but they will also not come back;
- they will not comment, but the next time they come, they will not listen to suggestions; instead, they will order as they wish regardless of the efforts on the part of the wait staff;
- they will return the recommended meal or drink. It can really be very awkward.
If your wait staff follow these guidelines there is nothing to loose and so much to get from suggestive selling. This means bigger tips for your waiters and bartenders and higher sales, better service and more business for your restaurant! And point out to your waiters – as bigger the check is , the bigger the tip is likely to be.