People go to restaurants for a variety of reasons. But basically they want good food and expect great service. Restaurants sometimes become complacent when selling specialty drinks, specials of the day or even gift cards because they are short staffed or just plain busy. Often servers get so busy they forget about asking about the little add-ons like appetizers, desserts and after dinner drinks that increase their checks, thus increasing your restaurant’s profits.
Here are a few refreshers to give your restaurant a boost
Training – A server who primarily worked at sports bars or other casual dining restaurants may not know that “fine dining” service requires a different approach to the guest. On the flip side, the reverse is true. Investing in the training of a new server, regardless of their previous experience, is essential to a positive dining experience and will result in rave reviews, repeat customers and great reviews. Knowledge is power in every industry.
Upselling – Most restaurants have either drink specials, food specials, or both. Servers should be able to convey what is “special” about the meal. Remind servers to suggest appetizers, desserts and after dinner drinks to your customers. Have them do it in such a way that it’s not just a question “Can I start you off with an appetizer?’ but “You should try the crab stuffed mushrooms; I had them earlier and they’re delicious!” it sounds much more appetizing. Always give two choices as studies show people are more likely to choose one of the options over an open-ended question. What would a 20% increase in appetizers do for your restaurant’s bottom line?
The Taste Experience – Servers tasting the specials share their personal experience. They are more convincing and they will sell your specials.
Point of Sale System (POS) – Not all POS systems are created equal. Product knowledge is critical and servers should be able to answer any question a customer has about a menu item at the table. The new pay at the table device POS Systems actually display menu items, giving guests a visual to aid servers in being more efficient. Servers now are able to go from table to table and fire orders back to the kitchen without upsetting the next four tables they are taking orders from. Turning tables faster creates happy customers and more revenue for you and your servers.
Online & Pick-up Ordering – Many of the older systems have not caught up with today’s ordering habits. People today want to place orders online for pickup, or delivery, and future special events. Most are ordering with their smart phones as well; you now must be mobile-friendly to get found. It becomes frustrating when a customer cannot order online or has to wait on the phone to place an order because the restaurant’s POS system does not have intuitive features built in. A robust POS system will offer this and can also collect valuable data about your customer. It’s a fabulous marketing tool to collect such things as ordering habits and frequency of visits. You can even send your customer a thank you coupon with a set dollar amount or loyalty points for their frequent visits to your restaurant. A select few new POS Systems offer “Beacon” technology, an amazing tool for notifying customers that are in the vicinity of your restaurant of specials of the day. Imagine reaching out to the street to advertise your happy hour or gift card special for the holidays! This coupled with the valuable data you are collecting equates into increased sales, which increases profits.
Communicate with your customers – Send out a newsletter or an e-gift certificate. You are collecting your customer data, right? If you are not…start today!
Sales Incentives – Create weekly/monthly sales competitions among the servers. Whoever sells the most “dinner specials”, “Gift Cards”, “desserts” etc. wins a reward; either cash, food or gift cards. Competition is healthy and energizes the server staff.
These are but a few reminders that we sometimes overlook with the hustle and bustle of a busy restaurant life.