As modern-day restauranteurs, we should ban the word “waiter” and switch up the entire concept to “food and beverage guide”, “gastronomic sensei” or “thirst and hunger guru”. Ok well maybe not those specific titles, but the point is that a server needs to be much more than just a “waiter”. He should in fact be your star salesman, anticipating your consumers’ needs, dominating the menu, ingredients and methods of preparation for every dish. But most importantly, he’s got to believe it! He’s your foremost brand ambassador.
Today’s servers can fall into the role of mere order-taker, unmotivated and bored because he only ever recommends the most expensive dishes in order to get a larger bill (which translates into a bigger tip). Who doesn’t hate ordering a glass of water and having the waiter bring a bottle of super expensive water instead! That kind of thing automatically gets your guard up and you start to not trust your server.
Another annoying trick is when they leave a bottle of Perrier on the table, “just in case you get thirsty” (and if you do, they add it to your bill!) A good restauranteur knows that his success depends on his guest’s total satisfaction and not on sneaky sales like that one. We have seen too many restaurants stop using the beautiful, juicy, seedless limes and replacing them with juiceless, seedy, cheap ones in order to save some change. Once again, lets get down to the root of the problem: the waiter and, really, the entire front-of-the-house staff, needs to do a 180 with their whole mindset.
Here are some real life examples:
A dissatisfied customer complains about your restaurant to 12 friends, and each of those 12 friends tells another 3 friends. All in all, a single consumer can indirectly influence 300 people. On the other hand, a contented frequent customer can impact your earnings by 25%. That’s why its so important to teach servers to retain clients instead of just selling to get some extra cash in their pocket that day.
And in order to do that, ladies and gents, there are two basic tools:
- Suggestive sales: it necessitates enticing the consumers to immerse themselves in the full experience of the restaurant (drinks, apps, main course, desert, etc.) without losing sight of the fact that we are also there to be mindful of their wallets and guide them in the best use of the establishment.
- Situational sales: more effective, but also a bit trickier. It calls for reading and anticipating the consumer’s wants and needs. If it’s cold out, suggest hot dishes; if he’s wearing a suit and by himself, offer quick dishes (he’s probably in a hurry). This second tool is what separates the greats from the average restauranteur, and to make use of it, one needs to know about reading tables.
So, if you already own a restaurant, stop losing clients! If you don’t yet, you’ll want to make sure you’re prepared to give your customers an unforgettable experience from the get-go, and who wouldn’t want a company like Mero Mole that knows the ins and outs of the industry in their corner?
By: Mero Mole.