Lookin' Good at 58

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Here is Why Listening , Observing , and Asking Questions is Important When Taking the Order

Many people when they order their meal in a restaurant order their food based on a couple of things.

One is they will order what they think the others they are sitting with would approve of.

Here is an example. You take the order from the first person and then are going to the next person. The next person says to the first did you order a starter? When the first person says no what they are telling you is they want to order a starter but not be the only one at the table to do so.

Hopefully someone at the table will speak up and say would you like to share something. If not it is our responsibility to mention something that you think would be easy for everyone to share at the table. Then you get everyone talking and all of a sudden you have sold a couple of starters that everyone has agreed upon to share.

The embarassment of being the only one to order a starter is negated by your awareness that this person would love a starter if only he or she knew someone else wanted one as well.

Another way of getting a bigger guest check is not being afraid to go back and ask the other people who have ordered already about something you may have to suggest.

For example let's say everyone has ordered the smaller size steak then the last person pipes up and wants the bigger size. I might take that opportunity to go back and ask the others who I have already asked if they would like to do the same. You see if one has ordered a bigger size at the table then it is all of a sudden okay for everyone else to want the same. Thus your average guest cheque has increased.

Another thing is if someone ask me what vegetables the meal comes with. I should take this as an opening to suggest a side of mushrooms or aparagus to go with their entree.

If people are undecided about what starter to have I always suggest something simple like a salad or garlic toast. These are pretty plain starters. Bread or salad. Chances are they may choose one cause it is something they are familiar with. I wouldn't suggest escargot cause that could get an automatic no and then you are outta there. No chance. What could happen is they will say no to both but look once again at the starters and choose one they will like.

The second reason I have come up with is many people want to really have a great meal but to be honest rather than seek approval from the rest of the table they do not want to look like pigs.

When I am upsizing anything I don't ask them if they want the bigger option. I try to avoid words that have to do with size. For instance would you like the bigger cut? When you ask someone that and the other people at the table are listening that person may say no cause all of a sudden he or she becomes weight conscious , afraid of looking like a glutton etc..

For example in the place I work we have an 8 oz steak and a 12 ounce. They order the 8.

Here is what I say, Like the 12 oz?? I say it in a way where my voice trails off at the end. Then I just wait. The person hems and haws then what happens a lot of the time is someone at the table says , oh c'mon go for it! Then they say yes and you upsold the item. Not only that everyone at the table knows they can order anything they want now that one has gone from an 8 to 12 oz with their permission and enthusiasm.

Another way is if you know it is a birthday or celebration of some kind when I ask them that question I may add after they are deliberating and no one else has spoke up something like , why not treat yourself?? If you see they are leaning toward yes I may even add why not? You just have to read their body language.

Another thing is people want the best bang for their buck so if they ask you what the price difference is I tell them and add a lot of people order the 12 oz because of the great value. This justifies to them the reason for getting the bigger size. They want it they just want to justify the price versus value. When other people order it then it must be good.

So you have starters , sides , and entrees.

When you are selling features I always mention it is just for a limited time so if you really like to try it now is the time. Mention there is only a couple of weeks more or something along those lines. Give a sense of urgency.

When it comes time for dessert I never ask if they would like to see the dessert menu I just bring it to them. If you ask them upon clearing if they would like to see the dessert menu 90% of the time they will say no. It is just human nature. So when I bring it and they see me opening it up for them I do say maybe you would like to share a dessert? In some cases they will order something rather than ask for the bill.

When it comes to the beverages I never mention the quantity when upselling from a single shot to a double when the second is 50% off. When they give me the drink order I quietly say to
them , _____ size? Then I wait but I never push the alcohol size cause people have to drive home after but I will be there when their glass is empty.

Then I go up to them and ask , would you like a beer or whatever they were drinking. Always ask in a way like it is their first one. Don't embarass them.

In conclusion , by listening to and observing the people at your table you can pick up a lot of signals that can help you upsell. When you pick up something ask the question so as not to put them on the spot. Would you like the 12 oz..........and quickly drop your voice at the end like the person you were speaking to was the only one to hear what you said. The others at the table may even help you along.

Go with it and have some fun. You will not get everyone all the time but some of the time will help you make a bit more money and help your establishment out as well.


David said...

This is some great info. Here are a few that I like to use.

One the two size steak issue, I don't sell it as regular and large, but regular and small. "Would you like the regular cut or the petite?" This makes the larger size seem like the norm and plays off the concept you talk about of people wanting to fit in.

Another big one to give guests a chance to reconsider on is the salad course. Often times one person at the table will decline a salad out of fear of being a glutton. This is usually one of the first to order. If you notice that they are the only one without, give them a second chance to reconsider. The same idea applies to 2 without on a 6 top, but then you can really use peer pressure to your advantage.

Great post.

Steven Nicolle said...

David...great points you make. Once in a while I come up with a decent post.Thanks David.