Jul. 19, 2017

Suggestive Selling

Suggestive Selling in Restaurants

Suggestive Selling basic steps:

  • Read the guests – Anticipate guests needs by observing and listening, asking questions when in doubt
  • Make recommendations – Service staffs being experts in the menu, suggestions and recommendations help make service more personalized and establish a sense of trust and rapport with guests.
  • Guide the guests with information – We can only use what we see, hear and know to guide them.  Guide the guest in their orders by making suitable suggestions from what you have heard, seen or know.
  • Offer options – By offering options, we give our guests choices and most of them appreciate the right to make a decision and thus it is providing them with better service.  Offering options may help highlight an item that the guest had previously not noticed that may suit the guests taste.
  • Use appetizing descriptions – Use appropriate descriptions that may enhance the guests ‘mental picture’. E.g. (tender & juicy meat, piping hot soups, refreshing ice lemon tea)
  • Encourage the guests – Reinforce a guests choice by using certain words or phrases when taking orders or when asking for the sale.  E.g. (its our chefs specialty, its very delicious).  However avoid exaggerated comments like it’s the best in the world, I guarantee you will like it.
  • Thank the guests – Often service staffs forget to thank guests for giving them the order. It’s only polite to thank

Eight Suggestive Selling Techniques:

  • When a guest sitting alone orders a glass of wine even before opening the menu and choosing the first course, always be fast in serving it.  Not only can this increase wine sales, it also may mean that you have to visit the table less often.
  • Find the dominant personality at the table; perhaps it’s the host or a regular who has brought friends.  By finding that person you can control the selling dialogue for the entire table.  When that person is ready for another beer or glass of wine, he or she may wish to order for the whole table.  This person may also be the most likely to order appetizers or dessert.
  • “Would you like to try our special cold cuts selection tonight before your main?” If we suggest every time guests order a pasta dish as main we will make an extra sale and guest will have something to complimentary the pasta dish.
  • Can I bring you another another round?” You can suggest this if guests finish their drinks before meal is on the table.
  • When the daily specials are presented at the shift meeting, take a minute to talk about what wine would go well with the special.
  • Try to pick items that contrast one another.  You’re more likely to hit on something that interests the guest. (Would you like to try our seafood platter or a beef tenderloin?)
  • “Are you familiar with our extensive wine list?” This question can help to determine what a guest would prefer and which suggestions to offer.  Asking questions allows you to be in control of the table.
  • “Our seafood platter looks great today, with very fresh seafood!!!

Using descriptive adjectives gives guests a mental picture and makes the item seem more appealing.  Never put a sale above the guests' needs.  Just as important as knowing when to sell is knowing when to stop selling.Servers should never appear pushy and more interested in getting a sale than in meeting customers' needs.

Why Guests Buy

In order to effectively satisfy your guests and maximise sales, it is important to understand why guests buy.

  • Guests buy emotionally and justify with logic.
  • Guests do not buy what they need, they buy what they want.
  • Guests buy because it makes them feel good.
  • Guests are buying the expectation of feeling good and happy.
  • Guests love to buy but hate to be sold.

How to sell

  • Sell emotions and feelings.  Use phrases that are emotional.  Say things like, “You’ll love it!”
  • Always look at sales as an added benefit to the guest.  What items would you sell to your family and friends?  If you apply those same feelings to the guest, it will increase your sales dramatically.
  • Set the stage before selling.  Remember guests buy when they feel good and happy.
  • Remember that your knowledge with regard to food and beverage is considerably greater than most of the guests you will serve.  Sharing your knowledge with the guest not only makes their experience more enjoyable but it also leads to increased sales.
  • Consistency is extremely important.  The employees who give each guest the opportunity to buy always sell the most.  Never assume the guest has finished eating or drinking, but at the same time do not oversell.
  • Providing excellent service and having a good memory are the best ways to increase sales.  The ability to go back to a table and ask a guest if they are ready for another drink, while calling the drink by name, instead of having to ask what the guest is drinking, is not only most impressive, but it also increases sales. 
  • Once you have sold a guest a new product, always check back to see if they are happy with the item.
  • Do your best to make the guest feel good about what they have bought.
  • Be prepared to serve and up sell juice, soft drinks, and bottled water to those guests who either do not want to have an alcoholic beverage or those who have just had too much to drink.