The Cycle of Service in Restaurants: Generating Sales

April 27, 2018

Today’s blog is based on the fantastic learning library at Service That Sells. This trove of online training resources is one of the best places you can visit to help develop the service, sales, and management skills of you and your employees. Visit their site to learn more about the Cycle of Service workshops. While this series is directed specifically at restaurants, the information is applicable to any business, so please take the time to consider these points even if you’re in a different industry.

Fourth in The Cycle of Service is “Generating Sales”. There are several key points that are explained in the video embedded in the aforementioned webpage, so let’s cover those concepts in detail here.

The video compares restaurants to show business and servers to improv theatre actors. As such, staff must be prepared, practiced, and precisely timed because each production will be different. This means paying attention to everything from menu changes and specials to the staff meetings in the back. Furthermore, expect to interact with each table upwards of fifteen times in order to give your audience (that is, the diners) your best performance. To keep the theatre metaphor going, make sure you know your lines and use your props.

Service That Sells also suggest some basic etiquette, including asking about separate checks at the start of the order (to save time later), standing to one side of the table when taking an order (unless it’s a large party, in which case you should move to stand directly to the left of each person as they order), and making sure to start with the eldest woman first.

Spliced into this ongoing performance, the server must also be the salesperson. He or she should mention specific menu items by name (especially money-makers, like appetizers and drink). For example, “How does a plate of sizzling popcorn shrimp for the table sound?” Calling out real selections is far more effective compared to blandly asking, “Did you guys want an appetizer?” This applies to everything else, as well, including entrees, desserts, and drinks.

When you’re generating sales that means you’re leading the performance. This also means that you must set the pace, so it’s unwise to wait until after the guests have already eaten their fill before asking them about dessert—you’ll get the all-too-common response about being stuffed. Instead, ask when you’re delivering the meals. Suggest that they save room for that giant lava cake even before they’ve started eating their mains. Put it into their minds early.

Not only will these points help you earn the restaurant more money, it’ll earn you more tips as well. After all, most diners tip on a pre-set percentage in their heads (e.g. 15%, 18%, 20%) regardless of how much servers bend over backwards to create the perfect experience.

Be sure to check out Service That Sellsto learn more about these workshops, and stay tuned to us at The Brandt Group as we continue our overview of The Cycle of Service. We can help ensure your employees are representing and selling your products in a way that makes you proud. Reach out to us to learn more.

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